1 My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
11 Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
The Joy of the Holy Spirit. What do you do when you don't feel it. When Joy is a job.
The Work of God within us is a Work of the Holy Spirit. Not always an emotional joy ride. To Love is different than being 'in love'.
The New Year is a good time for insight. I just read a piece by a homeless minister on judging his neighbors. He commented that his affluent neighbors spent too much time loving each other. Giving away what belonged in the home. (Where does he live??!) He drove to his parent's house to pick up a car they were giving him, and he mentions briefly that he had not been home in years. End of parents mentioned again. After offering commentary that his physical neighbors in his neighborhood spend too much effort on loving each other being concerned for each other - "idolization". Then he spends the rest of the article talking about knowing his time in being homeless will never compare to the real thing. And the article goes on for pages about being touched by the compassion of the homeless to share blankets with each other.
I have to wonder about that article - I wonder if the minister isn't crying out for someone to ask him - What about Your Parents?
We are not God. We all have a different story God has written on our hearts.
So - we are looking for our own path God calls us uniquely to do. It's a journey. And like grief, no one can carry your grief or tell you how to recover exactly when you are doing the work of grief. Like loosing a child.
But we can certainly do the insight work we need to do for ourselves.
God gives us passages and they will Leap Up At You. Sometimes make you angry. Melt your heart. Cause you to wonder what that can possibly mean. And that wonder is healthy. And God is probably telling you the journey will come back to that, but for now, that part of the passage is not for you. The thinking part is good to start the process.
Noah had a pretty good idea - Noah was to build a vessel. However, the people around him would disagree. Noah was doing his God given job.
Now judgment and discernment.
We have Noah building a ship. And the Minister pretending to be homeless 'to learn' and saying his neighbors were in err. Grateful enough to have a new car and honest enough to say years between visits. Blind enough to leave the subject.
My oldest son was told by his parents and a-years and-years-ago minister to hit the Junior High School boy spitting on him. Because this turning the other cheek wasn't working. And we were all a little shocked to leave the Scripture behind.
Well, the truth is we all felt a little like Jesus might not be pleased to hear we said hit back. We felt maybe like we were the ducks flying off. Jesus told the parable of a house being hit by High Winds. And He said the Rock will hold. Not the one on sand.
We have to Go With What God Is Giving Us. We are not in logic to continue to say suffer the kid puffing out his cheeks and spitting only when there is an audience in the bus and the hallway. People were avoiding Cal. They wanted him to hit back.
We need to Struggle for Insight.
Cal went WAY past what his minister and parents told him. He didn't hit back, he pushed the kiddo in to the lockers and made a huge NOISE. And the tears welled in his eyes as he put his nose to the kiddo's nose and said with a voice that shook, "NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU."
Thank God, unknown to Cal the Kiddo's head met the handle of the locker. The Kiddo never bothered Cal again. And when we saw the Kiddo years later - Cal was able to kindly remark "The Kiddo has problems - you can tell that today. And he felt my shame and he was able to understand me that day."
Cal discovered Rebuke was heard because time was given for turn the other cheek.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Cal went on to say, the Kiddo quit being a bully. Cal said it was because the kid clearly saw his own pain given back to him. Give the Kiddo a hand for wisdom. And Cal.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I happen to believe that God, who created the Universe, named all of us. He has the Love. And the people who picked your name were inspired like Daniel, through the Holy Spirit, created peace. Daniel 1:9, or if you like,
When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Loosely I'd say No One Could Tell Noah to have Rest when Noah knew the Wind was Blowing Fiercely. Noah was not receiving peace around him. Still Noah would stand for what God told Him to do.
God did tell us:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
God just did not tell us to sit in judgment of what another man is doing. President Reagan ran for important offices several times, not until the end of his second term as President of the United States did President Reagan say this,"I always felt a call put upon my heart from the Lord. That Communist USSR did not let the people of their nation have the personal freedom we are so freely given to worship God. And God put it in my heart to bring down tyranny that would separate us from being allowed to know the God of Love who brings us Salvation and Eternity."
President Reagan was asked by the smiling interviewer why this was not part of his speeches - i.e. when he accepted the Nomination. Reagan uncharacteristically began to pivot and squirm in his chair. And finally he straightened back up and said, "It sounded unreasonable. Even to Nancy." He was then asked if Nancy shared his visionary call. And President Reagan said "Well, she surely does now that we did Tear Down That Wall!"
Of course, the interviewer was not going to let go of the chance to get at Nancy's beliefs. Next, President Reagan said upon being chastised about the knowledge of Nancy engaging an astronomer for the President's safety - "Don't go poking your nose into Nancy's Soul or Beliefs. I live with Nancy and I say to you that Nancy is too fine a person to not know the Love of her Lord." Reagan spoke with utter and complete sincerity about a huge calling. Displaying love and mercy and undoubtedly Prayer for Nancy. President Reagan was never in agreement with 'horrorscopes." And Ronald Reagan was not going to put down the soul of his wife.
We are all called to do what God does. He sees His creation as Good. And prays. Jesus prays for us in John 17.
10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.
Dear God, Thank You for Jesus.
We will not duck out on praying with great fervor for the ones God has called us to Love.
Our minister to the Homeless Article. (Yes, the article was for real.)
Spoke of judging - love - as being too inconsequential. Wrongly motivated. Taking away from God.
We can apply Scripture about Love.
God is Love. And because God is Love. Anyone who read the article would grasp that his judgment fell back on him.
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.
With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God," 6he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
God has given us a hierarchy.
And this is even easier. We can be moved by Mercy.
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor?”
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
When we are LOOKING UP down around for our purpose - we start by loving the ones that God has placed deliberately in our lives. We listen for our Spirit to speak to us in Scripture. We look to the one who is Good. Scripture is alive, living and active. What moves and shakes you as you read Scripture is God Speaking To You. The interesting part is that different verses of Love will move and shake you as you need to hear them.
Ask questions. Read your Bible. That Word of God suffered for four centuries to come to your eyesight. And we see the importance in Scripture by seeing the Dead Sea Scroll and Septuagint strive and strive to bring You what God has to say.
We live in two millenniums gone by of the Gospel. For older people, they usually know the Bible. The door to their understanding has a path. For younger people, without a life of love - they are not going to be interested in what your view is of God.
Earn the Right to Be Heard.
They aren't interested in how much you know, they are interested in how much you care.
Preach the Gospel, if you have to use Words.
Lord Jesus Christ, bless us with Your Spirit. We ask with Joy. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †