Wisdom is not silent

Photo courtesy of ddpavumba
If you google wisdom, you can find some tiny drops of wisdom, but mostly it is just hot air. For instance, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” That saying rings all kinds of warning bells in my head. Of course, I get the implication. Forge your own way and forget about following where others have trod. God points out an instance where that advice is perfect wisdom. 

In Deuteronomy 12:13 God warns not to follow behind those that have been destroyed before the Israelites. The wise person would recognize the consequences of following the path of those destroyed...you would think. The Israelites avoided that trap for as long as Joshua lived, but the children forgot the admonition soon after those died who had crossed the Jordan River, and had fought hard for their inheritance. God was adamant the people were to, “... follow My rules and keep My statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18:4).  He calls that wisdom in Deuteronomy 4:6.

Forging your own path takes huge amounts of energy and the sixth sense of good direction; otherwise you might find yourself on the edge of a cliff. God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, yet Solomon still married 300 women and had 700 concubines. Ask any man today about that many wives and he would probably say that certainly looks like a cliff of Grand Canyon magnitude.

Innovation thrives on the path that others have trod. Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. We see the truth of this when we turn the pages of history to observe history repeated again and again. But, humans build upon each others’ genius and that is innovation. Humans learn from each other’s wisdom. As Tim Challies notes in his book, we are created in the Creator’s image He commanded mankind to develop the world’s assets with the capabilities given to humankind to bring Him glory. “In other words, obedience to God requires we create technology”.[1]
 God emphasized to the Israelites that in following Him, the surrounding nations would recognize Israel as a great nation, wise and understanding (Deut. 4:6). It is an astounding thing how people marvel at wisdom. The Queen of Sheba traveled more than a thousand miles to see the famed wisdom of Solomon who said in Proverbs 8:1 that wisdom cries out and is not silent. Matthew Henry notes that there are “clamours of conscience as well as whispers.”[2] Everything will come into the light sooner or later, but wisdom is already in the light. In fact, it is an aspect of God. 

Wisdom was with God when He hung the world in place, and with Him when He flung the stars to the far reaches of Heaven. Proverbs 3:19 Jehovah has founded the earth by wisdom; by understanding He has founded the heavens. Isaiah 11:2 And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. Because it is an aspect of God, we the created have the ability for it. Solomon is eloquent in Proverbs discussing the differences between the wise man and the foolish. Wisdom should come with age, but it does not always. 

David knew fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all practicing them have good understanding ( Psalm 111:10). As we walk through scripture to get a broad view of wisdom, we see that understanding is usually alongside it. They are like two legs that support righteousness, and they dwell in the heart as well as the head. 

Wisdom comes with confession of sin, which David realized after he confessed his sin with Bathsheba. Psalm 51:6 Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart. One cannot have wisdom without being right with God. Solomon declared There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against Jehovah (Prov. 21:30). Therefore the best wisdom is that from God. James tells us it is unpolluted, and peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (James 3:17). This sounds very much like the Fruit of the Spirit, which it is. Remember Isaiah 11:2. 

Of course we can get along without wisdom, but why do that? All we have to do is ask for it. Stephen illustrates why we need wisdom so desperately here in this world: And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. (Acts 6:10) It was by wisdom and understanding that God was glorified to the surrounding nations of Israel. Though eons have passed, our job as Christians who bear His name is to bring God glory.

[1] Tim Challies, The next story: Life and faith after the digital explosion (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), p. 23.

[2] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Retrieved from http://classic.studylight.org/com/mhc-com/view.cgi?book=pr&chapter=008

Ted Cruz comments...

In an address at a pastor's convention in Iowa, Ted Cruz shed some light on what is going on against Christians in our military...

From reprimanding a pro-marriage Guardsman to censoring chaplain's essays, "We are seeing our liberties threatened on every front," warned Senator Cruz. "We've seen reports from the military of men and women in the military being told if you share your faith, if you tell someone the love of Jesus Christ you face court martial," said a frustrated Cruz. "The military has no business whatsoever telling the men and women of the military not to share their faith. We are a nation that was founded by people fleeing religious oppression and coming to a new land where each of us would seek out God Almighty with all of our hearts, our minds and our souls. And the idea that this administration thinks that they can muzzle those brave men and women who step forward to defend us is exactly backwards."
 This is probably one of the worst things that the Obama administration has instigated. The old saying that you meet Jesus in a fox hole has so much merit. I do believe that we are going in the wrong direction here. How can anyone regulate your heart and mind? Well, it is happening.

