Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Which Wisdom?

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13

σοφία

sophia

wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual):—wisdom.

This word in the Greek can mean either worldly or spiritual wisdom:

  1. wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters
    1. the wisdom which belongs to men
      1. spec. the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs
      2. the science and learning
      3. the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice
      4. the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision
      5. skill in the management of affairs
      6. devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth
      7. the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living
    2. supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God
      1. to Christ
      2. the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world and the scriptures

(In the) meekness: πραΰτηςis, prautēs: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, humility

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on James: The order of things here laid down. Envying is first and excites strife; strife endeavours to excuse itself by vain-glorying and lying; and then hereupon ensue confusion and every evil work. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion, and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such disorders raise many temptations, strengthen temptations, and involve men in a great deal of guilt. One sin begets another, and it cannot be imagined how much mischief is produced: there is every evil work. And is such wisdom as produces these effects to be gloried in? This cannot be without giving the lie to Christianity, and pretending that this wisdom is what it is not.

As I live in this world, I can embody myself (as do others around me) a wisdom that I can call my own, and which, in reality, is not true to God Whom I know wants better for me. He does not want me to think I am better than someone else or think I know more than others. I sin. I am a sinner. That is all there is that!!

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 16:25

I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

The opposite of worldly wisdom is so beautifully described in the following verses of James 3:17 –

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Pure: ἁγνός, hagnos: exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, chaste, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean; spiritual integrity, moral sincerity

Peaceable: εἰρηνικός, eirēnikos: relating to peace, peaceable, pacific, peace loving, bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary, peace promoting

Gentle: ἐπιεικής, epieikēs gentle, moderation, patient; able to be in hard circumstances yet be kind, courteous, patient, having no hatred nor revenge

(Open to) reason: εὐπειθής, eupeithēs: easily obeying, compliant, obedience to God’s standards

(Full of) mercy: ἔλεος, eleos: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them; of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful; of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ; the mercy of Christ, whereby at His return to judgment He will bless true Christians with eternal life; ability to forgive quickly

(Good) fruits: καρπός, karpos: fruit: the fruit of the trees, vines, of the fields; the fruit of one’s loins, i.e. his progeny, his posterity. That which originates or comes from something, an effect, result: work, act, deed; advantage, profit, utility; praises, which are presented to God as a thank offering, to gather fruit (i.e. a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in fig. discourse of those who by their labours have fitted souls to obtain eternal life

Impartial: ἀδιάκριτος, adiakritos: undistinguished, unintelligible; without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty; consistent, unwavering, undivided in commitment

Sincere: ἀνυπόκριτος, anypokritos: undissembled:—without dissimulation (hypocrisy), unfeigned

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:18

Righteousness: δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosynē: in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. In a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.

What I find wonderfully curious is that using spiritual wisdom, wisdom from God, in the world can convict heart and minds and souls, including mine!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Father, Your wonderful Word speaks for itself. I see the difference between the two types of wisdom far more clearly today than when I began. I have barely written any words myself. I pray you use Your Word and the words of Mr. Henry, the definitions from the Bible dictionaries to speak Your Truth to any one reading. I do not boast in myself, but I boast in You, glorify You and love You for all that You are to me for all that You do and will do through me. You teach me daily for which I am ever grateful. May I be bold with mindfulness that I am a tool in Your hands. May I be peaceable and gentle as Your heart is towards me. May I be obedient to You, to Your Truth. May I bear fruit in this world where I sojourn so that others would see the light of Christ in and through me. May these things be so, my Lord. In the Glorious Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Photo of sky/clouds: dimitrisvetsikas1969 (lives on Cyprus)

photo of James 3:14-16 – IMAGE BY JENNY KENT @ PicsArt

James 3:17 photo/graphic: https://www.thefellowshipsite.org/

“Wisdom from Above” photo: cloud photo from Pinterest with added graphics by me

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Words, Words, Words

Oh, how I struggle for words…words to speak my opinion yet would be surrounded by God’s Truth…all in one sentence! Words to share my experience but anger might be added at the way another is treating someone. Words to pummel yet knowing that God would not desire that from me. Words to encourage yet touched by spite. In my mind, I feel like I am on a roller coaster shouting words at the top both praiseworthy and unworthy. And when at the bottom, words to undermine yet filled with words of gentleness. What can I say without compromise? What can I say without speaking both truth and deceit in the same sentence? All of this is in response to others short Facebook or Twitter posts regarding things of this world.

“OF THIS WORLD” is the relevant phrase!

So I am silent.

Until I can speak words of the Holy Spirit and He Alone, I must be silent, for I do not want to fall into things of this world.

I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. John 17:15

Deliver me, O LORD,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.
Psalm 120:2

Sometimes, I want to take someone by the shoulders and shake them until sense is upon them. But who am I to know sense from non-sense? Who am I to tell someone else anything unless…

UNLESS… it is the Word of God, the Truth of Jesus, the Kingdom to come. That is the Truth.

