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

The Wisdom of the Cross

Christ crucified!

The Wisdom of God

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,… 1 Corinthians 1:22

“Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” Deuteronomy 4:6

From the Old Testament, we are able to look at the reasons why the Jews required signs from Jesus. The commandments, statutes, the Law was what they were taught and followed. The Jews expected their Messiah to be a deliverer, a king, a conqueror of all their enemies.

The Greeks were surrounded by philosophers, scientists, teachers who were expounding theories, knowledge, science. Thus the Greeks sought the wisdom of man, worldly wisdom.

from C. H. Spurgeon-A Sermon (No. 132), May 17, 1857: “Now,” says the apostle, “both these objections are untenable and unreasonable. If you suppose that the Jew requires a sign, that sign is given him: Christ is the power of God. The miracles that Christ wrought upon earth were signs more than sufficiently abundant; and if the Jewish people had but the will to believe, they would have found abundant signs and reasons for believing in the personal acts of Christ and his apostles.” And let the Greeks say, “I can not believe, because I require a wise system: O Greek, Christ is the wisdom of God. If thou wouldst but investigate the subject, thou wouldst find in it profoundness of wisdom-a depth where the most gigantic intellect might be drowned. It is no shallow gospel, but a deep, and a great deep too, a deep which passeth understanding. Thine objection is ill-founded; for Christ is the wisdom of God, and his gospel is the highest of all sciences. If thou wishest to find wisdom, thou must find it in the word of revelation.”

Both groups could not see past a man who was dressed in a simple robe, sandals, walked everywhere, died a criminal’s death, carried His own cross much of the way. He looked weak. He did not look, speak, or act like the person of God that they thought He should be. Thus they wrote Him off as a nobody, certainly not their Messiah.

…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24

…and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2b-3

Consider the apostles who were preaching the Gospel, teaching Christ, the Cross….fishermen, dressed as Jesus, simple, probably dirty. They were hard to believe by those who considered themselves better than these men.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:17-21

And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
Isaiah 29:13-14

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians: Ministers should consider themselves sent and set apart more especially to that service in which Christ will be most honoured and the salvation of souls promoted, and for which they are best fitted, though no part of their duty is to be neglected. The principal business Paul did among them was to preach the gospel, the cross, Christ crucified. Ministers are the soldiers of Christ, and are to erect and display the banner of the cross. He did not preach his own fancy, but the gospel-the glad tidings of peace, and reconciliation to God, through the mediation of a crucified Redeemer. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our joys. By his death we live. This is what Paul preached, what all ministers should preach, and what all the saints live upon.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

The wisdom of the cross is Christ, Christ crucified, died, buried, resurrected. The wisdom of the cross is God’s unveiling of the strength and wisdom of Christ. My sin is forgiven; my foolishness becomes wise in Christ; my filthy rags become clean by the Blood of Christ. I am redeemed, justified, and sanctified (growing in holiness) in Christ Alone. I come to the Cross in humility.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians: To those who are called and saved he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God. Those who are called and sanctified, who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, discern more glorious discoveries of God’s wisdom and power in the doctrine of Christ crucified than in all his other works. Note, Those who are saved are reconciled to the doctrine of the cross,and led into an experimental acquaintance with the mysteries of Christ crucified.

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

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

Father, I ask for Your guidance and covering upon me as I learn how to walk in the shadow of this glorious and horrific cross. It is both, yet the One Who died upon it rose again and lives for me, for all those He has called unto Himself. I stand before You, Lord, asking for boldness and humbleness in order to preach the Gospel, Christ crucified. I do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone so please help me walk in this world as Your sheep, as Your disciple, as Yours. May the wisdom of the Cross be clearly relevant today. Soften the hardened hearts and open the eyes of those hearts…that they would see You for the Beauty and Holiness that You are. May those opened eyes see the wisdom of the Cross. In the Name of my crucified Christ, I pray. Amen.

