Wird Geladen

Lessons from my own bible study

Archive for the tag “Bible”

1 Corinthians 2:7-8

7 But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

“None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (v.8).” A different translation calls them “The princes of this age”. It’s kind of an insinuation about the quality of our role models. Paul seems to be saying, “Your celebrities, the princes and authority figures, the people you give your time and effort into obsessing over- the people on TV, the glamorous job in this or that industry, the address you wish you could say you lived at, they lead to nothing. You’re following the wrong horse, because their flashy gold or lavish lives or book smarts or accomplishments or skills or nice features are not leading them or you toward God. In fact they’re actively working against Godliness by distracting your mind from fulfillment. They’re crucifying the Lord of Glory, as are we all, every time we choose wickedness over God.”

Compare that to the power of the wisdom which comes from God. “Which God decreed for our glory”, meaning our glorification- literally our improvement. I’m all about self improvement. I’m bad at mental math and analytical thinking. I wish I were better with numbers, less forgetful, more detail oriented, and focused. I wish my brain worked a lot better than it does, lets put it that way. I understand now that God is the road to my self improvement. More than these mind-sharpening apps and self-help books I’ve got, God can provide actual change at the foundational level. Our improvement is actualized by the power of God. Just since beginning this Word of Wisdom series I’m not forgetting things anymore. Little details don’t escape my notice, and I make fewer and fewer stupid mistakes. I don’t even get distracted as much. This is because I know I’m growing. When I forget something, I pray to God, “Thank you, God, for improving me away from such stupid mistakes. I know that next time my mind will be clearer and your wisdom will make me that much more capable. I’m getting better, God, by your Power.” This is working because I’m choosing to go where I know wisdom exists, and away from Death and Destruction. I’m turning down temptation to sin and devote my mind to frivolous matters (TV princes and the ruling wisdom of my day, for example). The improvement I see in myself is a demonstration of God’s power for everyone to see.

And not so I would be glorified, but so I would be improved. So that I can get prepared to use His power. I started this whole series because I wanted to know God’s will for my life. Wouldn’t that make the job search/city search easier if I knew where God wanted me to go? But we need to be useful in order to be used. In order to find out what God’s will for my life is, I first need to be capable of fulfilling that will. The wisdom of God teaches me everything I need to know so that I can become mature, powerful, and capable of achieving my potential. Because we need to be capable, trustworthy, of using the power. No one gets the power of God who isn’t of the right spirit to use it.  That’s why it is “Secret and hidden”. And until I understand the fear of God, His will for me is to seek and find that understanding wholeheartedly.

God can’t be glorified until we’re glorified. We cannot have God’s power until we understand what it’s for. We do not get God’s power until we seek Him. And then it WORKS.

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This is part of the Word of Wisdom Series

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Romans 11:33

33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Those depths are  a part of us. Imagine that chest from Harry Potter. Open up the first keyhole, it’s got some clothes in it. Open up the second key hole there’s whatever. Third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and then  get to the seventh keyhole and it’s a tunnel! The depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God are not outside of ourselves but within, available and brimming with the Christ Truth of all things. Paul says “Oh! My God! The depths of that cavern which in my heart holds your riches and wisdom and knowledge…I can’t even…I don’t…” He speaks as if he’s seen it.

Within those depths I believe lives every other human soul. Since those depths are inside of us, then we are all a part of one another as part of God. One. Jesus knew the depths of his soul. He alone had gone to the walls, and knew the layout of the inside of the Cave of Wonders in his heart. That’s how he was able to connect with every living person on the planet. That’s how he is able to love us- because he knows us there. That’s how Jesus healed the sick, too. He saw the healthy person inside of every sick person, and called out “Come up here!” We all have this power. The deeper into the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God we go, the further out into the world we spread, and the more we connect to it, heal it, and love it.

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Job 28 (Part of the Word of Wisdom Series)

Yes! So many good things in here.

