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Posts Tagged ‘Godly Wisdom’

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“Teach us to number our days,

that we may present to you

a heart of wisdom”

–Psalm 90:12 (NAS)

 

I did the math and numbered my days: over 24,000 so far. That means I’m well past the half-way point of the average earthly life. And such a sobering thought would surely weigh heavy on my mind, if I did not have heaven to look forward to.

But I’m certain Moses (the author of Psalm 90, above) wasn’t asking God for a multiplication lesson.

Perhaps in learning how to number his days Moses wanted to: 

  • make each day count by accomplishing worthwhile tasks, or
  • live mindfully so steady growth and learning took place, or
  • dedicate himself to the well-being of others, or
  • look for God throughout each day, worshiping and praising, or
  • revel in the positive instead of grovel in the negative.

Perhaps Moses was thinking of all those things.

According to two commentators, Numbering our days means:  1) living in such a way that each day has value, and 2) living intentionally in ways that bring glory to God and blessing to others.

Then notice what Moses indicates will happen when we live with those supreme purposes:

We’ll be able to present to God a heart of wisdom—a heart with “the ability to see life from God’s perspective, and then to know the best course of action to take” (p. 1055, Living Application Bible). 

That seems to me a lovely gift to present to my Heavenly Father—accepting his perspective and acting upon it.

 

Charles-Spurgeon-Quote-Wisdom

 

But learning to number our days and grow in wisdom are such abstract processes. It’s difficult to determine progress. So how might we know that we’re learning and growing? These ten questions may help; they’re based on the Book of Wisdom, Proverbs. Try answering in the context of the last ten—maybe even twenty—years:

  1. Am I more aware of God’s daily gifts and more grateful to him for these blessings (15:13)?
  2. Do my thoughts frequently turn to God during the day? Am I continually turning to him for guidance? (2:1-6)
  3. Do I express trust in God more often than worry about circumstances (3:5-6)?
  4. Am I pursuing biblical instruction (8:33-34a)?
  5. Do I take great pleasure in building up others (10:11)?
  6. Am I able to think before I speak (10:19b)?
  7. Do I give people the benefit of the doubt (19:11)?
  8. Am I becoming more patient and kind–especially toward challenging people (25:21-22)?
  9. Do I thoughtfully consider the advice of those who are knowledgeable and wise (19:20)?
  10. Am I able to do what’s right even when there’s no one around to notice (10:9)?

 

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Scripture tells us that when Abraham died, he was “satisfied with life” (Genesis 25:8, NAS).  Surely satisfaction with life includes the development of a heart of wisdom, which Abraham demonstrated by his life of faith–in spite of challenges, disappointments, and uncertainties.

But the pinnacle of satisfaction must have been presenting that heart of wisdom to God Almighty on the day he entered heaven’s gates.

My prayer is that I’ll be able to do the same.

You, too?

“What we weave in time

is what we’ll wear in eternity.”

– Mart DeHaan

 

(Photo and art credits:  www.faithgateway.com; http://www.quotesgram.com; http://www.pinterest.com.)

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 “By myself!” “By myself!” “By myself!” Numerous times each day our granddaughter asserts herself, announcing with much gusto that whatever the task, she can handle it.

But Elena just turned two. Although her confidence is high, skills are limited. When it’s time to go upstairs, “by myself” means down on all fours, one limb at a time. One hand up, and then the other. One foot up and then the other. It is a slow and laborious process.

In addition, the grown-up in her wake must be very sly about offering support. No hand on the back, or even hovering where Elena can see it. She’ll cast aside such safety precautions and announce firmly once again, “By myself!”

Child Washing Hands

Hand washing is another activity she prefers to do independently. But her attempts to pump out a dollop of liquid soap often end unsuccessfully. The soap usually lands in or around the sink—not in her hand.

And once the soap is in her palm, Elena reaches for the faucet. Forget the actual washing. If we try to help, she pulls her hands away. “By myself!” Even when she acquiesces, her scrubbing efforts leave much to be desired. Squeezing is her version.

And rinsing is another issue. “By myself” often results in enthusiastic splattering of water on dry dishes, counter, and backsplash.

spoons

Mealtimes offer more opportunities for autonomy. “By myself” means she will hold her spoon or fork as she chooses, not as the grown-ups have shown her numerous times. Elena has yet to figure out that holding a utensil at the very end of the handle is not very efficient.  (The child in the photo is not our Elena, but is demonstrating the same technique.)

Because of her unwieldy grip, Elena ends up turning the spoon upside down as it approaches her mouth. Needless to say, most of the food ends up on her chin, in her bib pocket, on her clothes, on the tray, or back in the dish.