Photo of cross: Cross-on-Hill

from C. H. Spurgeon: A Sermon (No. 132) Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 17, 1857, by the REV. C.H. SPURGEON at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens. “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”– 1Cr 1:24

“The Wisdom of the Cross” Photo with 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 @ CrossMap

1 Corinthians 1:20 photo/graphics @ Knowing-Jesus.com

God Doesn’t Call the Qualified“: Pinterest

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians

“Boast in the Lord” photos/graphics: Pursuing Holiness

Christ is Wisdom; Wisdom is Christ

The Book of Proverbs a book of wisdom. Proverbs 8 is where I have landed this week. What is wisdom? Wisdom is that which we are to learn from it:

knowledge

discretion

prudence

sense

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
and I find knowledge and discretion.”
Proverbs 8:12

O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.
Proverbs 8:5

instruction

knowledge

Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. Proverbs 8:10-11

counsel

sound wisdom

insight

strength

I have counsel and sound wisdom;
I have insight; I have strength.
Proverbs 8:14

noble things

what is right

truth

Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
Proverbs 8:6-7

righteousness

understanding

All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Proverbs 8:8-9

what is just

the way of righteousness

By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. Proverbs 8:15-16

I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, granting an inheritance to those who love me,
and filling their treasuries.
Proverbs 8:20-21

So, why does wisdom seem such a far reach for me at times? Well, much of the time! It seems easier just to walk as the world walks which may include being wise, yet it is usually a worldly wisdom. But that is not my goal. I do not want to be as the world. I want to be as Christ. These verses (along with the entire Book of Proverbs) teach us what wisdom can teach us as well as what we might be learning from this world (thus should be walking away from).

The deep truth of this wisdom from God is that Christ is Wisdom.

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

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
Is 11:2

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs: “Wisdom here is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; it is Christ in the word and Christ in the heart, not only Christ revealed to us, but Christ revealed in us. It is the word of God, the whole compass of divine revelation; it is God the Word, in whom all divine revelation centres; it is the soul formed by the word; it is Christ formed in the soul; it is religion in the purity and power of it. Glorious things are here spoken of this excellent person, this excellent thing.”

The last half of Proverbs 8 tells all about Christ and wisdom:

22  “The LORD possessed (fathered/created) me at the beginning of His work, the first of His acts of old.

23  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

24  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

25  Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, 26 before He had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.

2 When He established the heavens, I was there; when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 when He made firm the skies above, when He established the fountains of the deep, 29 when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, 30  then I was beside Him, like a master workman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, 31  rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

32  “And now, O sons, listen to Me: blessed are those who keep My ways.

33  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.

34  Blessed is the one who listens to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting beside My doors.

35  For whoever finds Me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, 36  but he who fails to find Me injures himself; all who hate Me love death.” Proverbs 8:22-36

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18

that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

Growing to know Christ better through reading His Word, the lessons taught by Wisdom show me the character traits of Jesus the Christ. They are of the One Whom I worship and adore. They are Him!

Lord, I pray that my mind and heart be open to You and the lessons which You desire to teach me. I want to know You better. I want to grow to be more like You while at the same time, this ‘Linda’ wants to diminish while You increase. I desire that Your character traits become such a part of me that when others look at me, they see You. I pray for the wisdom of the You, Lord. May Your Holy Spirit show me, grow me, guide me, guard me. Thank You for loving me, Lord. Thank You for drawing me to You as You teach me all about Yourself. I love You, Lord. In Your precious Holy Name I pray. Amen.

Sunrise Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/561331541039235369/

Open Bible: https://wallpapertag.com/wallpaper/full/8/e/d/156009-full-size-open-bible-background-2266×1509

Christ: The Power of God, The Wisdom of God: https://whyjesusnow.com

Matthew Henry’s quote: Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Proverbs

If…Then

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

THEN…I will understand. I will understand the fear of the LORD, holding Him in respect, kneeling before Him in awe.