Who: Job

What: Compares jewels/gold to wisdom/understanding

Why: “[Wisdom] cannot be bought with the finest gold.” v. 13

Here’s some great pull-out quotes:

“But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living (v. 12-13).” Certainly in our culture today, apparently in Job’s thousands of years ago, wisdom and understanding are not prized. People spend so little effort, or maybe I should say so few people spend a great deal of effort, actually trying to become wise, and gain understanding of their world and life. We disregard wisdom and understanding; we just don’t get how important, useful, valuable, wonderful, precious, terrible, difficult, rare, majestic, helpful, valuable,  worthwhile they are. Now gold, on the other hand, rubies, sapphires, silver, iron, ore, oil, cast, bitches, TV’s, paintings, end tables, rugs, cars, houses, registered breed dogs, fancy maps, bedknobs and broomsticks- we’ll scratch and beat our way through years and years of solidified shit to get our hands on. We forsake what is valuable and truly hard to get for what is fleeting and within our reach. Job says “Neither gold nor jewels can compare with [wisdom] (v. 17),” in terms of beauty and worth. Actual worthiness. Actual value. Truth. True meaning- wisdom has some, gold has none.

“God understands the way to [wisdom] and he alone knows where it dwells (v. 23).” In fact it says, when God was setting up the Earth, at the very beginning when he was measuring out the waters and calculating the gale force speed for the wind and such, he was also organizing wisdom. It is a precious resource in this world just like the oceans, the rain, the ore, the gold. “He looked at [wisdom] and appraised it; he confirmed and tested it.” This is metallurgy imagery. Appraisals, like diamonds, measured for worth; testing, like gold, measured for strength and purity. God worked on this wisdom just like we men work on gold. You can practically hear the clang of his hammer on the anvil, beating understanding into shape. You can smell the burning and the sweat on his brow as he worked, truly expended effort, to clarify and perfect the wisdom and understanding which would fill up this world. Gold he simply laid down on the ground; the wisdom he made. And then he gave it to us. He told us where to go to find it. “He said to man ‘The fear of the Lord- that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding (v. 28).'”

Well I have not been shunning evil. I have feared the Lord, I think. But I have no understanding yet, of what that means. What it means is that I shun evil. To fear the Lord means to be on his side. A respect, hunger, appreciation, use of all things good is wisdom. Understanding this world, how we live in it, how it works for us, how we work for it, begins and ends with casting evil out of it. We are not made for evil. Gold is not made for evil. The rocks and stones and dust and leaves and animals are not made to interact with evil. We’ve got to understand that evil is anathema to the smooth running of our world (metaphysical plane). Shun it. Get it out. One man at a time turn your back on evil and make it leave- send it down to the depths to dwell with the gold and iron-ore. Shun evil, and wisdom shall prevail. “It means to have respect and reverence for God and to be in awe of his majesty and power. That is the starting point to finding real wisdom.”

“Miners put an end to darkness, and search out to the farthest bounds for the ore in gloom and deep darkness (v. 3).” Look what we’re willing to go through to get this junk. We gladly, eagerly, descend into gloom and darkness. We subject ourselves to utter misery, “far from where people dwell…they sway suspended, remote (v. 4)”, in search of these riches.

Another interpretation of (v.13) says “Mortals do not know the way to it, and it is not found in the land of the living.” Men do not have wisdom to give and share. Reading philosophy books or looking to leaders and thinkers is no way to find a path through life. They are blind leading the blind. “No leader can produce enough insight to explain the totality of human experience.”  A complete view of us humans, our lives and everything included in it, is available to God. “He looks to the ends of the Earth, and sees everything under the heavens.” We, therefore, can also see that. We can see where we are going, form plans, ideas, prioritieswe can get things right! Gold gives us no method of achieving that. I gives no achievement whatsoever. Nothing we can possibly buy or read or forge in fire or program on a computer can give us that insight. Only The Bible. “When looking for guidance, seek God’s wisdom as revealed in the Bible. To be lifted above and beyond the boundaries of life, we must know and trust the Lord of life.” To be lifted above and beyond the boundaries of life.

This has been part of the Word of Wisdom Series

The Encouraging Story of Joseph

I like the story of Joseph. I find it very encouraging in my current place in life. Working hard to move forward while keeping God in the center. Not sure of where I’m headed or what good it’s doing. Unconvinced that anything I do is the best option.

Joseph grew up out of a middle-class farming family to be the second most powerful man in Egypt. His leadership saved every Egyptian citizen, and most of the Hebrews, from dying of starvation. He was the hero of his time.

But it took him a long time to get there. And he never made any decisions that led him there, per se. Rule over Egypt and adoration were not lifelong goals he had been working toward. Joseph came to fulfill his destiny because he spent his whole life loving and working for God.

A few months ago when I moved to Berlin I went to talk with my friend Erika. She loves living in Berlin even more than I do. Now she’s getting her masters here, but before she could do that, she had to teach English in a little down in central Germany for two years.

“Was it what I wanted to be doing? No. But it got me here.”

It’s the same with Joseph. He went from shepherd to captured slave to head of an enormous estate to prisoner to savior of Egypt. Every step of the way Joseph’s work was good enough that he was promoted quickly. People trusted him and gave him enormous power and authority. It wasn’t the type of work Joseph was doing that gained him renown- it was just slave work. And the quality of his work wasn’t because Joseph was a particularly adept or enthusiastic worker. Again, he was a slave. Rather, Joseph put his hand into God’s and trusted His grace and goodness to bless everything he did.

It was God alone who was moving Joseph toward what turned out to be his great destiny and the salvation of all Egypt. Did Jo enjoy the work he was doing? Perhaps. Did he take pride in being very good and high up in his position? Probably. But what’s absolutely certain and most important to remember is that Joseph begged God’s help in all things. He had to have done. God doesn’t go to work for those who don’t ask for it. But those who work by love for the Lord, earn His wages.

Joseph put God and all of his heart into whatever work was before him. He moved forward toward God’s good blessings for his life by staying continually grounded in the Lord. No matter what unfortunate, unfair mistakes came into his path, or how down and out Joseph became, he never stopped serving first and foremost the Lord. And that’s what led to his ultimately coming into his own- the golden cup that was waiting for him.

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“I Have Crossed The Jordan With Only This Stick”

Jacob prayed: Oh God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant. For with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies.
                                                                                                        Genesis 32:9 & 10

25-second context: Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, took advantage of him for 20 years of indentured servitude. In that time Jacob amassed vast wealth and a huge household. After getting tired of being scammed he fled with his wives, 11 children, slaves, cohorts, and vast herds back to Canaan.

This is my new favorite verse of the Bible! An encouraging prayer for the power of God even when we are unable or unwilling to accept it. He is in power, not we. And isn’t that a comforting thought; that we should reap the benefits of His goodness, steadfastness, wisdom, and love even though we don’t think we ought to.

Jacob’s feeling of unworthiness didn’t come from sin, or lacking righteousness. He’s talking about the feelings of inadequacy, doubt, unworthiness that come from being limited by our own lack of skill. I don’t deserve these blessings because I am not wise enough, smart enough, skilled enough, hard-working enough, nice enough, liked enough to go out and get them on my own. I don’t deserve these blessings because they don’t represent the achievements I’m capable of. I don’t deserve these blessings because I’m literally not good enough at life to earn them.

By myself all I have is this one stick. By your love alone, Oh Lord, it has become two companies of men!

We have a God who does not operate on the do-earn basis. He pays wages to his laborers based on the faith and love with which they do their work. Sometimes I think that God can see love the way moths see ultraviolet light. We have a God who happily gives out the prizes of our hearts based purely on His love for us, and the joy He expects us to get from it, and the trust that we will put our gifts to good use and do them justice.