We shake our heads and roll our eyes. Toddlers!

Then it dawns on me. Sometimes I’m not much more mature than a toddler in God’s family. I’ve been known to proclaim “by myself,” too:

  • “Yes, Lord, I need you to take care of the important matters, but I can handle the small stuff by myself. ”
  • “I’ll make this decision by myself, Lord, because—to be honest–I’m not sure I’ll like your choice.”
  • “I can decide by myself what will make me happy, Lord.”

Yep, I can be as foolish as a toddler, even though great wisdom is available to me.

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Wisdom such as:

“Start with God.

The first step in learning

is bowing down to God.

Only fools thumb their noses

at such wisdom and learning”

(Proverbs 1:7, MSG).

Ouch. But Solomon is right.  God made me; he knows the best course for me. Over and over again he has proven himself worthy of my trust — guiding my way, providing for my needs, empowering me to accomplish his plans.

If I can’t trust the One who died for me, who can I trust?

Any time I’m tempted to approach a situation or decision by myself, I need to remember:

“God always gives the best

to those who leave the choice to him”

–Selwyn Hughes

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Oh, Father, forgive me for the times I have foolishly asserted my independence. Help me to relinquish control to you. I’ve lived long enough to know from experience that living life by myself does not result in satisfaction. Help me become a person who turns to you first, and asks, “What do YOU want me to do, Lord?” because you are the all-wise One of the universe.  And I know the benefits of following you will far outweigh any costs.

(Photo credits:  www.motherhood.modernmom.com; http://www.childcare.oxfordcounty.ca; http://www.cleftstories.com; http://www.covedevotions2010.blogspot.com.)

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Remember your first attempt to use a microscope? If your experience was like mine, countless adjustments had to be made to find the object under the lens and then bring it into focus.

I’m so glad our eyes don’t work that way! God made them to automatically adjust for distance, intermediate, and near. Granted, as we get older glasses are often required. Some of us even need trifocals. But the miracle of physical sight is incredibly precious, even with corrective lenses.

God offers us another miraculous gift of vision—that of spiritual sight. It, too, is trifocal–to see  lessons of the past,  opportunities of the present, and possibilities of the future.

First we need to understand where spiritual vision (godly insight and foresight) comes from.  It is a function of faith and wisdom.

Faith grows with our knowledge of God. For example, our vision of his future for us is based on such truths as: 1) He has designed a special plan for each of us. 2) He can do the impossible.   And, 3) he empowers the weak.  Embrace such truths and wishful thinking for your future can become a statement of conviction.

Faith also focuses on God’s promises.

Do you have a vision of a productive life, fulfilling his purpose? Focus on John 15:5. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Do you need courage to step forward toward a God-inspired goal? Focus on Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Do you feel overwhelmed and incapable of completing the task God has whispered into your spirit? Focus on Psalm 121:2. “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

In addition to faith, godly wisdom contributes to spiritual vision.

Godly wisdom grows with our knowledge of God’s Word. Of course, knowledge by itself is not enough; we must apply it (Psalm 19:7).

And as we absorb his truth, God gives us the ability to see those lessons of the past, opportunities of the present and possibilities of the future.

Now before I share a few examples please understand: I am no visionary with extra-spiritual powers to see the invisible. I’ve just lived long enough, had the privilege to learn from stellar Bible teachers, and spent glorious hours getting to know God and discovering his Word for myself. As a result…

…I can see lessons from my past.

One lesson:  God knows what he is doing.  Consider that…

  • He put me in a Christian home and in churches where my spirit and character were formed.
  • As a short-term missionary in Honduras and Ecuador, he grew my reliance upon him.
  • Serving at six churches with my pastor-husband stretched me emotionally and spiritually, but I also experienced much joy and fulfillment.
  • Each of the four teaching positions I held represented God’s ability to engineer circumstances in stunning ways.

Oh, yes, I can see clearly that God knows what he is doing.

I also see opportunities of the present as we babysit our granddaughter. What an awesome privilege to pass on to a new generation the heritage of faith we have treasured. I can envision the value of sweet memories, sound truth, and especially the example of godly integrity in her life. (Lord, help me provide those gifts to both of our granddaughters!)

And, I see possibilities for the future, where my husband and I might serve—perhaps at a soup kitchen. (Steve loves to cook.) And a volunteer tutoring service for under-privileged children might be able to use a retired teacher.  Each locale would provide possibilities for planting seeds of faith into the lives of others.

I want to live out the advice of missionary to India, William Carey (1761-1834):

“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

But we’ll need tri-focal, spiritual vision for that to happen.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

What are you envisioning right now?

 

(Photo credit:  www.prescription.lensesrx.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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