בִּין

biyn

to separate mentally (or distinguish), i.e.(generally) understand:—attend, consider, be cunning, diligently, direct, discern, eloquent, feel, inform, instruct, have intelligence, know, look well to, mark, perceive, be prudent, regard, (can) skill(-full), teach, think, (cause, make to, get, give, have) understand(-ing), view, (deal) wise(-ly, man).

And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. 1 Samuel 3:8

He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper. 2 Chronicles 26:5

But it is the spirit in man,
the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
Job 32:8

THEN…I will find His knowledge.

מָצָא

matsa’

properly, to come forth to, i.e. appear or exist; transitively, to attain, i.e. find or acquire; figuratively, to occur, meet or be present:— be able, befall, being, catch, × certainly, (cause to) come (on, to, to hand), deliver, be enough (cause to) find(-ing, occasion, out), get (hold upon), ×have (here), be here, hit, be left, light (up-) on, meet (with), × occasion serve, (be) present, ready, speed, suffice, take hold on.

And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Genesis 41:38

And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 1 Samuel 1:18

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
Psalm 84:3

Before finding and understanding, there must be obedience to the One Who gives these things. I must seek and search. I must ask. I must treasure that which I am given. IF I will do these things…THEN…

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints. Proverbs 2:6-8

The LORD gives that wisdom I need in order to walk worthy of Him. He watches over me. He pours into me all that I need in order to grow more Christlike when I focus my eyes upon Him, seeking His face. His wisdom, His understanding are mine should I seek to find them.

Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil,… Proverbs 2:9-12

Hallelujah!

God, Your promises are found everywhere in Your Word. You tell me I can find the Truth, the wisdom, the knowledge. You tell me I can also understand these deep things of You. Only by Your Spirit, Who lives in me, can these things be found. I am so grateful to You for loving me so…You allow me to find and understand wisdom and knowledge so that I may walk worthy, holy, and Christlike…more and more with each passing day. I have been filled with gratitude this Thanksgiving of 2020, even in the midst of a pandemic, a country of physically hungry people due to economic instability because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many hungry for You, although most do not even know that fact. Your gifts are immeasurable even still. You have brought a sister-in-Christ through surgery for cancer. You have provided meals to thousands via food banks and pantries across this country. You have brought the ability for some to be able to see family members, through windows, Zoom calls, phones that allow video-chats who needed to physically see one another. LORD, You are King of all. And more than that, You are my King of kings, my LORD of lords, my God of all, in all, through all. From a heart filled with gratitude and grace, I thank you. Your mercy is new every morning. Praying in the Name of my Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Proverbs 2:4-5 – https://www.donnalcampbell.com/scripture-of-the-day-memes/proverbs-24-5

Pitcher/Water Pouring – https://www.graceplacewellness.org/spiritual-vitality-for-the-long-haul/

The Holy Spirit in Me

06798da585100dd496568bb2288747d9

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:1-4 ESV

Oh, LORD, Your Holy Spirit rained on me in Your mighty rushing wind the day I told You I was a sinner…I asked for forgiveness…I wanted Jesus to be my LORD and Savior.  The language I am learning is Your language, LORD,  Your Words.   I know that I hear Your still, small voice.  I have ears to hear the beauty of Your words.  I have eyes to see the words in Your Word and I am able to understand them, little by little.  Your Spirit teaches me.  My heart pounds with thrill at this moment.  You fill me.  I am that house, Your body temple.  You came to live in me.  Thank You.   

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. Acts 2:17

4113466

Oh, Holy Spirit, You are the living rain pouring out upon me.  You drench me in Your wisdom and knowledge.  You give me what I need at the moment of that need, IF I am ready, willing, and asking for it.  May I seek Your forgiveness, Your comfort, Your love…in all times.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21

Amen.  Everyone.  I pray they call upon You as I have.  

