Tag Archives: Wisdom

Sacri-nice

Proverbs 15:8

“The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
    but the prayer of the upright pleases him.”

What God Wants…

God hates the sacrifice of the wicked, but he isn’t to keen on the sacrifice of the righteous either, especially when it becomes the be all and end all. Countless times in the Bible God makes the point that He isn’t interested in sacrifices, the idea of coming and making a payment for your transgressions. No, what He is interested in is your behavior, how you will respond to His grace and forgiveness in your own life, and how that will inspire you to treat others.

Inspired by?

In Matthew 18 we see the story of a servant who owes his master a huge amount of money. He’s panicking, how will he pay this back? What will happen to his family? He goes before the master and begs for more time, and incredibly the master let’s him off. Scot free. Let’s not miss the huge significance of this – this is truly incredible and as counter cultural now as it was then.

I sometimes watch Undercover Boss, now I am not naive I know it’s probably scripted, but I can’t help but be moved when some big CEO enters the life of a low level employee, sees their struggles and their debt, and does something about it. What we never see is how this affects the person in question. They seem very grateful in the moment, but we never see the lasting change.

Not so with this servant. The Bible tells us that straight away he went looking for another servant who owed him a considerably smaller amount. We’d be entitled to think that he had in mind to set this servant free from his debt, to share the grace he had experienced. But in fact all he wants is the money owed to him. How sad that this servant was even more enslaved to money than he originally thought.

Washing feet

At the opposite end of the spectrum we find Jesus. Jesus the entirety of God squeezed into man form, denying His deity to inspire humanity, relying fully on the Father to further the future of the broken. We all know Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, we all know this should blow our tiny minds, but I’ll be honest it was just one of those things I accepted, until I reread the account and came to these verses in John 13:3-5 ‘Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.’ 

Why did Jesus do this? BECAUSE He knew who he was. Because He wanted to show the world a powerful image of what happens when we take the lowest place.

Prayer

All very good and well you may say but how’s this connected to the proverb? Prayer changes everything. If you want to be a person who shares grace rather than shrugs grace then you need to start on your knees.


Sharing Information

Proverbs 15:7

“The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.”

Politicians

Have you noticed that when it comes to politicians, there is a tendency to share a lot of information?

Have you noticed that when it comes to politicians, there is a tendency for that information to be used with just enough context to convince you of their stance.

Have you noticed that it happens on all sides of politics?

To be knowledgeable about what politicians say, in most cases it will take a lot of independent research. (In other words, be careful with politicians’ words.)

Over-sharers

Do you know those people who have no secrets?

Do you know those people who tell you all the details, including those that you did not need to know … or even ever wanted to know?

Do you know those people who just talk and talk and talk … and talk … and rarely have anything of value to say?

To be friends with these people, you learn not to share certain information around them. (In other words, they tend to be gossips.)

Secretive People

Have you met those who rarely share anything?

Have you met those people who hold their tongue unless pressed to speak?

Have you met those who think talking with people is either a waste of time or simply a bother?

They may usually be trusted with a secret, but they also may be those who simply hold on to evidence. (In other words, the tend to be boring or paranoid.)

Christians

With so many people who may know many things about truth but twist it, it is hard to trust what anyone says.

With so many people who talk too much, it is hard to put faith in anyone.

With so many people unwilling to share or trust, it is hard to open up to anyone.

Christians should have the greatest reason for speaking and listening.

Christians share the words of hope, the words of Life, the Wisdom of God.

Christians share the knowledge of Jesus Christ with a dishonest, untrustworthy world to bring change to lives.

Those who never share the knowledge of Jesus Christ reveal their foolishness.

Those who share the knowledge of Jesus Christ demonstrate wisdom.

Dear Lord, do not let us walk in foolishness, to share information but never knowledge. Help us to walk in wisdom, to walk in Your love. Help us share the knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ with our lost world.


Wise Children of God

Proverbs 15:5

“A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.”

The Nightmare

I have one little girl that I would do absolutely anything for. I love her to death, and I only want what is best for her. There are things that, because I am older, I can see that might happen down the road in her life that she is not able to see. These things are what I want to help her avoid. Any parent understand this statement!