In Christ Alone. So unless I am sharing the Gospel, am encouraging one with the Gospel Truth, am praying for another, am loving another in Christ, silence needs to be my game. Silence must be my story.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
Psalm 139:4

Teach me Your Ways, My LORD.

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;… Ecclesiastes 3:7b

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elementary principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

So if the topic is politics, behaviors/actions, spoken words, beliefs, masks/no masks, etc., that first desire to respond is usually NOT going to come out right. It is like squeezing that toothpaste out of the tube into the letters that spell “WORD.” The words have oozed or flown out to say something that I may regret. And I cannot put that toothpaste back into the tube! It is too late. I do not want regret sitting on my shoulders.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

Forgive me, LORD, for my foolish words. Forgive me when I denigrate You, the One Who has saved me from this world. Why do I so easily fall back into it? Why, oh why? Thank You, Father, for Your love and forgiveness.

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:17-18

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Proverbs 17:28

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs 17: This is generally taken for such a sure indication of wisdom that a fool may gain the reputation of being a wise man if he have but wit enough to hold his tongue, to hear, and see, and say little. If a fool hold his peace, men of candour will think him wise, because nothing appears to the contrary, and because it will be thought that he is making observations on what others say, and gaining experience, and is consulting with himself what he shall say, that he may speak pertinently. See how easy it is to gain men’s good opinion and to impose upon them. But when a fool holds his peace God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound up there; thoughts are words to him, and therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment of men.

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

May I know my times and my places, lifting my voice to praise the LORD.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God,
because He has not rejected my prayer
or removed His steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:16-20). Thank You, my precious LORD. I praise You for holding my tongue, for guiding my steps, for teaching me Your ways, for loving me even when I fail You. In the Holy and Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

“Words” graphic: Oyster English

Photo – Ecclesiastes 3:1,7: BibleInMobile

Toothpaste: https://s234.photobucket.com/user/tammy_61/media/toothpaste.jpg.html

Photo – Pray1 @ https://recruiterpoet.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/pray1.jpg

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

A Relentless God

God loves me no matter what I do or have done or even will do in the future. He loves me so much that He draws me to Him even when I am unfaithful to Him, when I live in this world as though it is my home and He is not!

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10

Israel was, once again, worshiping idols, calling them gods. They were allowing those around them to change the ways in which they worshiped God, slipping in their new moon celebrations and their feasts. The children of God were running away from the covenant with which they made with the God of the universe. And God was not pleased.

“Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not My wife,
and I am not her Husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;

lest I strip her naked
and make her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and make her like a parched land,
and kill her with thirst.
Hosea 2:2-3

Israel’s provision was from God yet they ignored the Provider.

And she did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished on her silver and gold,
which they used for Baal.
Hosea 2:8

Israel turned away from God.

Therefore I will take back My grain in its time,
and My wine in its season, and I will take away My wool and My flax, which were to cover her nakedness.
Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of My hand. Hosea 2:9-10

And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals
when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers
and forgot Me, declares the LORD.
Hosea 2:13

God expresses exasperation with His children, but still loves them. He wants them back, desiring that they honor the covenant He made with them. The God of the universe gently calls His bride back, shielding her from being able to go out and find her lovers – her idols, her gods.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.”
Hosea 2:14

“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call Me ‘My Baal.’ ” Hosea 2:16

God is so merciful, surrounding Israel with His steadfast love, His faithfulness, His justice, His righteousness. He is so wonderful to them…to me.

Even when I stray, do abominations towards Him, He never ceases to love me and allure me back to Himself.

And I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Hosea 2:19-20a

Hosea 2″ – John the Baptist Artworks

God loves His bride so perfectly that He will pursue her until she repents, returns, becomes His bride.

And you shall know the LORD. Hosea 2:20b

Through all my wanderings and prodigal daughter-ness over many years, God knew where I was physically and spiritually. He followed me, protected me, called me to Himself. I came to a place where the brambles and thorns would no longer allow me to return to my idols or pagan gods. Those walls kept me from trying to find the things of this world that so attracted me away from Him. Yes, the world and satan had, and still have, a way of luring me aside, but that call, the beautiful call of God, is so much stronger and sweeter that I would much rather be in His Presence. I would much rather be betrothed to my Husband and Redeemer. It is far more dear to me to know the LORD! Far more dear! Thank You, Jesus.