(For David says concerning him,…) “You have made known to me the paths of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your Presence.” Acts 2:28 

Years before Jesus, David was a man after God’s own heart.  He wanted to be in step with his Father God.  He loved His Father.  He sought forgiveness when he sinned.  He knew he had done wrong in the sight of His God.  He listened.  He delighted in the LORD.  Pentecost is about rejoicing and dancing under the beauty of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Pentecost opens us to newness and community.  Pentecost is change and repentance.  

May my heart be open and ready every day.  

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Acts 2:36-37

LORD, my heart is repelled from these thoughts.  I am one of them.  I feel their agony and know their wrong.  I refused to accept Jesus as my LORD for many years.  I asked, “What shall I do?”

 “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”  …“Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”   Acts 2:38-40

Yes, Yes…to repent and be baptized in Your Name, O Christ, for I seek forgiveness of my sins.  I seek You.  I live in a crooked generation.  I am thankful that You saved me, LORD.  I praise You.  The Holy Spirit has led me away and is teaching me and showing me the way.

 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.   Zechariah 4:6

1a39a61325529a4c5017dcff1538127b
“…but by My Spirit.”  Yes!  May I trust in You always, LORD.  You guide and love and plan and know the ways in which I should go.  My delight is not in the way I say or I run ahead, nor is it by my strength and power.  I want to trust.  Your Spirit will take me through the wilderness of life, the troubles and trials, the joys and the beauty of Your creation.  May I know Your Spirit deeply. 

And
 they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to 
the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  Acts:2:42-43

...with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.  Acts 2:46-47

 a102c9963ece2b6e0a7cdc7d2e6624fb


LORD, the words that are being ingrained into my heart from these verses are
“devoted” in community.  It is the fellowship of believers that You call us to.  Guide me.  Instruct me.  “Awe” – reverence in looking at Who You are and what You have done.  May no act of mine be none other than the Yours, the Glory of my LORD.  A “glad” heart, a “generous” heart “praising”
God that His Spirit reigns within us–what a beautiful and full array of outcomes of Pentecost.  We serve a Mighty God. 

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  1 Corinthians 12:7

May my every day be to seek You and know You.  May my every day be a day of Pentecost…the mighty rushing wind fills me to overflowing with the peace of Your Kingdom.  May I know the words to speak in each circumstance as You set before me one who needs You,  one who needs forgiveness, one who needs love, a refuge, peace.  Father, guide me and equip me.  In Your Name, I pray.  Amen.

bwturq sig 

 

Rushing wind:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/06/79/8d/06798da585100dd496568bb2288747d9.jpg

Fire:   https://simonmarsh.org/tag/pentecost

Water:  http://naomirice.weebly.com/uploads/6/9/7/9/69791709/4113466.png

Dove:  http://lovepeaceandharmony.org/

Read

Revelation-1-3a

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.  Revelation 1:3

ἀναγινώσκω

anaginōskō

  •  to distinguish between, to recognize, to know accurately, to acknowledge…hence…
    • to read

As a school teacher, children’s librarian, and now a private tutor for primary school-aged children, I teach reading among a few other subjects.  Reading is my favorite because once a child grasps the ability to read, to sound out words, to put words into sentences and paragraphs, they begin to see those black marks on pages with a new perspective.  It is such a pleasure to watch and is a joyous moment for these little ones.

Reading is made up of learning phonics, memorizing sight words, or reading all by sight rather than phonetically.  It also is realizing that some/many words in the English language just do not make sense because they break the “rules.”  I called them ‘outlaw words’ when I taught school; actually, I still do.  The schools around here call them ‘rule breakers’…same thing.  With a paper jail placed up on the bulletin board of the classroom, those words are put in jail and whenever a child has a hard time sounding a word out, I tell them that it is an ‘outlaw word.’  They immediately look to the jail and know the word.  Funny how those little tricks work!  Reading also includes comprehension, grammar, and so much more.

In the verse above, ‘to read’ goes deeper than learning to read.  As we read God’s Word, spending time in His Word to us requires a relationship with the One Who wrote these words.  We may hear far more than a simple reading might divulge.  We may receive insight and knowledge of just what God means, what He is wanting to say to us, what God expects of us.  There is so much buried in this beautiful Treasure.  The Bible is a jewel that we have been given to read, to dive into, delve, explore, search, dwell upon, mull over, reflect upon.