Remember that passage in John about how the people believed Jesus, and even some of the religious leaders believed Jesus but never confessed Jesus because they were afraid of being ex-communicated from the synagogue? They liked the praise of men more than the praise of God. I think if any military personnel is court martialed for sharing Jesus, the fur will fly. But that may be what it takes to wake up the Christians in America.

Poverty of values

I know there are thousands of people who remember Dan Quayle as vice president, and most remember him for misspelling potato. However, there is a quote from one of the best speeches I have ever heard that bear repeating 21 years later:
But too many people feel they have no hope and nothing to lose.
Photo from Wikipedia-public domain
This poverty is, again, fundamentally a poverty of values.
Mr. Quayle was talking about inner city families without fathers, and those who live in poverty-stricken areas in urban America. Here is what he said before the quote above:
Our inner cities are filled with children having children, with people who have not been able to take advantage of educational opportunities, with people who are dependent on drugs or the narcotic of welfare. To be sure, many people in the ghetto struggle very hard against these tides and sometimes win. 
This is still true today. We haven't come very far have we? This is also true of rural areas, and those places where drug addiction and alcohol addiction prevail over church going and leaning on Jesus. One might ask, "Where are the Christians? What are they doing about all this?"

Is the problem too big? Are there not enough Christians -- those true believers who are the Church in hearts and minds -- to go into the world to offer helping hands?

In fact, Mr. Quayle voiced something that social psychologists are only now realizing. "When family fails, society fails." I believe this comes from the "Me" society norms, and the feel-good mentality that rose out of the turbulent 60s and 70s. He mentions this, too, and I heartily agree with him.

This speech that I am quoting from is called "The Murphy Brown Speech." Do you remember that one? It caused quite a stir among the liberal media. He said it was because it isn't fashionable or popular to talk about it. Here is that section about Murphy Brown.
Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong. Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong and we must be unequivocal about this. It doesn’t help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice. I know it’s not fashionable to talk about moral values, but we need to do it! Even though our cultural leaders in Hollywood, network TV and the national newspapers routinely jeer at them, I think most of us in this room know that some things are good and other things are wrong. And now, it’s time to make the discussion public. It’s time to talk again about the family, hard work, integrity and personal responsibility. We cannot be embarrassed out of our belief that two parents married to each other are better, in most cases, for children than one. That honest work is better than handouts or crime. That we are our brother’s keepers. That is worth making an effort, even when the rewards aren’t immediate.

So, I think the time has come to renew our public commitment to our Judeo-Christian values in our churches and synagogues, our civic organizations and our schools. We are, as our children recite each morning, one nation under God.
We were publicly reminded about this two decades ago, but somehow nothing has changed. How sad.

Ch...Ch... Changes

Do you know how many stressed--out mothers it takes to change a light bulb?

One. ONE!!   And do you know WHY it only takes ONE? Because no one else in this house knows how to change a light bulb. They don't even know the bulb is burned out. They would sit in this house in the dark for three days before they figured it out. And once they figured it out they wouldn't be able to find the light bulbs despite the fact that they've been in the same cabinet for the past 17 years. But if they did, by some miracle, find the light bulbs, two days later, the chair that they dragged from two rooms over to stand on to change the stupid light bulb would still be in the same spot! AND underneath it would be the crumpled light bulb package. WHY???   Because no one in this house carries out the garbage. It's a wonder we haven't all suffocated from the piles of garbage 12 feet deep in this house... this house! It would take an army to clean this house...

How often do we recognize what others need to change in their lives before we recognize what changes we need to make? So many of us make New Year’s resolutions that seem to vanish after the first month, or sometimes we keep those resolutions alive for several months before they bite the dust: Lose weight, quit smoking, less temper and more patience, better with money management, start saving for retirement. Most of our resolutions can be reduced down to having more self-control, which is part of the fruit of the Spirit.

Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 23  meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law.

