TO BE TRULY WISE

Wisdom which is knowledge guided by understanding is something to be sought. Yet it also has its limitations for often people use it to bring glory upon themselves (Jeremiah 9:23) or apply it to matters of this world which is foolishness (1 Corinthians 3:19). In otherwords wisdom without God is nothing (Jeremiah 8:9).

So what then is wisdom? First of all it is discernment such as Moses displayed when a part of the Pharaohs inner circle and later leading the people out of bondage (Genesis 41:33). It is able to look at the entire situation and divide it into manageable pieces always keeping God and His plan as the primary focus.

Wisdom can be mechanical or technical skill but for the most part it is plain old ‘common sense’. Common sense that is acquired over the ages and often relayed by the old to the young. Where this is most evident is when a devout Christian shares their experiences with Christians who are new to their faith. I have often wondered why churches don’t pair their elder parishioners with younger members to offer them guidance. It would seem if done carefully this would make for a much stronger church.

Wisdom will get you through this life and make the journey much smoother and much more enjoyable. As long as one remembers the source of wisdom and to whom all efforts should be directed. That is what it means TO BE TRULY WISE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Wisdom when witnessing to the will of God is well used.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Jeremiah 8:9 “wisdom is nothing without God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me wisdom such as You would want me to have.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  In what way is wordly wisdom of no value?
  2.  In what ways was Moses discerning?
  3.  What is Christian common sense?
  4.  How could a church use the wisdom of its elders more effectively?

 

WHAT WILL NEVER CHANGE?

There is a saying often used that carries a great deal of truth. The saying is that “somethings never change”. In today’s devotional thought that applies perfectly to mankind’s notion that you can find God through Knowledge rather than faith. That heresy has been around since the time of the Greeks and has always been known as Gnosticism or what today is referred to as New Age thinking.

Truth is knowledge is this world’s wisdom and our intellect melts when brought into obedience with God. Ultimate wisdom and forgiveness of sin comes only through faith and understanding through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today what New Age thought has done has introduced into society and even into church life teachings that are beyond the Bible an example of which is yoga meditation. Exercise and relaxation in and of themselves are not dangerous but new age teaching goes far beyond these simple concepts. At some point these ideas meet up with Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians 11:13-14. Those we consider spiritual leaders who advocate these and other ideas may actually be adversaries in their deceitfulness.

We are warned against New Age thinking as clearly written in Colossians 2:8,18. Indeed our desire should be the fullness of God but that comes only with “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19). That is WHAT WILL NEVER CHANGE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: New Age will never nourish a true Christian.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Ephesians 3:19 “Gnosticism (New Age) surpassed only by Christ”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord only through You do I find all answers.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How is New Age shown in today’s world?
  2. Have you adopted into your life any New Age practices?
  3. Where is the danger in knowledge?
  4. With this understanding how should we place oversight on education?

IS YOUR HEAD AND HEART CONNECTED?

Mankind has 4 great powers: intellectual, emotional, spiritual and financial. When they are connected and functioning properly then life is good and God is pleased. Unfortunately that is seldom the case.

From the time of the Greeks intellectual activity has been valued highly but academicians and others have done injustice to God’s plan for the mind and created Gnostic and New Age movements looking at God’s existence from purely a philosophical stand point. God never meant for the intellect to be at odds with faith. In fact we are to have the mind of the Messiah (1 Corinthians 2:16). For many what is needed is a stint placed in the vein that connects the heart and the mind. In fact the greatest commandment (Mark 12:30) is to love God 100% with all that we are.

This is not to diminish intellectual challenges. Christ Himself as a young boy/man (Luke 2:46-47) toke on all comers and had answers for questions posed Him just as we do today. I do not believe science and faith are separate but rather that each day science continues to prove the truth of Scripture.

The real problem are those of us who acknowledge there is a God and perhaps even that Jesus is the Messiah but we keep our faith to ourselves such as occurred in John 12:42-43. The big question is can faith alone save and James 2:14-26 tackles that head on concluding in vs. 26 that “faith without works is dead”. God asks full submission from us and that includes all that encompasses our being. Today ask yourself IS YOUR HEAD AND HEART CONNECTED.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Intellectual influence is greatest when our inner nature is wrapped in our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Mark 12:30 “what God desires”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I am all in.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How does science prove the truth of Scripture?
  2. Do you believe faith alone saves?
  3. How do you react to intellectual challenges?
  4. Are you ‘all in’ for our  Lord and Savior?