There is so much to learn in God’s Word.

When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,….  Ephesian 3:4

LORD, I love Your Word.  I can read it, but I pray that I will understand just what You intend for me to learn.  I want to grow and gain in wisdom, in integrity, in genuineness, and in love as I listen to You through Your Word and through the Holy Spirit.  May words that seem foreign to me not be outlaw words for You make them clear to me.  As I read Your Word, I ask Your Holy Spirit to guide and direct me so that the words coming from me are sincere and loving toward all I encounter.  I want to reflect Jesus to others, and that will come by knowing You, LORD.  

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

I pray in the solid Name of Jesus.  Amen.

bwturq sig

Children Are a Heritage From the Lord

backtoschool2School starts around here on Monday, August 24th.  Signs along the streets near schools or over the highways remind us that children are back in school, to drive safely.  Flashing lights warn us to slow down to 20 miles per hour because we are in a school zone.  Children are crossing streets under a school guard’s care.  The signs and signals warn us of the caution we should be taking as we near schools in our neighborhoods…young lives are at risk.

But does anything warn us of the ways of the world entering into the minds of our children whether at school, in front of the television or the internet, in the park, or even in the home?

“I believe that at birth, all children bear the stamp of their Creator.  Their purity and innocence is a great gift.  Once it has been lost, it cannot be replaced.  All the more, it must be guarded as a treasure which no one has a right to destroy.”   ** Johann Christoph Arnold, p. 133

“If we are going to protect innocence in a child, we need to cleanse our own hearts of pollution.  Our response upon encountering a child must be nothing less than reverence.  Perhaps because the word sounds old-fashioned, its true meaning has been blurred.  Reverence is more than just love.  It includes an appreciation for the qualities children possess (and which we ourselves have lost), a readiness to rediscover their value, and the humility to learn from them.  Reverence is also an attitude of deep respect….”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 133-134

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:1-6

Children are beautiful creations and we need to protect them.  We need to teach them God’s values and what is important to Him.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10-11

“For whatever else might define childhood, one thing is constant: it is the gathering place of life’s first and most indelible memories — the unalterable frame for all the experiences that accompany us through life.  And thus, in the end, the task of bringing up children is not only a question of effective parenting, and even less one of educational insights, theories, or ideals.  It is, first and foremost, a matter of the love we give them, which has power to awaken more of the same, even years down the road.”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 161

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:1-3

Let us pray for our children and their teachers.  I am not a parent, but I taught and now I tutor.  I want to be the image of Christ in their little lives, as well as to their parents.  I want to do the right thing for and with these children.

Father God, our children are returning to school.  I pray for their safety, their protection by your legions of angels.  I pray for a loving, respectful teacher to guide them in the matters of learning.  I pray that the parents, grandparents, foster parents, be an example of Your Son to these children.  They need You more than anything this world can offer.  They need Your salvation as they raise these young ones.  May they each and every one come to know Your Son as Lord and Savior.  Father, please give the parents the wisdom to raise their children in Your Name, by Your Word.  Teach them what they need in order to raise their children.  Open their eyes to You, Lord.  By this, they can truly raise their children in the Name of Jesus.  Oh, how I want that because I want that for the innocent ones.  Children are precious in Your sight.  Save them from this evil world, Father.  I thank You that You have a plan for them and love them dearly.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

bwturq sig

** Arnold, Johann Christoph, Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World, 2014, Plough Publishing House, New York
9780874866308_p0_v3_s192x300

P.S.  This book is excellent and will be doing a book review on it soon on my “The Reader and The Book” blog.

backtoschool

I Found Him — When Someone You Know Dies from Suicide…and You Are the One Who Finds Them (Part 2)

SONY DSCWhen you are the one who has lost someone to suicide, whether you had been the one to find them or not, the emotions are huge.  The memories haunt.  The loss is beyond what you could have imagined. If you found someone dead, the images are etched in your mind. They are painful. I am sorry. I understand because I know. Take time to let all of this roll around and be processed. For many, if not most, in this situation, getting counseling is so very important. Going as often as you need to go is really quite okay.

