We often think of wisdom as intelligence, but we would be mistaken to bring that definition to this literature. When we look at the vast number of topics covered under the heading of “wisdom,” it is easy to despair of finding common ground, for the heading covers artisan skills, scientific knowledge, etiquette, philosophy, psychology, politics, sociology and jurisprudence, just to name a few. Furthermore, the text insists on more than one occasion that the “fear of the Lord” is the beginning or foundation of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). Does this suggest that none of those disciplines could be successfully engaged without fear of the Lord?
As we consider the way that people thought in the ancient world, perhaps we can best capture the Biblical way of understanding all of this by thinking in terms of worldview integration. In the ancient world, including Israel, order was an important value. Creation brought order to the cosmos; law brought order to society; etiquette brought order to human relationships; politics brought order to governance and authority. Ancient wisdom can then be understood as the pursuit of understanding and preserving order in the world. Wisdom is present when order is perceived, pursued and preserved. The people of the day wanted their worldview to fit together like a puzzle—fully integrated, with each piece placed in proper relation to the others.
They saw the fear of the Lord as the keystone to this integration process. To “fear the Lord” means to take his person and role seriously. Order in the cosmos could only be understood through acknowledgment of the One who brought order. Order could only be preserved in society and in life by understanding God’s requirements and expectations. In this way, wisdom can be seen to transcend the basic knowledge or skill related to particular disciplines.
A fool (or any of the other synonyms used to describe such a person) was one who brought disorder into any of the pertinent realms by their behavior or thinking. Furthermore, a fool would be one who did not fear the Lord and therefore tried to find coherence in something or someone else—usually themselves.
Taken from NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible
So fear of God doesn’t mean being frightened of God, indeed if we have a relationship with God there should be no sense of fear. For anyone not having a relationship with God there is no fear in their heart and wisdom will hold for them a completely different meaning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalm 111:10)
16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
I happened to have seen an advertisement on the television during a program I had been watching and it was in regard to a new model of mobile phone by manufacturer ‘Samsung‘. Like most adverts use of subtleties, suggestions and general assumptions were used to convey the idea that we, the public, wanted what was advertised. Throughout the advert a song was being played, the words of which suggested we did, ‘Give them what they want’……Well maybe I am the odd one out here but that suggestion is a subtle way of attempting us to believe that we want the latest product because everyone else wants one and I am not taking the bait. In fact I don’t like the kind of technology that one day threatens to run our lives. If you don’t believe that then just look around and see how many people are joined at the hip to their ‘smart’ phones. No-one takes any notice of their surroundings anymore, their eyes are glued to their little (or big) screens and their ears are being pumped whatever sounds they are tuned into. This is only the beginning, technology is only in its infancy despite what has been achieved so far. You can be sure more is to come. In relation to the Bible verses above one day technology will dispense with the need to carry cash, cards (even those with RFID chips) or smart phones to make purchases. The technology will be inside us! Those who allow it that is. However, as the verses state, nothing will be purchasable without it! We will be under the control of others………….Okay it might not happen during our own lifetime but there again the technology is already here and in some countries people really do have RFID chips implanted. Imagine what the world would be and will be like when everyone has implanted technology………
Read the Book of Revelation. It is the last book in The Bible for a reason……
In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I was available for work as long as it didn’t involve some heavy moving. Unfortunately up until this moment on Thursday evening I haven’t been offered anything I wanted to take on. Oh I got plenty of calls from time wasters who didn’t know what they wanted when they called me and others who wanted me to do work that I don’t normally take on like repairing washing machines, fridges, cookers and such. Long ago I did do that sort of work but since becoming self-employed some eighteen years ago and even longer ago than that I ceased being involved in it. When people call me they don’t read the advert properly first so I often have to direct them to electricians who specialise in that work. I wouldn’t mind so much but these specialists do have adverts that specify what they do and their adverts are always printed close to the rest of us electricians so there isn’t really an excuse to call the wrong person. It may be a blessing in disguise that I am not getting the work at the moment for it is giving me more time for my back problem to improve, which it is doing by the way. It has been a lovely day today, very sunny but spoiled a little by the strong breeze. Apart from pottering about in the garden from time to time I have remained indoors. I mentioned yesterday that I intended to dine out but gave up on the idea thinking that I might have gone today instead. When I had the opportunity again today I decided I couldn’t be bothered and stayed at home instead. There is always tomorrow! That pretty much says it all, I just cannot be bothered sometimes. For readers who have been with me for a couple of years they will know that I get these moments from time to time whereby I just cannot be bothered to do things, even if I like doing them! Part of the reason for that attitude is a result of my present relationship with E and part of it is simply just down to me. My dreams and aspirations have changed so much over the last few years and I no longer find interest in many of the things I once did. It may be down to my age of course but it is also the realisation that everything in the material world has little interest for me and I think to myself ‘What is the point of it all’? Everyone around me is rushing here and there, buying this and that, moving house and working their socks off to pay for it all. It is a chasing after the wind and totally pointless. Yes, in a way I am glad to be able to rest and take the time to reflect on life.