THE REAL INTELLECTUALS!

As I grow in my faith evermore seeking God’s truth, I am amused at the intellectuals of our world. Those who flash academic credentials and degrees before us like a drivers license that will allow them entrance to places where others are not invited or welcome.

The ancient Greeks would often desire to gain control over their surroundings by acquiring knowledge. Though knowledge certainly has helped advance western civilization when it is looked upon as a means to achieve ultimate meaning it falls far short. It then becomes nothing more than the failed ‘religion’ of Gnosticism which today is known as the New Age movement. It seems true that all things that go around come around.

Gnosticism is an enemy of the Gospel as is pointed out in 1 Corinthians 1:20. As someone once shared knowledge or what Scripture calls this world’s wisdom is not the key to everything as so many believe. What is key is understanding (for me common sense) that brings oneself to trust in God and our Messiah.

For those who enjoy intellectual challenges I would offer the challenge of finding some of what the Hebrews saw as God’s hidden meanings in Scripture one example of which is Scriptural numerology. There is much that an omniscient (all knowing) God can put before us to help us grow in knowledge and understanding, but it all begins with our belief in Him and accepting the words of John 14:6. It is then, apart from credentials and degrees, we become one of THE REAL INTELLECTUALS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Intellect increases most through correct inspiration.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY:  1 Corinthians 1:20 “inadequacy of this world’s wisdom”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek Your understanding.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How would you define a Christian intellectual?
  2. How has Gnosticism returned to academia?
  3. Where does Gnosticism fall short in answering life’s key questions?
  4. What efforts are you making in seeking understanding?

 

REAL ENLIGHTENMENT!

A great many people go around talking of academic credentials. The extent of their education (masters, doctorate) and where their degree was obtained from seems to be a big deal. Yet the enlightenment that comes with head knowledge despite how extensive it is quite often is unable to connect with heart knowledge and certainly does not match up to it.

Perspective on life going on around us and understanding what truly matters (most especially in the hereafter) is best found in spiritual illumination or understanding. Many of the most intellectually brilliant people in the world have at some point come to that understanding.

The key  then is how do we come to that illumination. Hebrews 6:1-8 tells us it happens when we are converted. We come to the knowledge of God initially by a born again experience. When we fling wide open the doors of our hearts to the Holy Spirit. It will be as Christ shares with us in John 16:13 that the “(Holy Spirit) will guide you into all truth”. At that point the world and its many actors will seem like so many ants scurrying about not knowing they are encased in an environment that leads them nowhere.

Paul understood this well when we read in Ephesians 1:18 that our “eyes of understanding” are opened and we now see where our hope and inheritance lie. It is not things of this life such as power, money and what many consider glamorous. It is something far greater than that. It is eternal. It is REAL ENLIGHTENMENT.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual illumination removes ignorance.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY:  John 16:13 “Spiritual illumination by the Holy Spirit”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord come into my heart and open my eyes.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How does perception of life change with spiritual illumination?
  2. How does heart knowledge increase?
  3. What are similarities between colonies of ants and humans?
  4. Have you received spiritual illumination?

USELESS!

We often speak of some people as useless or note their lack of ambition. We may feel useless ourselves when confronted by that which we are unable to wrap our hands around so to speak. The Bible clearly points out what is useless or what can also be referred to as futile. We first look to our thoughts (Psalm 94:11). I have often been amused by thoughts expressed through words by the ‘learned’ population thinking they can solve great issues of concern doing so without the understanding of God. Words without understanding as given by God certainly can be useless and often are.

This even carries over to how we worship as expressed in Jeremiah 51:17-18. When our worship is consumed by that (words, objects, etc.) devised by man and not inspired by or focused solely on praising and worshiping God, then I believe we walk on a very narrow plank of futile or useless worship. Our church customs, as warm and fuzzy as they may make us feel (Jeremiah 10:3), have been and may yet be futile in the eyes of God.

What is not futile is what God shared with Moses in Deuteronomy 32:46-47. That being that we observe and more importantly obey God’s Word as we have recorded in Scripture. The key words which are wrapped around the event of the resurrection by God’s only Son (1 Corinthians 15:17).