A true nightmare for me would be if I were to pour God’s Word into her life, and she wanted nothing to do with it or HIM and to have no part in any of the advice or wisdom that His Word gives us. This would be a nightmare! There are many people in this world that are experiencing this exact thing in their lives.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through.

Don’t forget what Proverbs 10:1 says, “A wise son maketh a glad father; but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” In other words, a wise son or daughter is going to listen to what their father has to say about God’s Word. A foolish son or daughter is going to bring much sorrow to their mother. That sorrow is what I am talking about being the nightmare that I hope none of us face.

WisdomTomato Is A Fruit

There is an assumption in this verse. The assumption is that the son has heard the instructions that the father has given him. This verse does not mention anything about understanding the instructions, but it does talk about being prudent or wise with the instructions given.

There is an old saying that goes like this, “The difference between understanding and wisdom is this – Understanding is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad”.

A wise son may not always understand the “why’s” of the instructions given, but he is wise enough to listen to the words of his father and heed them.

Let me take this a step further. As children of God, we may not always understand why God is allowing something to happen in our lives or we may not understand what God is doing, but what we must do is have the wisdom to know that God is in control and he only wants what is best for us!

Lord, help us to listen to the instructions given to each of us, and whether we understand them or not, help us to obey your commands.  Help us to be wise children of yours and listen to your counsel and advice on how we should live our lives.


Fire Words

Proverbs 15:1

“A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” (KJV).
“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (The Message).

Have you ever thought about how powerful your words are? Solomon tells us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov. 18:21). Think about that for a minute. Every word you speak to someone can bring life or death to them. In the above passage of Scripture, we learn that our words can diffuse the most difficult fights or arguments. If we speak gentle words, we can turn away wrath. But if we respond with harsh words, we will only stir up that other person’s anger. We also learn here that gentle words can bring life and health to someone, and negative words can crush someone’s spirit.

James gives us a great word picture to help us see the power in our words when he writes: “The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (James 3:5-6).

I think it’s interesting that James uses fire to represent the power of the tongue. Fire is a tool, and it can be used for either good or evil purposes. The same fire that can be used to cook your food or warm your house can also be used to burn down a building. Likewise, our words can be used to bring encouragement or comfort, or to bring death and destruction.

In his book, The Power of Your Words, Robert Morris gives three suggestions for how we can begin the process of taming our tongue.

  • Pause: Hold on there just a minute. Before you open your mouth, pause for a minute. James exhorts us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19). God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk!
  • Ponder: Let’s give that some thought. The Bible says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Eph. 4:29). If your words don’t fit into that category, then don’t say them!
  • Pray: Appeal to a higher power. If words are so powerful, then we should pray that God would give us the ability to tame our tongues. Let’s pray that God would set a guard over our mouths.

Control Your Anger

Proverbs 14:29

“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” (KJV).
“Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes.” (NLT).

The Emotion of Anger

The Book of Proverbs gives us a smorgasbord of wisdom that applies to every area of our life: It gives us wisdom in our relationships, family life, dealing with finances and walking in righteousness. But it also gives us a window into our heart, and helps us to consider our emotions as well. In the above Proverb, Solomon addresses the emotion of anger.

Anger is not necessarily a bad thing. It is an emotion, and when we are treated unfairly, we are going to get angry. However, what we do with that emotion is what makes it good or evil. If we can control our anger, it proves that we have great understanding. But those with a hasty temper will make mistakes. I’ve seen people get angry and then do things that they later regretted, impulsive and often embarrassing mistakes. When we control our anger, we can avoid some of those blunders.

How do we control our anger?

So what is the antidote to a person who struggles with anger? It’s easy to say, “Stop being so angry!” But it’s another thing entirely to try to control those emotions in your own life. What is the answer then? I believe it’s found in a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to a church in Galatia. He starts out by identifying the problem: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21). He then gives the solution: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23).

How do we get more of this fruit of the Spirit in our lives? Spend time with Jesus in prayer! Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

Lord, help us to abide in the secret place of prayer, abiding in Jesus the Vine, so we can bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Amen!


Knowledge Looks Good On You

Proverbs 14:18

“The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.”