There are some very clever people in this world, that is a fact but how clever is clever? It is one thing to be clever but a different one to be wise. The two are not necessarily linked. Would you rather be clever or wise? The probable answer to that will be ‘both’ and why not? However wisdom is the greater and to be sought above all things. How does one obtain wisdom? With age? Not necessarily for wisdom can be gained without having to grow old and gain experience. It depends on the individual. It tells us in Scripture that
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
And if you want wisdom………
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Wisdom is mentioned 219 times in The Bible. We are meant to seek it for ourselves. There is however something to be observed……..we should not think that we are wise because we are wise or intelligent because we are intelligent, clever because we may be that. In all things we should be and remain humble for Scripture also tells us………..
1 Corinthians 1:18-20
Christ crucified is God’s power and wisdom
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
Real wisdom is found in the knowledge of God. Real intelligence is found in the act of seeking Him and just thinking that you are clever comes to nothing in the end. You are not as clever as you think you are.
I remember when young people telling me to get wise. They meant gain an understanding. Well what is wisdom anyway? It is gaining an understanding but not just the understanding, it is more than that. We may gain an understanding about something yet take no notice or action on what we learn. In my line of work I need not only an understanding but more importantly how to implement the knowledge gained. It is the same for anything. What is the use in knowing what is right then doing the opposite? If we use our knowledge wisely we gain from it. If we don’t we lose out. For those who don’t know, there is a book in the Bible entitled ‘Proverbs‘ and it speaks about wisdom. The things spoken about may seem a little basic and obvious to some but when all is considered there are many who have ignored the wisdom of its messages and have suffered accordingly. There is a right and a wrong path to take in life and sadly many choose the wrong path because they ignored sound advice. We can learn to be wise through our experiences but doesn’t it make sense to learn the wisdom first?
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Someone wrote: ‘Today we mourn the passing of an old friend—common sense. He devoted his service to schools, hospitals and churches; he got jobs done without fanfare and foolishness. For decades, silly rules and frivolous lawsuits didn’t affect him. He cultivated practices like sharing with others, teaching kids spiritual values and living within your means. He survived the Industrial Revolution and the Great Depression. But he couldn’t withstand the ravages of declining moral and spiritual values. He watched as leaders became corrupt and good people became apathetic. He saw the Ten Commandments outlawed in public buildings, prayer banned from the classroom and criminals enjoying more rights than their victims. He watched in despair as teachers who needed parental consent to administer an aspirin, couldn’t tell a parent their child wanted an abortion. Common sense was predeceased by truth, trust and responsibility. His funeral wasn’t well attended; few realised he had gone!’ In a recent Gallup Poll, 50% of those interviewed said they believe there are ‘no absolutes’ when it comes to good and evil. Look around you and you’ll see the results of that kind of thinking! But God doesn’t share their opinion. His Word says, ‘Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil’ (vv. 21-22 NKJV). God told Israel not to remove the ancient boundary markers. God establishes boundaries for our protection, blessing and guidance (Proverbs 22:28). So stand up for what’s right and don’t fear criticism. Darkness has never been a friend of light, or wrong a companion of right. Nevertheless, walk in the light and always do what’s right.
