Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Friday, November 15, 2013

When life takes a turn for the worse

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and staff comfort me. — When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Fear not [says Jesus]; I am the first and the last: I am the One who lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and I have the keys of hell and of death.
No matter what life brings, God can be with you.  We go through the "valley of the shadow of death,"  we do not stay in it.  God and His strength may seem distant, but they never are.  We may seem alone, but that is not true.  We have Him, His guidance, and His care.
The results of life taking a "turn for the worse" may surprise you:
Jesus, dying...Jesus, rising from the dead, and seated at the right hand of the Father...Jesus, holding the keys of hell and death for all mankind.  Including you.  His sufferings meant something. So do yours.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wisdom and you, part 3

Here is how divine wisdom works. This is not the only passage about it, but this passage explains it well:
From 1 Corinthians 2:
But we do speak wisdom among those who are mature: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, who are coming to nothing: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world for our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, No eye has seen, nor have any ears heard, nor has it even entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, even the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God no man knows, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. these things we also speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but [in words] which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Now the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: in fact, he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But whoever is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Wisdom of this kind is the gift of God.  It's not just the gift of God, you only get it in relationship with God. So it's not like the wisdom Solomon had, which was great, but not revelatory. Solomon could understand things about the world with his wisdom. It's evident, however, from reading Ecclesiastes, that he had a limited (earthly man's) view of the spiritual life and world.  It's easy to contrast Solomon with David--just read some of Ecclesiastes, and some of David's Psalms. David discusses different things, but when Solomon and David coincide in what they discuss, it's apparent that Solomon had no understanding of the spiritual life his father had.  David was a spiritual man, and you can be spiritual as well; with the wisdom you get from God, you can understand Him and His plans--especially the plans He has for you.  This wisdom is communicated internally, by the Spirit of God. It comes only once you have believed in Jesus Christ, and genuinely seek His wisdom. It is a gift, but it does not come without effort, in the sense that you have to want it, ask for it, and listen to it. 

Here are some of the characteristics of this wisdom:
  1. It is above the wisdom of the "princes of this world," meaning that they don't like it, can't understand it, don't want it. They want their own wisdom, not God's. This leads them to seek power and honor rather than God.
  2. It concerns the plan God has put in motion to set mankind free from evil and tragedy through His Son Jesus Christ,leading ultimately to the setting up of God's New World (Revelation 21-22), and the final destruction of death itself.
  3. It must be revealed--no human heart knows it on its own.  God's wisdom is therefore outside the realm of science, and within the realm of revelation. Unless God reveals it to you, it seems as if it does not exist. Therefore experience has little to do with it, unlike human wisdom.
  4. I can't be received by "the natural man"-- someone who has no spiritual life from God.  In fact, God's wisdom seems like foolishness (original, "moronic sayings."). 
  5. God's wisdom is part of the plan He has made, by which He intends to bring us to heaven to be with Him.  God invests you with the mind of Christ once you have believed in Him. What that means, and the depth of it, is discoverable only to those who have received it. If you have it, it gives you abilities to judge, to discern, to understand, that others don't have.  For this reason, they will think your choices odd and unreasonable, but they are often perfectly sensible, if you understand the correct point of view from God's perspective.  This is, for example, why Psalm 23 is a real set of experiences to men and women who are spiritual, and a foreign language to those who are not.  It's why Christians are always talking about "heaven;" they know they are going there. It's why in the midst of disaster Christians will often say things like, "The Lord will take care of me"--when all external evidence is to the contrary, and then He does. It is an understanding that must be received, and cannot be acquired by study, or even experience, unless that experience is primarily "better listening."
To Get this wisdom:
  1. Become a child of God.  It's simple. Believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
  2. Ask for it.
  3. LISTEN!! "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
  4. When it comes, apply it. Don't ignore it. Ignoring God's gifts of wisdom can lead to terrible unintended consequences.
  5. Learn to listen FOR Him.  He has something to say to you.  Don't miss it. Ask Him if you have not heard, and be sure to listen for the answer.
  6. These instructions presuppose you understand that God actually speaks to you internally, and will communicate His wisdom to you in ways you may not expect or even understand (like, "I just know..."), and cannot explain.
  7. Always test what you hear.  He doesn't mind a bit. In fact, He likes it. He doesn't care for skepticism, in the sense you don't believe that He will speak, but He likes it when you say to Him, "Is this really You?" He will tell you, or show you, which is the same thing.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wisdom and you. Part 2

