Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Desire for Wisdom

Oh what it must have been like to walk in the Garden of Eden, unashamed and in the very presence of God. Then it all came crashing down into the world we are living in today. Let's take a look at what motivated that devastating decision in the garden. 

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. 

The primary motivation was to gain wisdom and to be like God. We all have an inherent need to be like God. To be in control. To know everything! It's interesting that Satan tempted Eve with the very thing he got kicked out of Heaven for! Satan wanted to be God. He still does and in his twisted mind, he believes he will be. However, we know the end of the story. Victory prevails! 

While the first sin brought evil into the world, it also brought a desire for wisdom. While we will never have all the wisdom God possess, we do have the gift of the Holy Spirit to tap into the supernatural power of Godly wisdom. 

Wisdom isn't just making good choices, it's making empowered choices. The Holy Spirit is crying out. "How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings." (Proverbs 1:21-23) 

God is not hiding wisdom. In James 1, he tells us to ask for wisdom and you will receive it. While it is not beneficial for us to know everything, like God. It is beneficial to walk in holy counsel everyday. I don't believe it's a one time deal. Wisdom should be asked for every single day because every day brings new challenges and a fresh outpouring of wisdom is required. "My (daughter), if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding - indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Did you catch the "then" in the last verse? If we do our part, God is faithful to do his. Wisdom is precious and to be searched for like hidden treasure. It takes work to find wisdom and make inspired choices everyday, but the benefit is becoming more like God, which results in His glory being manifested in and through your life! 

Searching for wisdom with you...

Until the whole world hears, 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile

You are beautiful. Don't shake off that compliment, YOU ARE! As I am typing this I feel as if I can see you right now. Whether you're in your pajamas, a business suit, or t-shirt and jeans, hair done or frazzled, make-up or no make-up, you are beautiful. The chatter of the world says that we need to enhance ourselves to be beautiful. That's baloney! But I have to say that I wish I believe everything that I'm typing here. You see, I'm the first person to shake off the compliment of beauty. Maybe you're there too. I'm a work in progress when it comes to being completely secure in my appearance, however, I fully believe that I'm beautiful on the inside. 

The inspiration for this blog comes from my journey through the first chapter of Genesis. God so skillfully and intentionally placed everything in the universe. The sun, moon, and stars. The birds of the air and the creatures of the sea. The vegetation of the ground laced with the most beautiful array of colors you could ever imagine. In the most intricate detail, he spoke and life appeared! We appreciate the beauty of the world around us, but have we ever stopped to ponder the beauty in us? 

After all the beauty God had made, after he placed every twinkling star in the sky, carved every breathtaking waterfall, painted every magnificent sunrise and sunset, then he made us! And it was VERY good. Not just another run of the mill creation, no, we brought much delight to God. We weren't just good, we were very good.  Think about that for a moment. Let it soak in. Creation was complete when he created us. 

You don't have to have it all together to be beautiful, but you do have to have the Lord inside of you to radiate true beauty. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8) Even though your heart is hidden, the effects of  what you put into your heart show in your actions and on your face. So in a sense, the saying "you're never fully dressed without a smile" rings true. Your smile tells the story of your faith. Because the joy of the Lord is your strength, you can walk with confident beauty knowing that when God created you he was very pleased. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, so walk a little taller, smile a little brighter, and let the world see the light of Jesus through your life. 

Until the whole world hears, 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Refiner's Fire

Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  

Today I want to expand on the words "doing good" in Galatians 6:9.  In chapter 6, Paul is instructing us how to do good to one another, especially other believers. But what is "doing good" exactly? How would you define it? 

Earlier in the chapter, Paul teaches about accountability and helping carry other's burdens. This is good. You see, goodness, doesn't just mean happiness or producing emotions that feel good. It's a refining process. The dictionary defines goodness as moral excellence and virtue. That's definitely a high standard which is why it's a refining process.  I'm sure I've fallen short in the goodness category many many times. Thank the Lord for His grace and good friends who are not afraid to gently provide accountability when I stray. 

Do you think we make it hard for other believers to refine us? God is very specific about the role of the church. One of those roles is to confess sins to one another. (James 5:16) I am being refined by this because it means that I'm vulnerable in that moment when another believer notices something in my life that is contradictory to how God is calling me to live. Has that happened to you as well? What was your first reaction? Mine was certainly not thankfulness, as the Bible instructs. My reaction was embarrassment, which manifested as anger.  

In hindsight, I see that it took courage for the fellow believer to approach me and bring the situation to light. This person was not trying to condemn me, but rather to build my faith by the refiner's fire. They were being the true friend I needed, full of grace and encouragement. Romans 1:12 says that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. It always takes a difficult situation to grow our faith. We can control our reactions to these difficult and vulnerable moments by choosing to love and be thankful that God provides us with gentle believers to refine us toward goodness. 

The refining process requires heating up and cooling down, as a result, the material changes form. (Ex. solid to liquid, liquid to gas.) We are that material. We are changing form! We are becoming more like Christ when we allow other believers to hold us accountable. It's a necessary part of the growth process. I've had to step back to recognize that this is a gift from God. We make each other strong. None of us are perfect, but all of us are growing. Let's gently refine each other to a higher state of goodness. Let's not grow weary in doing this or receiving this, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don't give up! 

Until the whole world hears,