Wait… what was that last part again? Against such things there is not a law. Being led by the Spirit we are not under Law, Paul says it in verse 18. It isn’t too much of a leap to conclude that we cannot exhibit these things such as love, joy peace, self-control, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, long-suffering, by our lonesomes. Only through the strength of the Holy Spirit and by His gift of the Fruit can we exhibit these things which are a testimony to God’s work of changing our hearts and minds: in short sanctification.

Change is a scary thing.

We resist change almost to death because we love the familiar and hold that close. We go to the same Bible verses because we know them, we study the same passages because we love them. Yet, there is so much more to behold in God’s love letter.

My church has started a Read The Bible in a Year, this year, with LifeWorks devotional. We're starting in Genesis and yesterday (Jan 2) some verses were given to go along with Genesis 3&4. James 4:7 was one of them. I almost did not look them up because I didn't want to take the time, then I decided right then that God was more important than time and He would bless me. I would receive, if nothing else, He would at least give me peace for checking the verses. Then I decided that one verse wasn't enough, but I should read the background chapter as well as the verse. For quite a long time now, God has been working on me about reading bits and pieces and filling in with my own understanding rather than studying the whole using His guidance and understanding.

Even though I have studied my Bible deeply for more than 35 years, He has reminded me that I lose so much because of familiarity. I think I know, so I skip it and move on hunting a "new truth" or "new insight". I'm ashamed to say, I've missed so much in the past few years because of familiarity.

Thank you, my Father, for reminding me to keep on trying, which led to the desire to get outside the box of familiarity and to ask You for familiar truths with new light to share. I think that my resolution this year is to lean more upon You and less upon me. My expectations this year will be to read the Bible through using Your understanding which is a free gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for helping me realize there is no place like peace.

What Obama is not telling you

If you listened to Obama's speech at Knox College, you probably got  the 
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut
idea that our economy is now in the home stretch, we've won the race, and that horseshoe wreath is about to drop on our illustrious president's shoulders. If you listened to his speech rather than looking at all the facts.

According to statistical measurements (listening to Obama) our economy has created 7.2 million jobs. Then, Mr. President, would you meet me for coffee at my ... oh, wait, we can't meet there because that business is shut down. Let's meet ... nope, not there, either, that business has been closed for more than a year. The Spin on the Frisbee is Obama is counting people who are employed... but actually those are the ones who have dropped off unemployment benefits because the benefits have run out.  [Shock, gasp]

Here are 5 startling facts not mentioned by Obama, but that have a horrific effect on the economy:
1. Over 69 percent of the jobs created in Q2 2013 and over 57 percent of all the jobs created in the first half of 2013 were created in the three lowest wage sub-sectors of the economy, Retail Trade, Administrative and Waste Services, and Leisure and Hospitality, that otherwise account for an aggregate of only 33 percent of all private sector jobs.
2. These jobs, in the aggregate, pay an average of only $15.80 per hour, compared with the other two-thirds of private sector jobs, which pay $27.16 per hour. Relative to unemployment benefits and other assistance, jobs at $15.80 per hour put less than $3.00/hour more in the pockets of a newly working consumer.
3. About half of the jobs created during the first half of 2013, and a large majority of the jobs created in Q2 2013, appear to have been part-time jobs that offer employees as little as one hour of work per week, and up to 35 hours of work.
4. After falling from a recession high of 9.2 million to a post-recession low of 7.6 million at the end of Q1 2013, the number of people saying they are working part time because they can’t find full time work (part time for economic reasons) crept back up to 8.2 million, double pre-recession levels.
5. Nearly 100 percent of the decline in the U-3 unemployment rate has been the result of there being fewer workers in the labor force as a percentage of the employable population. If the Labor Force Participation Rate had not fallen from October 2009, when unemployment hit its Great Recession peak of 10 percent, unemployment would today still be around 10 percent. Moreover, if the LFPR were held constant from its highest pre-recession level of 66.40 percent in January 2007 (when unemployment was 4.6 percent), the U-3 unemployment rate would be nearly 12 percent today. (Copied from American Enterprise Institute)
The facts here are really scary to me because I'm finished with my Master's in about 4 weeks. I'll get my diploma, and where will I get a job? I started earning my Master's because there were no jobs for me because I did not have my Master's. Now, there may not be a job for me even with my Master's.