Hosea 1 – John the Baptist Artworks

Hosea served around the same time that Isaiah served, as seen by looking at verse one, chapter one in each of their books. The kings listed are the same. Hosea’s ministry was to the northern kingdom of Israel while Isaiah’s ministry was to the southern kingdom of Judah…

The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. Hosea 1:1

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Isaiah 1:1

The same perverseness was occurring in both kingdoms. God called them all to Himself.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the LORD has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against Me
. Isaiah 1:2

Later in Isaiah, God continues to call His bride to Himself:

For your Maker is your Husband,
the LORD of hosts is His name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth He is called.
Isaiah 54:5

Thank You, Father, for wanting me back. Thank You for not rejecting me even when I fail You. I know I have disappointed You so many times, just as Israel has done, yet You love us enough to continually call us back under Your wings. I am so grateful. I pray I remain with You for the remainder of my earthly life. I know I will be at Your feet in eternity. Hallelujah, what a Savior! You have rescued me. I am learning more and more about You. I want to know You, Lord. Thank You for allowing me such a privilege. In the Precious Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay; and edited @ Canva –https://www.canva.com/design/DADduguRCtc/jmZDRDUots57UVVlW9AIZQ/edit

“Hosea 2” – used with permission from John the Baptist Artworks @ https://jtbarts.com/gallery/john-the-baptist-artworks-series/hosea-2/

“Hosea 1” – used with permission from John the Baptist Artworks @ https://jtbarts.com/gallery/john-the-baptist-artworks-series/hosea-1/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Dependency

slide14
 “Christianity promises to make men free; it never promises to make them independent.” 
William Ralph Inge


No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”  But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Roman 4:20-25

Abraham was faithful.  He depended upon God, was obedient to Him.  He had a relationship with His God.  His faith was “counted to Him as righteousness.”  I have a relationship with God because I want to be close.

I have worked so much of my life to be independent, having a life I could call my own, but faith in the LORD, being married to Kenneth, talking with one of my sisters each weekend on the phone, are relationships that mean so very much to me and call me to obedience and dependence.  Being dependent is not a bad thing as the world often portrays it.  From the Mosaic Bible’s devotions:  “While relationship doesn’t demand the sacrifice of independence, it offers the gift of meeting our inadequacies.  In such moments of weakness, we realize the strength of dependence.”


I Cannot Do This Alone

 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.
 
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the ways for me….
 
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.
Amen.


I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9


LORD, I need You and You alone.  May the needing of You be joyful and may it be the delight of my heart.  LORD, help me release my need to be self-sufficient so that I may always be God-dependent.  Amen.

BW sig dark blue

picture:  https://jimkane.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/slide14.png

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Hungry? Thirsty?

Hunger-Thirst-No-More-480x340
Jesus said to them, 
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, 
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  
John 6:35

I come to Jesus.

I believe in Jesus. 

So how can I be hungry?  hungry for God?

I have an insatiable appetite for my God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be satisfied.”  
Matthew 5:5hunger-and-thirst-01
So I am blessed as I hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God.
 
I will be satisfied.  I yearn for the Only One Who fills me up to full.

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.  And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.   Deuteronomy 8:1-4

God reminds me of His Ways. 

My heart hungers for the taste of the One Who loves me so. His love is always waiting for me. That insatiable hunger that can never seem to be filled to the brim because I am who I am, this human being.

I hunger for His touch. I want to know He is right here. (He is, Linda. He is with you always…I remind myself.)

I hunger for His very Presence. He tells me He is in my life; He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

I hunger because I look to the world for the fulfillment of that which only God can give me completely.

God has so much more to give to me than I can possibly know.

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.  So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.  Deuteronomy 8:5-6

Only God can quench the hunger and the thirst with His Living Waters, with His Love, with Himself. He calls me to be obedient. He will discipline me. He humbles me. I may be hungry, but He will quench my hunger with Himself. (Only God, Linda.)

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.  Deuteronomy 8:7-9

The LORD my God leads me into abundance of life, of living, as I follow His ways, walk in obedience to His Voice.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”   Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus knew… He knew God’s commandments … the Truth. Jesus’ obedience is sure. His relationship with His Father brought Him through the temptation. I eat the Word. I devour His Truth. I learn of His Ways. I will not hunger nor thirst as I live by the Word.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16

lord-i-hunger-and-thirst

And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Deuteronomy 8:10

I shall not live by bread alone, LORD.  I come to You with a hunger and thirst for You, for only You, knowing that You are my Fulfillment.  Forgive me when I look to the world for that filling.  Forgive me for my disobedience, for my closed eyes and ears.  You have promised to take me into Your Promised Land.  I want to eat from Your abundance, from Your Word.  I want to bless You, my Abba.  AsI thirst and hunger for more, I know You are already filling me because You love me.  And I love You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

beblacksig

God's Word · Pondering

Offer, Yield, Present, Give Myself

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Romans 6:13

… and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  NASB

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  KJV

And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  NKJV

Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.  NLT

Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness.  RSV

Father God, as I come before You this day, I pray that I will yield, present, give, offer myself to You wholly for I am Yours.  I ask that You prepare me for each moment of each day for the rest of my life.  May I be obediently Yours in all that I am and do.  As I learn to yield my life, my heart, my body, my mind, and my soul wholly to You, may I be rich in Your love, spilling over in Your joy, wealthy in You, in You Alone.  You are my All.  You prepare a table before me.  You anoint my head with oil.  My cup truly  overflows.  Oh, Father, You are so generous and loving.  You are so beautiful.  I am so blessed to be Your daughter.  I thank You.  In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

 

photo:  heartlight.org @  http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/2642.html