Human wisdom is both good and bad.  It may lead you to great success, to achieve great things, and to become one of the great men or women of your time.  On the other hand, it may destroy you completely. Divine wisdom never does that, because it is tempered with the kindess, love, and mercy of God, and carries with it the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  Divine wisdom operates in two interrelated but separate realms. The first is the human realm--science, business, relationships, friendships (on the human level); wisdom encompasses the "how-to" aspects of life, and it's as much a part of God's world as you are.  So Divine wisdom, on the one hand, teaches us how to relate to the Almighty, and on the other hand, how to fix a car.  Yes, I mean that, because Divine and human wisdom also "cross over."  Here are some thoughts about the kind of Divine wisdom that makes you able to "do things..." create beautiful works. Engineer creatively. Write amazing music.

Exodus 31:3-5:
See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.

1 Chron. 28:11-12 (David--I bet you didn't know he was an engineer! This is all about the Temple Solomon built to the LORD:)
Then David gave Solomon the plans for the Temple and its surroundings, including the entry room, the storerooms, the upstairs rooms, the inner rooms, and the inner sanctuary--which was the place of atonement. David also gave Solomon all the plans he had in mind for the courtyards of the LORD's Temple, the outside rooms, the treasuries, and the rooms for the gifts dedicated to the LORD.

The Psalm titles are ancient, like the Psalms, and go with them. The point is, David wrote the words. Who set them to music?? The Chief Musician, that's who. He created the music to fit the words God gave David.
Psalm 22: To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar (the tune), A Psalm of David.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Nehemiah 12:46: For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.

"Do any of you lack wisdom? Let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally..."
The point of all this is that wisdom comes from God, and enables you to do all the things you may need to do in your life.  It may be that you need to code something incredibly complex.  Ask God.  Or perhaps you are fixing a friend's car. Ask God. Possibly you need help with some difficult problem in school.  Ask God.  Perhaps you have a knotty personnel problem at work.  God can give you the wisdom to deal with it.
Ask. Always ask.  And then let Him fill your heart and mind with wisdom.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wisdom and you. Part 1

There are two kinds of wisdom:
The wisdom of God, and the "wisdom of the world."  These two diverge greatly in the way they work in our lives, and their benefits are completely different.  The wisdom of God comes without any "downside;" the wisdom of the world can have terrible effects on our lives. The wisdom of the world does not provide us with Divine wisdom, and in fact can terribly misdirect us. 
James says that this particular kind of wisdom is "Earthly, sensual, demonic."
A fine example of this is the "wisdom" Hitler exercised on the German people, in subjugating them to attempt to conquer the world and set up a "divine kingdom." 
Another example of "worldly wisdom," although granted by God, is that of Solomon.  He had wisdom to rule, to judge his people, to direct the affairs of the nation of Israel.  This wisdom brought immense riches, mighty power, and incredible influence, but it was all hollow, because Solomon rejected the wisdom of God about the spiritual life, and in his old age, "his wives turned his heart away from the Lord,"  and he rejected the true God and began to worship the idols of the nations around him.  The result of this was sorrow and loss:
12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge."
17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow
The last statement above is only true if one presupposes that wisdom has no eternal benefits--and as a matter of fact, there is a kind of wisdom that not only lacks those benefits, but specifically rejects them, and thus suffers the loss of God's wisdom, which is freely given to those who want it:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world for our glory: None of the princes of this world knew [this wisdom], for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 
Do you want the wisdom of God?? It's a step by step process, laid out in the Bible for you to see and follow:
1. Open your heart.  That is the main thing.  God grants (gives freely) His wisdom to anyone who desires it, and will do His will once he finds what the wisdom of God is.
2. Take Jesus' yoke.  The yoke is the symbol of being bound to Jesus Christ.  He says, "take my yoke, and learn of me..."
3.  LISTEN always.  Jesus said, "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear."  You may have the ear, but not hear, because God is speaking to you and you do not want to listen, or you don't want to listen about that particular thing. The Father and Son will lead you aright. Every time.