If your mind is filled with the image of suicide, get sweet pictures of this person and look upon them. Place them around the house…around you. Think about him or her when they were alive. Remember things you did together, words shared, special moments. Fill your mind with those images. Talk about his or her life with others who care about you. Celebrating his or her life will help tremendously to change what is imprinted upon your mind from that day. These are ways to work through the pain and begin to replace the images of finding one with happy images. This is not a process that is over in a year or even five. It seems to be ongoing but is less and less over the years. God wants your mind and heart filled with Him.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Remember:

  •     You may feel strong anger. That, too, is normal.
  •     You probably feel numb and have difficulty concentrating. Again that is normal.
  •     Be gentle with yourself.
  •     Give yourself time.  Please take care of yourself, and take your healing one step at a time.
  •     And remember that you are a special person.

I journaled in order to express how I felt.  I wondered often what I could have done to prevent this suicide.  I read books on suicide and found that I probably could not have prevented it and should not blame myself, nor feel guilty.

Other things I have found that helped me along this unbeaten path were:

  •    Understand that everyone grieves differently.  You may read about “the stages of grief,” but each person goes through them in their own way.  Your way is the best way for you.
  •    You may deny what happened. Understand that almost everyone does that. It is a normal part of the healing process that you are going through.
  •    Also, unfortunately, there still is a stigma that exists around suicide. Most people do not understand what you are going through. Their words may blame you or are harsh about the one who is dead now. It does not seem fair nor make sense to those left behind.  But stigmas with the word “suicide” do exist.
  •    And please keep in mind that you can decide not to answer any questions that others may ask you. If someone wants to know how your loved one died, you can say that you do not want to talk about it. It is up to you.  No explanation is necessary.  Some people may even ask, “Why did he do that?”  “What could you have done?”…questions that you do not need nor can you even answer.  Giving those questions no answer, or “I don’t know,” or “Please do not ask me this,” may be your best way to handle the insensitivity.
  •    Yes, people can be insensitive. People can be rude. People can be intrusive.  You decide who you want to talk to, when you want to talk to them, for how long you want to talk to them, and about what.

Through Jim’s art, I met the wonderful man to whom I am married to…22 years now.  I had a display of Jim’s paintings scheduled to be on our main library’s mezzanine.  Ken was the Art Center’s volunteer to hang those displays.  We met and that is a whole story unto itself, but God worked through tragedy, bringing beauty from the ashes.

“To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61: 3

Amidst the grief, Kenneth and his dear mother introduced me to Jesus.  I read the Bible, studying it as voraciously as I could.  I talked to Kenneth about suicide and Jim.  He spoke and read verses to me…God’s Truth.  He placed me in the hands of Jesus to teach me all He could to help me know that Jesus is the answer.  I called upon the Name of the LORD and He answered me.  He guided me.  He holds my heart when I think about Jim.  I am sorry he did what he did and that he went through pure and certain agony to reach that place.  But Jesus gave me new life and continuously affirms the beauty of our relationship.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

He wants me whole as I grow to be more and more like Him.  He wants that whole Linda to become holy as He is Holy.

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

Father, You have saved me from myself and given me a new self in rebirth.  Father, if one is reading this post and has been through the loss of someone they have loved or cared about through the act of a suicide, I pray that Your tender mercies rain upon them and come to reign in their hearts.  I pray that You hold them near.  If they do not know Jesus as their LORD and Savior, I pray that they will seek Your face. Father God, may we each and all know that Your care for us is steadfast.  You hide us in the cleft of the Rock, protecting us, providing for us, and comforting us. Should there be one reading this post who has thought about suicide, I pray for Your saving grace to rain upon them and reign in their hearts.  I pray that they look to You, Jesus, focusing their eyes upon You for You will not lead them astray.  Only satan would do that.  May they rest on Bible verses that touch their hearts. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 … Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time?  Ecclesiastes 7:17   May Your Word stand strong before them and fill them with Your Truth.  May we trust in You and only You.  In the Strong Name of Jesus, I lift these precious sisters and brothers to You as well as myself.  You are the Holy One. Amen.

