Tag Archives: Understanding

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 5

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. – John 19:25, KJV

cross jesus summit cross

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What was the whole reason Jesus made His first coming to the Earth?

To die as a propitiation for our sins on the cross.

And of all of the thousands who followed Him during His ministry, the 120 disciples who remained the most faithful, the remaining 11 Apostles, and His family, who remained nearby at His death?

The Apostle John and a few women, including His mother, Mary. She may not have understood everything Jesus did or taught, but she stayed near Him even at His supposed end.

And there is our example: like Jesus’ mother, we do not always understand how God is moving, how what is happening can work out for good, or how His Kingdom will come to full fruition; but we do know He has promised to return to fully redeem us and banish all evil pain and suffering, though we may not understand the whole plan.

And we, too, shall remain faithful until the end, by the power of blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11)

Our great God, strengthen our faith, because You are faithful, and grant us peace, patience, and wisdom as we wait for Your return.

Advertisements

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 3

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus. -Matthew 1:19-25, KJV

advent apple balls basin

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With Jesus’ first advent, we can not forget that His mother was yet unmarried at His conception . . . but she was betrothed to be married.

Just as Mary sought understanding about how she could be able to conceive without a man, Joseph wanted to do the right thing, and understanding was needed.

He had the understanding that Mary had cheated on him, because that was the obvious perception. Being an upright individual, he planned to discretely break up with her to prevent her having too much shame. It took God sending an angel to correct him, to see that God had indeed made this pregnancy happen to bring about the coming salvation of God’s people. He quickly changed his mind, and married Mary, even knowing he would have to wait until Jesus was born “to know her” and that it might even bring ridicule on himself, as well. (Either it appeared Mary was unfaithful, or that they had not waited until their wedding.)

Likewise, we should be slow to assume things about people based on appearances and ready to show grace and love toward them. We may go against what everyone else is saying and make ourselves look silly or “condoning of sin,” but it is what our Lord and His earthly parents did.

And claiming He is coming again looks foolish to our fallen world. (See 2 Peter 3) Following Jesus has a cost. (See Luke 14:25-33)

Lord, help us to be faithful servants who love the unlovable, as You did us, and to proclaim Your coming again!


Which Strong Man Do You Fear?

Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge. -Proverbs 19:25 KJV

Why do guys like hitting each other?

It seems silly, but a lot of guys do it.

However, we see those who can knock someone out cold with one punch or kick through a brick wall, and everyone else agrees, “Don’t mess with him!”

But is that all?

Look at the recently rebranded debate over the death penalty. Pope Francis called it “inadmissable” for governments to kill using the death penalty.

But, as a friend said to me about locks on doors, it may serve to “keep the honest people honest.” Or at the very least it warns those who may want to commit a crime that there are severe consequences, and they will simply beware the dangers and avoid the crime.

Things should be different.

Why aren’t they different? We fail to live out the two greatest commandments: Love God and love others.

We get too focused on our own wants and needs, and it leads to mistreating others.

A wise person, though, will see the law or hear the admonition against things and think, “I can see how that might hurt others.” At the very least, he or she would want to learn more about why we should or should not do something. This keeps them out of trouble in the first place!

But you better believe there’s a deeper meaning to this!

A simple person will look at the cross of Christ and think “Don’t make waves” or “Religion causes problems.”

But the point of the Cross is that God has a Law that no one can meet, but Jesus did and made a way for us by sacrificing Himself on that cross. The wise person understands our sinful nature and seeks to avoid the condemnation our lawlessness brings. This person seeks out the truth of Christ to believe and be saved.

In this world, big, strong guys impress and intimidate us.

At the end of this world, The Big Guy will finally reveal His strength as His wrath is poured out on those who refuse to believe.

Who do you fear more?


From Joke to Redemption

Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. -Proverbs 10:23, ESV

The past 20 years has shown so many movies and TV shows that glorify dangerous and stupid acts as comedy. In fact, as of this writing there is a new film being released by a veteran of this genre about an amusement park that minimizes safety (and they do all their own stunts).

All for a laugh.

What pains me is that this veteran of “comedy” is incredibly intelligent and a good actor.

A Changed Man

I have written in these pages before about my own life. When I was in high school, before Christ grabbed hold of me, I had pretty much given up on this world. I was a master liar who manipulated situations to cause pain to others. I found it a joke, much like these movies, but only on the emotional and psychological levels as opposed to physical.

