Monday, July 28, 2014

working to be wise

Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. 

Proverbs 23:12


It takes work to be wise. It comes from a careful commitment to receiving God's instruction and paying attention to those situations that can make one wiser. It is important and serious business. More than just education, true wisdom is a kind of obsession. The heart must drive the life toward pursuit of what is wise.


It seems that exposure is very important. A wise person makes conscious commitments to surround himself with input that increases wisdom. It must start with scriptural intake. It can include solid knowledge of the universe around him. It must also include befriending, sitting under, and learning from other wisdom mentors who commit to doing the same.


Wisdom is an obsession that requires a diligent heart that never stops being a stellar student of life. It requires a willingness to cut some input sources in favor of solid wisdom that bears the stamp of God's authority so that maturity and growth always happens. The mudane is avoided in favor of that which has eternal inpact. Amusement is replaced by thoughtful challenges. Hobbies become practical avocations that bring joy and increase capacity for productivity and praise. Knowledge brings to realization a very fulfilling experience of power and contentment in the life of a person whose heart is applied to instruction.

Friday, July 25, 2014

the reward of scripture memory

Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. 

Proverbs 22:17-18


This is a good passage encouraging the memorization of scripture, particularly of proverbs. It is good to have wisdom in our hearts and to keep it close on our lips. The best way that I know to accomplish this is to memorize it and through review keep it fresh within my thinking.


Scripture is immensely rewarding in this way. It does however require diligence. Scripture memory is the hardest part of biblical intake. But it also has the deepest power to change us. For that reason I see it not as an expenditure, but rather as an investment that yields much reward.


The net affect of such exposure is grace-filled thinking and action. Scripture memory should instill God's character in us if we dwell upon His Word. The promise here is a "pleasant" life when God's Word is ready on our lips! I take it to mean that Word saturated people are pleasant, gracious, and wise with the truth that God gives. That is the person I want to be. And knowing God's Word by heart will get me there.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

inadequate reason

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. 

Proverbs 21:2


There is always a way that seems good... well reasoned... or wise in my own estimation. Part of the image of God in us is found in our reason and intelligence. It is amazing. But these have been affected by sin. The theological description of this part of us is to refer to "the noetic affects of the fall of man." My own way may seem right, but it not right by virtue of its own measure. It must pass divine scrutiny.


That is why some social concepts like the rule of law or representative democracy, though excellent ideas, can be warped and twisted and can actually damage humanity. It is an affect of our brokenness when good concepts get warped by evil. The Lord must set a higher standard than our broken selves can achieve or even see.


So I must purpose to not just do what I see as right. I must follow what God sets out as right. And that knowledge is plain in scripture. It is trustworthy. It is good. And it will not fail me like my own reason often has done.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

on purpose

The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. 

Proverbs 20:5


Why is it important to know the purposes of a person's heart? When you know what drives them, you know them. The heart will worship and want something. It is always doing this. Always. When we know that, we know what is directing the life of the person. Purpose is important.


But we are collecting shallow relationships these days. We talk less directly with one another. We post our thoughts to the world in fascinating 140 character snippets glimpses of the purposes in our hearts. Sometimes those purposes are clear. And other times they are covered up like Instagram filters over photos.


Deep friendships take time, because purpose is brought up from a deep, cold well. It takes time for the bucket and rope to be lowered down to pull up the water of purpose. It is work to do so. But it is worth the investment because people are the most valuable commodity on this planet because they last forever. So I will purposes to know people at their heart's purpose, and to let myself be known in that way.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

God's sense makes sense.

Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good. 

Proverbs 19:8


Searching for God's wisdom is a lifestyle. It is a commitment to living in the pursuit of God's revealed truth. And I believe, as this proverbs teaches, that it is the very best thing for me. It goes against my culture. It goes against any selfish way of approaching my wants. It promises unfathomably great reward.


Ultimately, I do want to be known as a man who has lived for what is good and best. I want to have the wisdom of God lead my life. And this will come by making the Word of God my main input. It must rule over all influences in my life so that God's sense makes sense of all else in my life.


Lord,

You wisdom reigns. It is right, and good, and will bless me. Of that I am convinced. I am lost without Your light. So lead me to keep Your understanding in all my ways.

Amen

Monday, July 21, 2014

Strong Tower

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. 

Proverbs 18:10


There is safety

in Your name

as I praise

Your eternal fame


The tower strong

sheltering home

is in the God

Whose Praise I know


From the heights

I look around

at fields of grace

where Your love abounds


Everlasting God

I'm secure in You

set safely there

Your will to do.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

hearts of silver and gold

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts. 

Proverbs 17:3


Adversity and difficulty are God's tools to bring the brilliance of the gold and silver out of our lives. He refines us. He knows what it takes to get the very best out of our hearts. And so... "the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).


One reason life is hard is so God may be praised. And that is enough. It keeps my life in perspective. I may not know what I will suffer, but thanks to God's Word, the why is not as important. The result is gold in my life for the glory of God.


Real faith is tested. My life is purposed by God and must be refined from time to time. That is the perspective from the flaming crucible. This is the work of God!