This day and every day we need to be careful that we not become like the words of Romans 1:21. Here we read of those who because of their futile thoughts and foolish hearts now have darkened lives. It is as Ephesians 4:17 tells us. They now walk in the futility of their mind. Indeed they have become USELESS.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Futile or useless are those full of self choosing not to fulfill that which God considers first and foremost.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Deuteronomy 32:46-47 “obedience is not futile”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire to be always useful to you.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Considering Scriptural, is your life useless or useful?
  2. How do you understand praise and worship?
  3. How do you view the ‘learned’?
  4. How important is understanding the resurrection to leading a useful life?

A NATION OF EDUCATED FOOLS!

A strong statement to make perhaps but one that is becoming dangerously close to a universal status as our institutions of learning become places of indoctrination rather than education. The problem, as is most often the case, begins in the home where the parents are not fulfilling their job in bringing up their children in “the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). That includes seeing that they attend church school and Bible camp and have a good devotional upbringing at home. This applies to guardians, foster parents or anyone responsible for a child.

The Bible and its depth of teachings through parables and historical lessons was and must continue to be the foundation of learning in the United States of America as seen in its first textbooks and institutions. The so called separation of church and state was based on poor understanding of a single letter and now unless a person chooses homeschooling or paying extra for private school the only chance you will even see a Bible in a public institution is if it is a school that exercises what a few states have implemented which is teaching Bible as a historical book.

Removing the Triune God as taught by our Judaeo-Christian history is to create a nation of carnal (worldly) minded individuals which as Romans 8:6 tells us is to teach a path that leads to death. Statistics that measure the positives and negatives of our society bear that out. In verse 6 we also read that teaching and encouraging spiritual mindedness is life and peace. It is only through knowing and pleasing God that we receive what many in education pretend to give: peace, safety, well-being, welfare, health, success, comfort, wholeness and integrity.

Sadly, many in education have their mind made up. They do not want to be confused by facts. Facts such as recalling God’s works especially regarding the history of the Nation of Israel (Psalm 78:1-8). Facts such as we learn from observing nature created for us by God (Proverbs 6:6-11). Facts that come out when the educational setting is like Jesus experienced when visiting the Temple in Luke 2:46 where a free exchange of information and questioning took place and not pure indoctrination contrary to God’s will which then as now would evolve into nothing more than A NATION OF EDUCATED FOOLS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Education is meant to edify and enlighten not extinguish.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 8:6 “life comes in knowing the Spirit”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: I pray, Lord, education may return to its original foundation so all may find a life of peace.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. If a parent, how can you train your child on the ways of the Lord?
  2. What examples are there for each category above regarding blessings that come from knowing God?
  3. What are the facts about the effectiveness of education today?
  4. What can you do to bring education back to its foundation?

THE SPIRITUAL PROBLEM WITH EVOLUTION

There is a saying that if you repeat a lie often enough people will eventually accept it as truth. For me evolution is one of those lies. Not in a micro sense where species change often dramatically within their group, but in a macro sense where without God out of nothing everything came.

Sadly evolution (as reported in virtually every television show, news sources and schools across this land) is one of those lies that has become an ideological movement having no overt religious content but yet when spoken of and accepted as absolute truth can capture a person body, soul and spirit. It is almost as the warning laid out in 1 Timothy 4:1 of God’s Word.

There was a time in education when ‘how’ to think allowed for challenging theory and great discussions. Today in many and perhaps most classrooms we have gone from ‘how’ and growing the mind to ‘what’ to think and indoctrination. Therein lies the great danger in education mostly unchallenged by families with children in school today.

After a great deal of study and reading as well as observation I hold to the truth of God’s Word. Mankind was CREATED in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27) and not evolved from sludge to an ape and then a human being with a conscience. It takes far less faith to believe the Bible than a so called ‘science’ textbook.

This applies to the theory of intelligent design as well which ‘educators’ do not accept either. Some say that yes God created all there is but over millions of years. Believe it if you wish but if we say God is omniscient and omnipotent as Scripture tells us in Isaiah 40:14 and in Genesis chapter one then it would be short sighted of us to doubt God could create all that is in 6 days (Exodus 20:11).

