Real wisdom is misunderstood today. Many think it exists only in the realm of aged people, impossible to have while young. Wisdom is mocked by those who live impulsive lives. Some think it can be attained by education alone.
One is considered wise if he can offer sound financial advice, legal expertise, or even counsel the jobless. It’s as if wisdom is equated with skill alone. But a person skilled in one area is often foolish in another. A respected TV personality, known as a sage, made a mess of his marriage and saw his personal life collapse. As Jesus said, “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds” (Mt.11:19). Wisdom is more than skill.
How can one really be wise and at the same time deny that God exists? The writer of Proverbs said in his very first chapter, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (v7). True wisdom involves dependence on God.
The Scriptures come down very hard on the wisdom of the world. Paul said, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor.1:20). Therefore, one must consult with God before he can enjoy real wisdom.
James declared, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (1:5). God is pleased to bless anyone with wisdom, and He doesn’t tire of our requests for it. Young king Solomon requested it when God offered to give him what he wished. Instead of asking for greatness, he knew he needed wisdom to rule the kingdom well. God gave it to him, and greatness too.
Develop skills and insights that will help you in life. But each of us needs to get down on our knees and ask God for real wisdom.
While visiting family in the south recently, I was re-introduced to the insect pest called chiggers. Almost invisible, these mites are only 1/60th of an inch long and hide in the grass. You don’t know they’ve been on your skin until later when an insatiable itch bothers your arms and legs. It sent me off to the store to buy repellent which I promptly sprayed on every day.
The thing about chiggers is that you don’t even know they’re there. They aren’t noisy like mosquitoes or wasps, and you can’t feel them like an ant or bug. You can sit in a lawn chair in the shade and enjoy family conversations without knowing chiggers are busy setting you up for a miserable time later in the day.
The New Testament warns us about hidden dangers that can hurt us if we’re not prepared or if we become lulled by ways of the world. A recurring phrase in its 27 books is take heed, or beware. In Luke 8:18 Jesus said, “Take heed therefore how you hear.” In the same book he also said, “Beware , and be on your guard against every form of greed” (12:15); “Watch out that the light in you may not be darkness” (11:35); and in 17:3, simply, “Be on your guard” (referring to stumbling blocks).
Being summertime, it’s easy to let things slip, let times of fellowship go, set study and prayer aside, and follow the alluring ways of the world. These can become spiritual pests that will gnaw on your heart and eventually weaken you. Paul said, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor.10:12); and he warned Timothy to “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching” (1 Tim.4:16). The Hebrew writer also warned, “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb.2:1).
Enjoy summer, but guard yourself against spiritual pests.
– Tim Johnson
Have you ever had one of those months when the house plumbing needs repairs, the wash machine breaks down, the furnace fails to start, and the car decides it doesn’t want to be left out of the break down game? With all that going on, you wonder if you should open up your eyes the next morning lest something else is broken!
We spend a huge amount of money each year to maintain the things we own. The Financial Post reported last year that Canadians spent $68 billion renovating their homes. A third of us spent on average about $15,000 in 2013 on home renovations, according to the CIBC bank. Another source said we spend on average $289 every time we take our cars in for servicing.
We hate to spend that kind of money just to maintain things, but if we don’t we soon find that our possessions deteriorate quickly. The classic example is the leaky roof that doesn’t get fixed. Water soon drips down through ceilings and walls, causing an awful mess in the rest of the house.
Some people neglect their spiritual lives just like they do a leaky roof. It takes work to stay strong in the Lord. We can hardly expect much good to come our way when we invest little time in prayer, or rarely pick up our Bibles outside of church meeting time. How can we encourage others when we only spend time with our brethren once or twice a month? Low maintenance means weak souls.
Peter said, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.” (2 Pet.1:10)
Plug up the leaks and enjoy a strong spiritual life.
– Tim Johnson
Every day we hear news that the price of oil is lower and the Canadian dollar is weaker. It affects those who travel outside of the country, those who send money abroad, and the price of imports.
Overall the low dollar/oil tends to drain the life and strength out of our fragile economy. We’ll hurt for a while, but history tells us that the situation will eventually be corrected. It’s going to take strategy, hard work and patience.
Our spiritual lives can similarly be affected. Some things build us up, and others drain us of life and vitality. The latter could be called “the low oil and dollar disorder.” The Bible urges us to take steps to make sure nothing is missing spiritually. To simplify, there are four parts: prayer, study, fellowship, and service. Prayer keeps us dependent on God (James 5:16). Study grants us knowledge to stay on track (2 Tim.2:15). Fellowship keeps us loving our brethren (Heb.10:24). And service integrates our talents with that of others and creates a strong body (1 Pet.4:10-11). These can enliven and reinforce us, or the lack of them can drain us of strength – just like a weak dollar and low oil does to the economy.
Are you attending every assembly possible, or conjuring up excuses not to? Are you cheerfully serving the church in some way, or naively assuming others will do it all? Are you carving out some time to pray and study, or let it be swallowed up in a busy lifestyle?
We may feel powerless to help our struggling economy, but all of us can take steps to stay strong spiritually: strategy, hard work and patience. Don’t let the low oil/low dollar disorder prevail.
– Tim Johnson
A newspaper article warned about buying meat in large quantities. It reminded consumers that there is a considerable shrinkage in cutting and packaging meat. A person who buys a hundred pound side of beef will not have a hundred pounds when he gets it home and in the freezer.
This leads us to think about the shrinkage in worship. The usual service is about one hour long, but few worship for a full hour. Some arrive late, so that time must be deleted. Those who come on time are distracted by late arrivals and various interruptions. It may take a little time to decide where to sit. And a few feel they must leave before the final prayer. All that must be deducted.
Then there is the time to look around to see who is there and who is not. Time may also be taken to chuckle at a misprint in the bulletin. Some feel they must text on their phones. We must also deduct the time when our minds wander during the sermon, the prayers and communion. We might be surprised to discover how little time we spend in actual worship to God.
A holy man described worship in this way: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
Worship means, “to feel in the heart.” It renews the spirit as sleep renews the body. We should try hard to take advantage of the time.
– Adapted from an article by David Johnson