I'm not afraid. I know God has a plan. What scares me is that we listen to someone who is supposed to be trustworthy, but he is packing the airwaves and newspapers with accusations of "false scandals", and untruths. How can you trust that? I can't. So I pray for our country, and I pray for the real truth to be told by a bold and brave press, not the mealy mouths that kowtow to an untrustworthy president.

Red flag is waving high over the Land of the Free

I thought all the flack, discussion, and diatribes over Zimmerman's not-guilty verdict was taking this individual case too far. Just why was this case so publicized and not several other similar cases with similar self-defense pleas. Today I realized why this case has gone so far, because Obama identifies with Trayvon Martin.

Here's the gist of what our Prez said:
Very few African American men have not experienced racial profiling.
African Americans are viewing this case through a "set of experiences" such as being followed while shopping in a department store; hearing door locks while walking through a parking lot; getting on an elevator and seeing a woman clutch her purse and hold her breath until she can get off.
Apparently, this is righteous cause for the federal government to "look into" self-defense laws. Does anyone else see the red flag waving? Doesn't this cause a chill down your back? First the feds want to take away our guns and then they want to take a "look at" self-defense laws.

Here is what gets my goat. This land was founded on the right to bear arms, and the right to freedom of speech, and the right to defend one's self and one's property. But, we are coming to a point when this "Good of the many outweigh the good of the one (or few)". 

BBC reported this today:
[Obama] said that although criminal matters and law enforcement were traditionally dealt with on a state and not a federal level, it would be useful to examine some state and local laws to see if they encourage confrontation in certain situations.
On Wednesday, US Attorney General Eric Holder cited the case as he urged a nationwide review of "stand your ground" laws, such as those in place in Florida, which permit the use of deadly force if a person feels seriously threatened.

What part of "seriously threatened" is not understandable so that Holder must "review" it? If the States in these United States are not jealous of their rights, the Feds will take over and we'll be living in a martial state.

Going it alone?

Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos
What did the disciples try to do under their own strength?

Sail across a lake in a storm... cast a demon from a boy... walk on water...

Probably a better question would be what did they not try to do under their own strength.

Jesus made it very clear when He called them little-faiths: ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos (ol-ig-op'-is-tos) From G3641 and G4102; incredulous, that is, lacking confidence (in Christ): - of little faith.

We smile and shake our heads and say, 'How could they not have faith?' Jesus spoke and the storm calmed, He reached out and plucked Peter from sinking in the water, He cast out the demon from the boy and the boy was well ever after that, He fed the 5000 and the 4000 with baskets of food left over. When God shows Himself in that glory, how could anyone not have faith?

How indeed.

I sit in a chair and know it will keep me from falling on the floor. I turn the key in the ignition of my car and expect it to start the engine and for it to take me where I need to go. I don't have quite as much faith in my computer as it has failed me more often than my car.

There is the key. My car, actually, has never failed me... the one I have now. Other cars failed me and one in particular I never had faith it would start. I'd always pray and hope it would start.

God has never failed me.

Why is it, then, I sometimes have doubts? Is it my point of reference?

People have failed me... even the ones that I never expected much from, failed me. It isn't their fault because they are human, with human natures that are imperfect. We do not have the capability to be perfect within our flesh. That is impossible. God, on the other hand, is perfect and infallable.

But... we gauge God through our human-ness. We think with our finite minds and see with our imperfect vision and this is how we see God, forgetting that we are made in God's image (not the other way around) and not in His perfect nature and character. We have the potential and we will be perfect one day, just not today. Therefore, we cannot see all that God sees or know all that God knows and that makes for a very imperfect understanding of our own situations and future. It also makes for a very imperfect, and perhaps quite wobbly faith.

Here is the tricky part. God is okay with the wobbly faith up to a point. There comes a time when God expects trust no matter the cost, and trusting Him can be quite costly from a secular world point of view. Yet, it is our weakness that glorifies His strength. Our trust magnifies His name. Our frailties in concert with God's power makes the angels wonder.

God has never failed me. I have to go with what I know, regardless of the feelings of doubt, because those feelings are so fleeting. So, I put my hand in the hand of the Man that stilled the water because He kept His promises no matter the cost. How, indeed, can my faith falter?
understand Jesus's teachings...

