Wird Geladen

Lessons from my own bible study

Archive for the tag “Wisdom”

1 Corinthians 2:12

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

First, I doubt it’s possible to overstate the value of understanding. Notice the wording here. Why does Paul say “understand the gifts”? Why doesn’t he say “USE the gifts”? Because understanding really means POWER. “We receive the spirit of God so that we might have the power to use the gifts he gives us.” You want power? Gain understanding. Understanding lets us see issues in new ways. If we can see our problems from many angles, then we can find their weaknesses, their fake walls that make them appear substantial- and take control. Evil’s power is in darkness. Ours is in understanding.

Identify a problem you’ve been struggling with. Have you actually tried to understand the problem? Or have you only tried to solve the problem? Set yourself down to understanding your problem. Give it a good think. What does the problem boil down to? What would it take to overcome? Ask the Holy Spirit for a word. Look up ten scripture verses about that word. Write them onto index cards and carry one around in your pocket. Meditate on it. Talk to God. Engage with your problem through the Holy Spirit. Ask God for understanding of the issue. All the aspects of the Living God are already inside of you and me- there’s no point in asking for help, or strength, or guidance. Seek understanding! Take Power! Seek understanding, actively, earnestly, with total abandon seek to understand the things that you think you want, and the Spirit of God will teach you what it is you’re truly after, and how to use the power you already have to achieve it. The Power of God yields fruit.

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This is part of the Word of Wisdom Series

1 Corinthians 2:9

But as it is written: What eye did not see and ear did not hear, and what never entered the human mind– God prepared this for those who love Him.

There’s indiscretion about exactly which verse Paul’s quoting here. This is what Isaiah 64:4 says: “From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for Him.” Both this and Paul’s quotation describe a God who achieves, by actionable works, the purposes of those who are willing to devote their time to understanding Him. He’s unlike any other God, the Gods we currently devote our attention to- money, celebrities, materials, sex, jobs, trendy science discoveries, video games, passions- and the princes (v.8) who are exalted by our civilization today. He’s superior to the torrent of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding the Information Age offers us. He is the only God who will do what he says, and achieve what He wills. “Look anywhere you want, you won’t find a God who works.” 

The wisdom of God is ours. It’s prepared for us, designed for our improvement and betterment and to make us into the Soldiers of Christ we were born to be. It’s free, it’s available, and it’s only to be had by investing ourselves into Christian communities where God is being sought and learning for ourselves. The machinations of Man are not going to unveil the mysteries of God. Watching people and asking their opinion on things is not going to lead to wisdom. Only watching God will reveal His presence and character. Only the demonstrations of God’s power will show Him to us. And then, when our hearts are hungry to understand what we’ve just seen, only study of the Word will feed us. Looking for answers anywhere else is just chasing after the wind. It will come to nothing. For only God is real, only God is solid, only God will realify us and solidify us, so that we can be USEFUL to Him in demonstrating His love and power to others.

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This is part of the Word of Wisdom Series

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

1 Corinthians 2:6

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

What this is telling me is that we always need to keep prioritized. In learning about our goals, our careers, our loves and hopes and dreams, our search for God’s will- wisdom in all areas ultimately comes from God. Never from the mouths of men. Be patient with people who give advice, but be careful whose advice you take. Prioritizing our relationship with God will lend clarity, insight, and potential to every  endeavor. 

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This is part of the Word of Wisdom Series

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Practically, Paul was invoking the power of God to accomplish his goal. He wasn’t relying on God’s wisdom, which he certainly had lots of. He wasn’t relying on what he had learned, or discerned, or anything the Spirit had taught him. He only used what he knew empirically: the power of God will work to my end. It’s the difference between saying “My sword is sharp” and cutting something with your sword. We, too, can pull out the power of God. It’s there in the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge which are already inside of us. We too can yield it for direct, active, visible results in our lives. Paul did not use words. He used God. He attacked his problems head on, wisely basing his ministry on the confidence that when he pulled out his product to do the job, it would work. And not just work, it would amaze. He’s freakin Billy Mayes with Jesus.

What I’m saying is, when we’ve got an issue, or a problem, or something we need God’s help with, we don’t need to keep chanting “God knows how to fix it! God knows the answer!” Get at it and use the power of God to fix it! Our faith is based on God’s POWER. Use it.

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This is part of the Word of Wisdom Series

Ecclesiastes 2:26

For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Solomon’s talking about an eternal preference over a fleeting one. The joys and passions of anything that isn’t the wisdom and knowledge of God is characteristically unsatisfying. We accept the illusion of satisfaction. The gift of God is a) wisdom in the first place, and b) that that wisdom should come to be solidified (“He lays up solid wisdom (aka “substance”) for the righteous (Prov 2:7),”), come to be felt inside of us, and thus come to “fill the void” in a much more real way than worldliness can, which is meaningless, wind for fools to go chase.

Practically, what this means is, whenever I am tempted to sin or wickedness or anything that will not please God, I ought to focus on the fact that by choosing the right way, and pleasing Him, I will get a little nugget of solid wisdom down in the hole of my stomach. I ought to pause, and concentrate. Feel the void, search for the hole, and then reach out and grab the pebble of wisdom myself. That is what a choice for right or wrong amounts to- taking a piece of solid wisdom and putting it inside of me forever. Forever. I keep that. I don’t lose it like Solomon lost his temples and fields, like sinners lose their “treasures.” The knowledge and wisdom of God will open our eyes to understand what is true, what is false, what is real, what is not, what ought to be, and what is. If we are willing to change absolutely everything about how we see the world. 

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This is part of the Word of Wisdom Series

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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Isaiah 40:12

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?

These are big images: all the water on Earth fitting in the palm of a hand; that same hand stretching across the sky. The same with the mountains laying on scales. The images we get are of a very BIG God, and a very small Earth. They’re also images of a careful creation: measurement, checking, balances and scales and preparations. This passage speaks about the perfection of God, his design dwarfing us. Wisdom is all about pulling back, standing in awe of the work of the Spirit, and realizing that we are a part of something much bigger than Self.

Mitochondria and single-celled amoebas existed for a million years until one day the two got together and starting living inside one another, which was the tipping point of the creation of eukaryotes, and us, and this blog. The two had no way of knowing what would come of their unification at the time. With the Web cinching up all of humanity, negating time and space from our interactions, perhaps we are the next tipping point. The more I understand, the more I get the idea that we are part of a whole- a cog- working in the cosmos as God has designed it for His purpose and to His glory (James 1:18). It is not reasonable to assume that we are nameless pieces, though. Jesus is 100% involved in each of our consciousnesses and lives (James 4:5). That same dust God measured in scales, He added his breath to. We are each a part of Him, and  necessarily possess the wisdom and understanding which went into building our world in the first place.

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This is part of the Word of Wisdom Series.

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

Word of Wisdom

Andrew Womack had a problem. His church seriously lacked finances. Each week they spent $10,000 and got $9,996 in tithes and offerings.

“I went into my office and I looked up 100 pieces of scripture on prosperity. I typed them up on my computer, and for the next TWO YEARS I would take one scripture out at a time. I would meditate on it, study it, pray about it. Every day a different verse. After two years I began to believe what I had read. That week we got $25,000 in tithes and offerings. The next week thirty. Prosperity was coming to me, because there had been a radical shift in my heart and the way I believed, brought on by understanding of the Word of God. You have got to get INTO the WORD OF GOD and let it change your life. Amen.”

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I’m in one of those transitionary periods, pretty common to 25-year-olds. At home, working a simple job for gas money, trying to figure out what I want. Problem is, there’s a million things I want. And there’s two million options open to me. That is the curse of the mildly-educated, middle class American: we can do almost anything, and if we’re not focused, we end up paralyzed.

“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3

I’ve given up my ambition, for the moment. God has brought me to a place where I have the opportunity to focus on Him. My first lesson is that I need to ask what I need to ask for.

“God, what should I ask for that will progress Your Kingdom instead of my own selfish ambition?”

I need wisdom to start  this new leg of my life. So I’m taking Andrew’s approach: I’ve got about 50 pieces of scripture relating to Wisdom, and I’m gonna go through them one at a time. I invite you to study along with me, suggest a verse that’s helped you grow, or make your own list for anything you want the Lord to teach you.

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Edit: Sorry, I totally did not mean to say Andrew Carnegie. It was Andrew Wommack of Andrew Wommack Ministries.

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