Jacob was clearly not a savvy business man! He got cheated by his boss for over 20 years. But God saw that Jacob’s heart yearned to lead wisdom into control, and to feel his power gifted into his whole company. He took care of Jacob, knowing that his desire for such things came not for his own benefit but from their desire to see God worshiped.

Take heart! Go out into the world with just your stick in your hand! Do whatever it is that comes to you with all love and faith in God. Work hard and always let your life glorify God. If you do this, God will turn your stick into two enormous companies of men!

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Sitting On Top Of The Train

Last Friday, after months and months of ardent prayer, God gave me something I have been asking for.  I always said to Him “I’m ready, Dad.  What are you waiting for?”  Once it was in my hand, unfortunately, the thing brought me no joy because I found I had no idea what to do with it.  Has that ever happened to you?  In a quandary over what to do with this fish that had jumped into my boat I sat down in quiet and asked God for guidance.  Now I’m all for providence and the movement of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives and whatever, but the thing that happened next was so blatant, so incredulously “convenient” that I’m truly hard pressed to think it was God’s invisible hand, and not just a funny little coincidence.  I sat down and asked God for an answer and a voice in my head said “pick up your Bible.”  So I did.  Then it said “Turn to Lamentations.”  Never read Lamentations in my life.  I opened my Bible, wondering where Lamentations might even be, and immediately found myself right in the middle of it.  There on the page I had randomly turned to was a highlighted section, literally glowing out yellow; waiting.  Here’s what it said:

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.

To the soul that seeks Him.

I read it again with a particular emphasis:

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.

To the soul that seeks Him.

Seek HIM.  Wait for HIM.  Right then and there I knew I had prayed for the wrong thing.  I had been asking for a piece of the world thinking it would satisfy me, but my time would have been better spent just asking for God.  This answered prayer is nothing.  As with anything of this world it is absolutely nothing that I should to concern my mind with.  Rather I ought to always and only seek God.  What will come of that is right action in all Earthly matters.  That’s huge!  That concept touches every aspect of my life!  It nullifies all concerns, needs, worries, requests.  “The Lord is good to those who wait for HIM.”  Not “to those who wait for Him…to give them what they’re asking for.”  It’s nothing to do with patience.  God is the reward, and if you seek only God- and see that everything else is nothingness- then you begin to operate alongside God, and your waiting becomes less of a chore, and more of a prep-time.  I had been seeking this blessing instead of seeking God, and as a result I had to turn around and go back in order to catch up with my Lord.  (Apparently He had sat down in Lamentations to wait for me.)  Waiting on HIM has nothing to do with patience, it means recognizing that God is the true source, the true power, the true good, from which all flows.  Seeking HIM means praying for more God in your life, not more stuff.  That’s streamlined prayer.  I prayed to God for a thing, got it, and all it did was circle me back round to God.

At a time in my life when everything is up in the air, the urge to obsess over plans and success is maddening.  After reading this passage I got the idea that anytime I start to turn an idea over and over in my head- to focus on a thing or an outcome I want- I will stop myself and think about God instead.  This has proven to be much harder in practice than in theory (damn near impossible, actually).  The mental image I get is of sitting on top of a train rolling through a beautiful valley.  I see the green hills rolling past and the brown mountain ledges moving aside as we chug forward.   This pacifies me because it makes me see how much easier it is to keep up with the train if I’m on top of it instead of running along beside it.  In time the exercise will begin to align my mind with God’s, and since every external situation is simply a manifestation of the mind, my life will necessarily follow God’s path and no longer my own.  I will be allowing Him to lead, waiting on Him, instead of charging ahead and start-stopping.   That just seems easier to me, and if I can master the technique I see enormous ROI potential.

God answered my prayer, but then told me straight up that it is worthless and not important.  I should not get distracted by the good thing he gave me and forget where it came from.  If someone invites you to dinner you don’t stop paying attention to them the moment the food comes; the food is not why you two are eating together.  Everything is nothing.  Everything but God.  Even the things he gives us in answer to our prayers.

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