Resource: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-survivors-forum.html

 

 

beblacksig

I Found Him — When Someone You Know Dies from Suicide…and You Are the One Who Finds Them (Part 1)

SONY DSCI write this from the perspective of the one who found a dear friend after he had killed himself…suicide.

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.  Psalm 13:2-4

This man, Jim, was 46 and decided that life had no meaning any longer, I presume. I will never really know…just a heart-felt and honest guess.  He was an artist, but had a hard time making a living from his beautiful airbrushed paintings. He was a machinist by trade.  He had some tough relationships over his all-too-short life.  He had been sober for almost 8 years, had quit smoking for 2 years.  He came from a family of drinking. His mother died of cancer. His only sibling was a brother who chose to separate himself from my friend as well as his parents because he had chosen not to drink.

As a friend, I cared about Jim like a sister would care about her only brother.  We were both searching for Jesus at the time we met.  We did not know that, but we were.  We searched in many-a-dark corner, but continued looking.  I never knew him during his drinking years so my perspective is a bit skewed from others who knew him earlier in his life.  As an artist, a weaver, myself, we began doing shows together to try to make a living being artists when I moved into this same city.  Neither one of us made enough to pay for doing what we loved, but we tried for a while.

I finally found full-time work for I needed a steady income.  Jim continued to paint and even went to New Mexico for six months to gain a different perspective while continuing to paint.  Eventually, he moved back here and then had a hard time finding a machinist job.  Things were not going as he had hoped.

I came home from work one day and found an envelope in the mail slot of my door.  It was from Jim.  He had placed his car title, some cash, and a short note of some silly words that meant something to only me, words we had shared. My heart sank, although I could not really know by the note what I was about to face, and yet, I had an idea. I quickly got in the car and raced over to his house. I let myself in only to find the same note there on the table by the door, along with a note to emergency staff should they have found him before I did. I knew now. I tiptoed through the house until I found him. He had killed himself in a manner that did not leave blood and gore for me to find, but he still killed himself. I still found him. That was 23 years ago. As I type this, it seems like yesterday.

Earlier, I said that Jim and I were searching for Jesus. I never knew if he found Him, but he had a Bible with some verses in the New Testament underlined. He had been reading. He had been looking and, hopefully, had found the One and Only LORD and Savior. I will know him in Heaven should he be there. I pray so.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Suicide is a terrible thing. Having never been around it up close and personal, I could not have imagined that I would have to deal with one in such a way: police interrogation of me to make sure that I had not killed him (which was such an awful experience and is a vivid memory, even today), neighbors wanting to know why all the police, ambulances, and medical examiner were at the house for over two hours, the remnants of his life in a house that I would inherit because he made a will and left his world to me. I had very few other contacts here except through work, so with friends caring about me from afar, the phone calls were long and tear-filled.

There was so much…so very much to deal with, to handle.

I returned to work and took comfort in the busy-ness of that. I sought counsel through a “suicide-survivor group.” I attended only a few times as I just did not seem to need to tell the same story each week to any newcomer. There were people there who had lost a loved one fifteen and twenty years prior. I knew they were there for their own reasons, but I needed the tender love and comfort from my mother, my sisters and friends in other states, and so it was hard being in one state when my comfort was elsewhere. Within a short time, a cousin came from Chicago and stayed for a few days. Then, my dear mother came and stayed for about three or four weeks to help me clean and ready the house so that I could move in within a few weeks. My mother was the best person for me at that time. I needed people I loved and trusted.