Making a Deal

When I was young, there was a very popular game show on television called Let’s Make a Deal. One of the most popular aspects of that show was the opportunity given to contestants to choose their prize. They could choose between what they were initially given, or take a risk and exchange it for something else…usually behind “curtain number 1.”

More often than not, the contestants would choose to take the risk – and it was a risk – and surrender what was in hand (even though they may have not know what that was, either) for whatever was hidden behind one of several curtains.

And, more often than not, as far as I can remember, the contestants usually ended up with something pretty silly, like a lifetime supply of toothpicks. On the other hand, there were those who made bank. “You just won a brand new car!

For those who wanted to take a risk and play the game, the outcome was still better than having never played at all.

But let’s just imagine if the “simple” person in this proverb was on a similar game show. What might we see?

“Let’s Get a Crown!” 

Imagine the simple man of this verse traveling to Hollywood to compete on Let’s Get a Crown!. Imagine him being selected from the crowd and being asked to “come on down” to the front to stand with the host.

After being selected as a contestant, Mr. Simple is given a small prize – a gilded toilet bowl plunger. Then, after a laugh, the game show host offers Mr. Simple a few curtains from which to choose, noting that behind each is a prize far more grand than the one already in his possession.

Host: “Sir, all you have to do is trade that gilded plunger for one of those curtains, and I guarantee, regardless of your choice, the prize will be far more valuable. Which do you want to choose?”

Mr. Simple: “Well, Bob, I think I’ll just keep my plunger.”

Host: “What? You could trade that plunger in for a chance at much greater things! Surely you’d rather walk out of here with a prize to be proud of, wouldn’t you?”

Mr. Simple: “Nah. I have what I have. It’ll do. I’m not leaving empty-handed, so why ask for anything more?”

Choose to Learn

We could approach Proverbs 14:18 from several different directions, but the one I would like to take is that of one who settles with ignorance rather than striving for knowledge.

Consider the word inherit in the first part of this proverb. It is in the “perfect tense,” which means the inheriting of folly is a completed action – it’s done.

The word crowned in the second part is different; it’s in the “imperfect tense.” In other words, it’s an on-going thing, not something that is finished.

The simple – the foolish – are content with what they know and are content in their ignorance.

However, the prudent understand the value of learning and are not content with the gilded plunger of ignorance! They are ever expanding the substance of their inheritance and continue to add to their estate and wear a crown to prove it…

…much like those who come here to learn a little more about God’s Word.

Knowledge looks good on you 🙂 


Just Reward

Proverbs 14:14.

“The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.”

Christian Karma?

There are many religions in the world who believe in karma. Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs for example all believe in the concept of “action” or “deed”, that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect. In other words, if you are a good person, good things will happen to you, and if you are a bad person, bad things will happen to you. You might be surprised to learn that this idea actually has its origins in the Bible. King Solomon wrote: “Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.” (Prov. 14:14, NLT).

Now lest some of you begin calling me a heretic for suggesting that karma is a Christian concept, let me clarify. Karma is a twisted and imperfect understanding of the Scriptural principle of reaping and sowing which the Apostle Paul describes here: “Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” (Galatians 6:7-8, NLT).

Consequences for our Actions:

Today’s Proverb teaches us that there are consequences for our actions. If you are a backslider, you will get what you deserve. If you live a life of sin and rebellion against God and His Word, don’t be surprised when life doesn’t work for you! But if you are a good person, and live to please the Spirit, you will receive a blessing from the Lord.

Let me illustrate. My dad was an alcoholic womanizer. He slept with many women in his life, and as a consequence, I have two sisters, two half-sisters, and at least three half-brothers that I know about (maybe more). My dad died about five years ago from a cancer that was caused from his excessive drinking and cigarette smoking. Sadly, this is an example of reaping what you sow.

Sometimes we live a sinful life and then experience the consequences for that sin, and we get mad at God and say, “How could you let this happen to me?” But it wasn’t God punishing us for our wrong decisions, but rather leaving us to the just reward of our own choices.

A Harvest of Blessing:

The good news today is that God is a merciful, gracious God. All of us have sinned, rebelled, and disobeyed His commandments, but we can confess our sins to Him and receive His free forgiveness. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he added an action plan for all of us. In light of the fact that there are consequences for our choices, he says, “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” (6:9, NLT).