I wanted to post this immediately I had read it a few days ago but I had so many posts already scheduled I left off doing it. It is one of the daily ‘Word for today’ messages I receive through an email subscription from United Christian Broadcasters ( http://www.ucb.co.uk ). I think it is fair to say the message is not far off the mark!
When I was young my father would tell me certain things at the end of which he would add, ‘Just mark my words’. He wasn’t often wrong for many of the things he said came true. Wisdom is the reserve of those older and more experienced than ourselves but when young we often do not appreciate that fact. The younger generation think they know all the answers and it is only as they grow and gain experience in life do they begin to see things in a more informed way. Many though do not heed the words of the wise and become or remain uninformed on many of life’s issues. They grow old, steadfast and unswerving because of their refusal to listen and take note. On 1 December I posted an article and video about the advancement of radical Islam in the USA, here in the UK and probably in many other countries around the world too. An attitude of indifference mostly caused by the fact that many people today do not believe in God or follow a religion at all. For many years now I have followed closely the affairs of the world with respect to the prophecies written in The Bible. I am a firm believer in prophecy, I can see where this world is headed and how the events that happen are laying the foundation to troubled times ahead, events which will happen despite any human effort to alleviate the inevitability. Being forewarned is being forearmed and ready. As a Bible believing Christian I am only too aware of the danger humankind is going to be faced with in the years ahead. I may be fortunate to escape the coming wrath, I do not know, no-one does. Much of prophecy is centred around The Holy Land, modern-day Israel and those who have eyes to see and ears to hear must surely be well aware of what is happening there. The worst is yet to come though. Ever since the nation of Israel was reformed in 1948 there has been unrest in the area and it was just the same thousands of years ago. The greatest threat to Israel today is the advancement of Islam but Islam is a conquering faith as well as a religion. The sole aim of Islam is to take the world by force, not by love or persuasion for those outside Islam are considered infidels and deserve death unless they convert. What kind of god promotes this attitude? To that end the proponents of Islam emigrate to foreign lands and begin to live there slowly growing in number and when there are enough of them begin to make their voices heard. Soon they have infiltrated local authorities and governments to become upstanding members of society who fight for the rights and privileges of their Muslim brethren. Many towns in the UK are overflowing with Muslims, so much so that many other ethnic groups leave to live somewhere else. Eventually our Muslim friends become the majority in our land and then our own rights will come under threat. Further down-line the country becomes an Islamic state with all it entails. I heard on the news a couple of days ago that proposals have been submitted to the East London authorities to erect a huge mosque in the area. Now this country once had no mosques but now they are numerous. Some church buildings have been taken over and used as mosques because the local people seemingly were not interested in going to church. Need I say more? This new mosque, if built, would be four times larger than St Paul’s Cathedral. That fact alone should speak volumes. I would hate to be the one to say, ‘I told you so’ but as my old dad used to say ‘Just mark my words’.
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
God is only a prayer away for those who believe in Him.There is but one God, one Creator, one deliverer, one salvation. He is the only God, there are none beside Him. Other nations have their ‘gods’ but no other god answers prayer, no other god is the Creator of all mankind, of all Creation. All other ‘gods’ are false, mere idols and can do nothing. Which other god can perform miracles, can give us the promise of salvation and eternal life? What benefit is there in a false god? What benefit is there in false religion, religion that promises nothing? There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun and to one of them you will go. Pray to your false god and see if you get a response.
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, ‘Is that you, you troubler of Israel?’
18 ‘I have not made trouble for Israel,’ Elijah replied. ‘But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.’
20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’
But the people said nothing.
22 Then Elijah said to them, ‘I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets.23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire – he is God.’
Then all the people said, ‘What you say is good.’
25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.’ 26 So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. ‘Baal, answer us!’ they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or travelling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’ 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’ They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, ‘Your name shall be Israel.’ 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench round it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, ‘Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.’
34 ‘Do it again,’ he said, and they did it again.
‘Do it a third time,’ he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: ‘Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.’
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God!’
40 Then Elijah commanded them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!’ They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
No other God answers, no other god exists that’s why! But in spite of what God does, in spite of what He says, people will still reject Him, they will still persist believing in falsehood.
The Lord is God
32 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? 33 Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? 34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. 37 Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, 38 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.
39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.