Zimmerman -- Martin -- Unjust Media

Is anyone as sick as I am at all the discussion over something that should never have gone to trial in the first place?

The real problem I see with all of this is the out of control media talking about something they do not seem to know anything about. I never, ever though I'd ever quote Geraldo Rivera, but even he was able to see the unjustness of bring Zimmerman to trial when no Florida law had been violated.

If someone could tell me exactly why this story made such a national splash, when it should have been regulated to page 4, I would appreciate it.

Tossing and turning

Tossing and turning, turning and tossing, tossing and turning all night...
Bobby Lewis couldn't sleep at all last night. How about you? Sometimes I close my eyes and scenes from the day rewind and replay, or worry about a problem keeps revolving in my head and my brain just won't turn off, or slow down so sleep can take over. It is a problem that millions all over the world have.

Usually, it is worry or fretting about something we can do absolutely nothing about until a later time (like morning) or at no time because it is beyond our control. Sometimes it is all about something we forgot to do or neglected to do, and it is usually because we have forgotten, or worse refused, to trust God to handle the problem. We get in God's way far too often.

Our Father is bigger than our problems. David proved that with Goliath. He is greater than nations or presidents or kings or bosses. There is nothing in this world or out of it that God cannot handle if we allow him to do so. The operative word here is allow. God gives His children permission with free will.

We can choose how to react to any given situation at any given time. God is not a dictator that we should be bent under his yoke. God is not an evil judge that we must beg on bloody knees for our needs. God is not a harsh taskmaster that we should have striped backs from the whip of His will. He is none of those things for His children. Of course, the day will come when unbelievers will be subjected to His absolute judgment. But, not His children.

When we confess our rebellions and disobedience, when we turn to Him and come home from our wayward and wastrel ways, God literally runs toward us, scoopin us up in His mighty arms, holding us and kissing us with great devotion and great joy for the return of His prodigal child. God actually sings over us. Astonishing!

So why do we toss and turn? Are we lost in Him, or lost in this world? We do have a choice you know.

It seems that at one time David  had the same problem as Bobby Lewis, but he had a different view of it all. Here are a few things David had to say about it.

Psalm 33:13 - 22
Jehovah looks down from Heaven; He sees all the sons of mankind.
From His dwellingplace He looks on all the ones living in the earth.
He forms the heart; He understands all their works.
The king is not saved by great force; a mighty man is not saved by great strength.
A horse is a vain thing for safety; nor does he save by his great strength.
Behold the eye of Jehovah is to those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy;
to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for Jehovah; He is our help and shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your mercy be upon us, O Jehovah, even as we trust in You. (LITV)

Rate hikes on school loans

From my representative, Steve Palazzo:

Many Americans have struggled in this stagnant economy as the train wreck of Obamacare approaches, unemployment remains high and the costs of living continue to rise.

When you consider the fact that student loan rates recently doubled due to Senate inaction, the challenges facing students seem like the perfect storm. 

According to a recent Fidelity Investment's study of college graduates from the classes of 2011, 2012 and 2013:
  • 70% of the class of 2013 is graduating with student loan debt, averaging $35,200
  • 54% of students graduating with student loan debt are expecting it to take more than nine years to pay off
  • 7% do not think they will ever pay back their loans
  • 25% say they will need the help of parents, personal savings, or a second job to pay back loans
In addition, many students have been forced to move back home due to the sluggish state of the economy, and nearly half of all unemployed workers in America today are under the age of 34. 

When Washington tried to solve the student loan problem a few years ago, it only succeeded in making things worse. Measures that were meant to provide temporary relief have become a yearly, looming deadline when students’ loan rates hang in the balance. This is an irresponsible and unfair way to treat the millions of low and middle-income students who depend on this assistance to obtain a higher education. 

I supported the Smarter Solutions for Students Act that would provide certainty for students by replacing the current loan rate system with market-based solutions and rate caps to protect borrowers. This reform package provides a long-term solution that students and parents can count on. 

While students wait for the Senate to act, I will continue to work for fair and responsible policies that provide opportunity, rather than burdening the next generation of American workers and families.