Surround yourself with people who understand. Who care. Who are sensitive. And who will support you. Reach out to those people. Never feel like you are a burden to them because you are not.

My boss loaned me the money for the cremation. She honored me by asking if she could help financially in any way. I had no savings and Jim left me what little he had which was not enough to bury him.

When you are the one who has lost someone to suicide, whether you had been the one to find them or not, the emotions are huge.  The memories haunt.  The loss is beyond what you could have imagined.

Please join me for Part 2 to read how I began to heal from this experience, how Jesus met me in my pain, and for some practical advice on how you can recover from a trauma such as this one.

Part 2 will be posted Friday, 8/14/2015.

 

 

beblacksig

Photo: Sony:DSC

Wisdom From Above

picture_james_3.17

James 3:17

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  NKJV

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  NIV

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

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.  NASB

God, the wisdom that we need is only from You.  It is not the wisdom of man nor the world.  You gladly give us this gift, if we would only ask.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)  And, the treasures that describe Your wisdom, LORD…

pure:  μέν – me’n =  truly, certainly, surely, indeed; “…free from iniquity, studious of holiness both in heart and life.” (M. Henry)

peaceable: εἰρηνικός – eirēnikos = bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary; peace depends upon purity.  ” Those who are truly wise do what they can to preserve peace, that it may not be broken; and to make peace, that where it is lost it may be restored. In kingdoms, in families, in churches, in all societies, and in all interviews and transactions, heavenly wisdom makes men peaceable.”  (M. Henry)

gentle: ἐπιεικής – epieikēs = equitable, fair, mild, gentle, seeming, suitable.  “It is gentle, not standing upon extreme right in matters of property; not saying nor doing any thing rigorous in points of censure; not being furious about opinions, urging our own beyond their weight nor theirs who oppose us beyond their intention; not being rude and overbearing in conversation, nor harsh and cruel in temper. Gentleness may thus be opposed to all these.”  (M. Henry)

Father, I feel compassion in what Mr. Henry says here as it is the need to control, to be right, to act high and mighty that brings us down.  Help me to use Your wisdom when I talk to others. 

easy to be entreated: εὐπειθήςeupeithēs = easily obeying, compliant.  “…it is very persuadable, either to what is good or from what is evil.”  (M. Henry)

full of mercy: ἔλεοςeleos =  mercy: 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.

good fruits: καρπόςkarpos =  that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result/work,act, deed.

Heavenly wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits, inwardly disposed to every thing that is kind and good, both to relieve those who want and to forgive those who offend, and actually to do this whenever proper occasions offer.”  (M. Henry)

without partiality: ἀδιάκριτοςadiakritos = without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty. The original word, adiakritos, signifies to be without suspicion, or free from judging, making no undue surmises nor differences in our conduct towards one person more than another. The margin reads it, without wrangling, not acting the part of sectaries, and disputing merely for the sake of a party; nor censuring others purely on account of their differing from us. The wisest men are least apt to be censurers.”  (M. Henry)

without hypocrisy: ἀνυπόκριτος  – anypokritos = unfeigned, undisguised, sincere. It has no disguises nor deceits. It cannot fall in with those managements which the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere and open, steady and uniform, and consistent with itself.”  (M. Henry)

Father God, You will gladly give us this precious gift and when You do, may we use it as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:12: For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

I pray that my mind and heart would stay close and tender towards Your teaching as I learn Your ways, O LORD. 

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

“And that which is sown in peace will produce a harvest of joys. Let others reap the fruits of contentions, and all the advantages they can propose to themselves by them; but let us go on peaceably to sow the seeds of righteousness, and we may depend upon it our labour will not be lost.  For light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart; and the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”  (M. Henry)

Father, I pray that I would be still and ask for Your wisdom.  That I would allow Your Holy Spirit to bathe me in it and walk this world with the strength of Your wisdom in me through Your Holy Spirit.  May I be quiet and assured because I am close to You.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

beblacksig

Photo:  The Fellowship Site