These are the words written down in Scripture reminding the Israelites of their inheritance, what God had done for them and the promises he made to them and their descendants from generation to generation. These are the same promises for all those who put their trust and their faith in God. God is true to His word, He is a faithful God and His promises are true.
I live from day to day
In often a melancholy way,
Try as I might, the sheer delight
Of life eludes me
But I soldier on.
No-one but self for company
No lover in my life
No, not for me.
What can be done?
My situation seems so hopeless,
Hopes and dreams are all a mess
And thoughts of future happiness
Are far from me.
But still I’m moving on
Someone perhaps will come
And change my life,
Is it a dream
A thought to hang upon?
Copyright Shirley Anne 31 May 2004
And here I am eight years on and nothing really much has changed. Often I feel as if I am just going through the motions and not living life as perhaps I ought but is there a right way to live out one’s life? Well of course there is but here I am talking about how we fill our lives. Some seek adventure, some seek travel, some are happiest when at work, building a business or career. There are many ways to fill one’s days but it all depends on individual preference doesn’t it? We may aspire to certain things and find that when we succeed in fulfilling a dream we remain as empty as if we hadn’t tried. So we try something new. It is the same old question, what is life all about in the first place? We are born with specific needs for survival so we go through life fulfilling those needs, anything more than that is superficial except that if we do nothing we get bored. Finding something to occupy our time is the easy bit. Finding something we like is the tricky bit. Desire, motivation and interest all collaborate to fill our time and it is when we lack these things that our lives become meaningless. My ‘get up and go has got up and went’ and ‘I can’t be bothered’ feelings can end up making our lives dull and boring. These sort of feelings are occasionally my lot and I have to force myself to do anything sometimes. I feel as though I am just plodding along half the time. Is it all about looking back and seeing what we’ve achieved in life and have they made any real difference to the way we are right now? Have we really gained anything more than what is necessary for our existence and if so has it changed our outlook? Are we happier by having more than we really need? Have a look at this from the book of Ecclesiastes in The Old Testament……..
Everything Is Meaningless
1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”
3 What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course. 7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time. 11 There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.
Wisdom Is Meaningless
12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
15 What is twisted cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.
16 I thought to myself, “Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.
Maybe we should just plod along as usual after all? Sometimes it just seems so pointless doesn’t it? Don’t you think?
Having just watched some of the Olympic events got me thinking about what drives people to be so competitive, not only in the sports arena but in life in general too. There are ambitions to improve one’s self, either physically or intellectually and ambitions to obtain a better lifestyle and to increase wealth but why do people compete against each other? Why is there a need in some to elevate themselves above everyone else? What is the driving force and what do they hope to gain? From their point of view we could say, control, prestige, status but it is all egotistical. Yes, they may achieve all those things but what do they really gain? Remember Howard Hughes? One time probably the wealthiest man on the planet. Nothing was out of his reach, whatever desire he had was fulfilled, money was no object but did it really make his life worthwhile living? Having vast amount of wealth usually drives people to want even more, it becomes uncontrollable . People who have no financial wealth, and there are far more in that category than in the other, may look on in admiration and aspire to the same things but in fact would probably be disillusioned if they succeeded. The other man’s grass isn’t what we think it is. Why are we as human beings so competitive toward each other? What is there to prove in being better than someone else? Yes, we all have different talents and capabilities and cannot do anything about that but is that the driving force to improve our image in the sight of others? In real terms we are all the same, we come into this world with absolutely nothing and we will depart in the same way. All our efforts will have been in vain, nothing will be remembered about our lives and after a season no-one will mourn our passing. We need to regard ourselves as equals with everyone else for we are no better and no worse than anyone else. We all ride the Noah’s Arkin life, all in the same boat and will all eventually return to dust. Everything is vanity.