But when Christ transformed my mind by His Holy Spirit, those “jokes” were no longer funny. Suddenly wisdom and compassion were my joy.

This is the difference between the world and a Christian. The world sees pain as a joke, as entertainment. A Christian sees pain as part of a fallen world, redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice to edify His Church and ultimately end suffering.

If He redeemed this joke of a man to a tool of understanding, He can do it for anyone. Even that “veteran.”

Even you.


Don’t assume that you know it all

I think I am pretty clever some days. I think I can figure it all out.

AND then I run into the wall with something and I realize I am not as clever as I like to think I am. My understanding is not what our LORD wants.

If the victory is to be His, I have to trust Him with all my heart. I have to emotionally connect with what He wants not what I understand.

May I trust him from the bottom of my heart.

May I do it now.

What is God saying?

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! (Proverbs 3:5 The Message Bible)

And here is some more. True understand comes from Jesus. The point of understanding is to know Jesus the Messiah. Jesus is the Truth. Jesus leads us to eternal life. Now that is some very good news.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus the Messiah. This is the true God and eternal life. | 1 John 5:20 (NASB)

So what does Jesus himself say? The point is to know that God is in Jesus and Jesus is in God. They are one and the same. That is true understanding.

“But if I do them [miracles], though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” | John 10:38 (NASB)


The End Result of Knowledge

Week Two – Chapter Two

Here we are in the second week of our new study (or thinking) through the book of Proverbs, and I am excited to share with you what the Spirit lays on my heart. When the other authors’ schedules clear, you will be enjoying a greater variety of “thought.” But until that happens, I am determined to keep the posts coming on a daily basis, even if I have to write them all.

However, I’m not exactly protesting; I love to read God’s word and share what I find! Every time I sit down with my Bible I learn something. Every time I sit down to write I receive a blessing. Really, it’s not a chore; it’s a joy.

Determined

Speaking of determined, the first four verses of Proverbs chapter 2 are full of language that describes someone who is determined to learn. Should Solomon’s son be one that listens to his words and takes his advice to heart, he will be the type of person whose appetite for knowledge and understanding is insatiable. For example, a genuine learner will do the following:

  • listen hard to wisdom
  • apply his heart to understanding
  • cry after knowledge
  • call out for understanding
  • seek and search, like as for silver or hidden treasure

Sounds like the perfect student, doesn’t it? Do you have that kind of desire to learn? Many people do, and they are usually the doctors, scientists, and entrepreneurs that make us all jealous of their success.

All it takes is determination.

What We Find

But what Solomon says we find when we diligently seek after knowledge is not what the modern mind assumes; as the wise person increases in knowledge and understanding, he better understands the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:1-5 – My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (emphasis mine)

There used to be scientists who, when they studied, gained a greater appreciation for the Creator.

“When I was young, I said to God, “God, tell me the mystery of the universe.” But God answered, “That knowledge is reserved for me alone.” So I said, “God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.” Then God said, “Well George, that’s more nearly your size.” And he told me.” – George Washington Carver

These days all we hear about are scientists, etc., who seek to learn only to prove to themselves that there is no God. They miss the point of learning and have no fear of the Lord, much less a greater understanding of the Creator and the mystery of His creation.

If there seems to be a void in your education, you may have been listening to the words of the wrong Solomon. The end result of a search for knowledge and understanding should be anything but atheism.


Knowing the Holy One

Proverbs 30:1-3

The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. (KJV)
The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle. The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal: Surely I am more stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man. Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One. (NASB)

Stupid and Brutish

We, as a people, the human race, are stupid and brutish.

We like to follow our own passions. We do not like being told what to do. Sometimes we only want to be told what to do. We like having control.

We think we can be God or at least His control.

We like this so much that we start arguments, fights, battles, and wars.

We like this so much we nailed our God to the cross to kill Him.

His Wisdom and Understanding

God knew this of us before He even created ANYTHING, yet He made it all and us all just the same.

When we had Jesus beaten and nailed to a cross to die, it was already a part of His plan. He knew we are stupid and brutish, that we do not have understanding or real wisdom, and so He redeemed our stupidity and brutishness through this act of love and grace.

Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God, and only by understanding this is truth can we have knowledge of the Holy One.

With this knowledge we must turn from our sinful desires to be changed in thought, speech, and action to be like Jesus Christ, God in flesh.

Wise Lord, give us the wisdom to see Your truth. By Your power teach us repentance of our stupid and brutish ways. Help us to hear Your calling through the cross of Christ!