Was this wise?

Was it wise to spend nearly a whole Sunday school quarter focused on pain, suffering and meaninglessness? Apparently so, if success can be measured by the participants’ enthusiasm each Sunday.

Am I correct in perceiving a tendency exists to gravitate toward the positive, uplifting and empowering? If this be the case why would anyone even consider wallowing for an extended time in such things as human suffering? You are probably already ahead of me in this article. Continue reading “Was this wise?”

Time well spent

“If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength, but wisdom brings success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10 NKJV).

I recently watched a man in South Asia cut down a mahogany tree with a hatchet. The tree was probably 20 inches or so in diameter, with a fairly full top, and he climbed up near the top then began trimming branches. When he had it trimmed down to the main trunk only, then he came to the ground and cut it at the roots. Some of the work he did with a crosscut saw, but most was with a hand ax. If you have never tried it, take it from me, that is a hard job. This man did it well, and it did not take a very long time. Continue reading “Time well spent”

Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God

In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding (Proverbs 10:13, ASV).

By Ron Thomas — The words of this proverb are not hard to understand. Wisdom comes from only one of two sources. The source of wisdom is either from God or not-God. There are no other options. Continue reading “Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God”

Wisdom

Christians sometimes moan about the times in which we are living. Everything seems to be going from bad to worse. And then it gets worse than it was. We think we live in the worst times that ever were. Christian often wonder why those around us can’t see their need to change the way they are living and thinking. If seems that one of the things missing in our world is real wisdom.

What is wisdom? Some seem to think that wisdom is simply the accumulation of knowledge. The problem with that type of definition is that you can accumulate loads of knowledge and not have wisdom. Wisdom is a quality which one gets that is based on knowledge, experience and good judgement. As a friend of mine has often said, knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit rather than a vegetable; wisdom is knowing you shouldn’t put it in a fruit salad. Continue reading “Wisdom”

Exceptions that prove the rule

“If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14).

What makes a proverb a proverb is that it is generally true in most cases. This also means there could conceivably be an exception to the rule, but it would only prove the rule.

When Jesus spoke the proverbial statement above, he was warning his disciples not to blindly follow the advice and  attitudes of some of the religious hierarchy of the day because of their hypocrisy. But even he recognized that there are exceptions to it: Continue reading “Exceptions that prove the rule”

A proverb in the mouth of fools

Last week I began the final edit of a book for a friend. It’s a delight to read and an easy work to revise. He has the gift of words and, specifically, of writing. If I weren’t a servant of God, I’d be tempted to envy. He makes reading a joy, and learning a pleasure.

Not everyone has such a gift, and that’s a fine thing, since it’s God’s plan. But some people have what might be called an anti-gift.

Proverbs 26 enlightens the reader about the actions of fools. Among them is the use of a proverb in the mouth of fools. They are not only inept, their bad usage screeches against the ear. Continue reading “A proverb in the mouth of fools”

Hindsight in advance

“Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble” ( Proverbs 4:10-12 NKJV).

One of the popular songs of the past lamented, “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger; I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was stronger.” Almost everyone can relate to such a wish. If we knew in advance the consequences of our actions we might well choose differently on many occasions. That is we would do differently if we truly believed that those consequences would certainly follow.

The human capacity to ignore the lessons of experience is no less than incredible. A definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein is, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It does not matter whether the experience is our own or that of others; whether it is contemporary or from ancient history. When a particular belief or behavior consistently produces negative consequences, it is foolhardy to continue in it. Continue reading “Hindsight in advance”

Look to Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the complete answer of God for the problem and need of mankind. Our problem is not ignorance, which education will solve. Our problem is not poverty, which more robust social programs will eradicate. Our problem is sin. It’s consequence, eternal and spiritual, is separation from God, Isaiah 5.1-2; Colossians 1.21. We cannot now imagine the despair and suffering caused by our rejection of God. No human action will repair that damage. So God sent his Son to pay the price for our sins, 1 Corinthians 6.20. Our Lord declared time and again that he came to save us from ourselves, Luke 19.10. This is the great act of grace on his part, Titus 3.4-7. Continue reading “Look to Jesus Christ”

The glory of the church

In his book Family of God: A Study of the New Testament Church, Batsell Barrett Baxter’s first chapter is entitled, “The Glory of the Church.” It’s a fine title and a marvelous way to begin the subject. Brother Baxter gave eight reasons why the church is glorious: its origin, its foundation, its beginning, its relationship, its universality, its simplicity, and its destiny. It’s worth reading and appreciating.

His chapter needs no rewriting or revision. So allow me to take another tack that complements the points above. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, and the first of many problems he tackled was that of divisiveness. In the longest section of the letter (chapters 1-4), he wrote, Continue reading “The glory of the church”

Do we want to be wise?

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding” (Psalm 111:10 ESV).

Wisdom. What so many people desire, yet do they understand how to get wisdom? In fact, what is wisdom?

Many confuse wisdom with knowledge. Knowledge is the gaining of facts and information. Just because we know some things does not mean that we have wisdom. We can have knowledge without wisdom. Continue reading “Do we want to be wise?”