The real danger in evolution is that if there is no God then there is no Adam or original sin (Romans 5:12-21) and no need for Christ and the cross. Mankind can then live as they choose as there is no absolute. Survival of the fittest as Darwin proposed. Sadly, that chaotic state of existence is the direction society is moving today. That is THE SPIRITUAL PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Evolution by its very nature when accepted furthers much (perhaps most) of the evil in society today.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Timothy 4:1 “a problem with evolution”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord guide us by Your truth.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How does 1 Timothy 4:1 show the danger of evolution?
  2. Why do so many want to convince us of macro-evolution as fact?
  3. How do you explain out of nothing comes everything including a conscience without God?
  4. Is Christ necessary if evolution is true?

 

THINK THE WAY GOD THINKS!

Many of us as students in the various schools we attend or have attended may have had a favorite teacher. Perhaps even to the extent they impressed you to such an extent that your life’s path mirrored theirs. That is what it means to disciple and is what God desires of we who follow Him. The perfect example of this is to think the way God would think as best as we can know through His Word.

The Bible tells us, as any good teacher would agree with, there must be tests to overcome and the first recorded in John 14:15 is obedience. God expects our love to show up in obedience to His Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). Every teacher to create the maximum  learning experience has to have rules or chaos would break out.

In addition we must be faithful which will show in our bearing much fruit (John 15:8). That can come only when we abide in God’s Word. You cannot think God’s thoughts unless you know God’s thoughts and that requires we study it eagerly. Doing this we will grow in love for one another (John 13:35) and the divisiveness of the world will begin to end. But know this that when your disciplining begins to bear fruit you must remain humble and know we are always the student and God is always the teacher.

Doing this God will reward us for He is a giving God. Perhaps at the top of the list is we will be brothers and sisters with Christ as He Himself proclaimed in Matthew 12:48-50. We will be enlightened by Him (John 8:12). We will also be guided by the Holy Spirit Who will reveal to us things yet to come (John 16:13) and we will be honored by God the Father (John 12:26). This all and more if we desire to THINK THE WAY GOD THINKS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Disciplining demands we remain devout to our Divine Creator.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 16:13 “Lives guided by the Holy Spirit are a reward for our disciplining.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me in being the best disciple I can for You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Where is the failure in many of our educational settings?
  2. What does it mean to surrender all (Luke 14:33) if we want to be God’s people?
  3. What does it mean to you to be a brother/sister of Christ?
  4. How are you doing in your discipleship journey?

ARE YOU FOOLING YOURSELF?

One of the reasons humanity amuses me (and that includes looking within myself) is how delusional we are. To have delusions is to deceive ourselves in one way or another. To think we know better.

Perhaps the greatest delusion is to reject God’s existence (Psalm 14:1) or even to doubt it when evidence within and outside ourselves makes God’s existence so evident. One example of that is how the science community seems so bent on positioning itself as the final authority. For those inclined to fall before the gods of limited human knowledge I would suggest you read the words of one who walked with Christ in 2 Peter 3:5, 16-17. To withhold the teachings of Scripture in all education is to deny facts through self-deception.

Delusional also is the idea or notion that sin can be kept private. Each day ‘leaks’ of improper behavior are revealed in numerous ways. In a sense that is a positive thing as it should cause all to be constantly on their best behavior. Perhaps even confessing their wrong doing (Acts 19:18). At the very least it must be understood that our actions are seen by God and will be judged (Psalm 10).

Perhaps most easily deluded are Christians who may be subject to thoughts of grandeur. That behavioral display keeps many from the Christian faith. Our heritage as John the Baptist pointed out to the Jews in Matthew 3:9 and Christ addressed in Luke 13:28 is no guarantee of a future eternal life. Each of us must come to faith by our own journey though being born into a Christian family is certainly helpful.

The final delusion that is most dangerous is false information that attacks us daily and most especially will preceding the Lord’s return (2 Thessalonians 2). We must not be deceived and all teachings must be verified against the truth of God’s Word. As we go through life we must always ask ARE WE FOOLING OURSELVES.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Delusions are ways demons break down a Christians defensive barriers.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 14:1 “Rejecting God is the worst delusion”.

PRAYERS FOR TODAY: Lord may I never deceive myself.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Where is the danger in the teachings of science?
  2. What are ways in which sinful acts are revealed?
  3. What is the role of heritage in Christianity?
  4. How do you do battle with an anti-Christ?