10 And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.
A brief account…………
David had become king over Israel and went on to conquer Jerusalem and onward to defeat the Philistines. David had been a mere shepherd boy years before but the Lord had plans for him. David wasn’t particularly attractive in looks and had nothing that would make him standout in a crowd. He had potential though and God saw this in him. After defeating Goliath when others could not, even the strongest and experienced soldiers in Saul’s army found the thought of challenging Goliath terrifying, David became popular with the people. He hadn’t defeated Goliath with his strength but with his cunning. He approached the problem in a fresh way, in a way others hadn’t seen. Because God was with him David went from strength to strength. David realised this and gave praise and thanks to God as often as he could, even to the point of looking foolish in the sight of others. Nothing was going to stop him from praising God. Michal daughter of Saul had been given to David as his wife but Saul gave Michal to Paltiel and this grieved David. Michal loved David deeply but despised him in her heart when she saw him dancing and praising God in the sight of the common people. She spent the rest of her life childless.
TheLORDiswithyou when you are with him. Ifyou seek him, he will be found by you, but ifyou forsake him, he will forsake you (2 Chronicles 15:2 … in context 2 Chronicles 15:1-3).
Those whom the Lord God loves He looks after and He loves those who love Him. God wants to lavish His gifts upon us but there are those who cannot see that fact. We cannot out-give God, whatever we give Him He returns to us much more. I know this happens in life because I have experienced it. There have been times when I have struggled financially yet I didn’t fail to present a gift to the Lord’s work no matter how small that might have been. What happened each time? I found I was given more opportunities for work! (This still happens where my work is concerned). The principle is this, you give to God and He gives back more in one way or another! It is often the little things we might normally overlook but God sees everything. If we are with God He is faithful and will never desert us. Nothing and no-one should get in the way of our praise for God and our praise isn’t just a matter of verbal worship but our praise is everything we are, how we live and how we treat others. You don’t have to be the wealthiest, most handsome and popular person in society when God loves you, He sees your potential and if you are on His side nothing can stop you in your service to Him. It isn’t about personal gain but you will gain far more in the Kingdom of God and great will be your reward. You will go from strength to strength with God and will always be a conquerer.
There are plenty of material blessings available if you are fortunate to live in a reasonably wealthy country, not so if you live in a poor country. We can surround ourselves with all the trappings of a modern society if we so wish and most of us do just that. A lot of what we buy is simply for our basic needs but much of what we buy is not. Obscene amounts of money is spent on luxuries and items we don’t really need. We buy things sometimes because we lust after them, the latest technology, the latest gadget, the must-have items that everyone is talking about and what the advertisers tell us we really need in order to be up to date. I use a contractmobile phone and have been forced to change it whenever I have signed for a contract renewal. I get told that the latest version of phone is available for no extra charge as I am on a contract. I actually pay for the phone through the charges they impose for the contract so it isn’t really free at all. I am not interested in the latest technology just for the sake of it. Have you ever witnessed people queuing up all night long outside a store that is selling the latest electronic gadgetry to ensure they can get their hands on one before the store runs out of stock? People will go to great lengths just to fulfil a desire for some material thing. What is life anyway? Is it all about having it all and being a mindless cog in the machinery of modern society or is it about the simpler things, those which cost us next to nothing? Where do your values lie? What is it about life that you love and cannot do without? Most people who are asked that question will probably reply in the first instance that they want to be happy and financially secure but when the question really sinks in they re-think their answer and talk about love, family and other similar things. We can be so caught up with material wealth that we forget we are mortal with basic needs for survival. Look at these verses:-
25 For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
‘ if he gains the whole world’ and ‘to what he has done’…not what he has gained materially in his life!
The things of this world, including us, are but transitory. We might lust after great wealth and riches but real riches are not measured materially. We must learn not to hold fast to the things of this world, not to love them or anything in the world except those around us, meaning our neighbour. Our love should be directed to Him who made us………
I get excited by astronomical events, like the transit of Venus yesterday, although I wasn’t in a place where I could see it, wrong country, wrong time. Oh well there are another pair of transits in 2117 and 2125, maybe I’ll see them….LOL! Not much chance of that is there? Looking at the Universe around us makes me realise how short a period of time we have at our disposal in our brief existence. All the more reason to fill that time well I would have thought but it is quite surprising how much time we actually waste in our lives. Take this past weekend for instance, I did nothing special other than relax at home doing pretty much nothing of importance or noteworthy. That might seem as though I am letting my life slip by but most of the time I am up to something of one sort or another, mostly work in one form or another, exercising, walks and such or playing guitar, writing poems and songs, writing blogs, emails, reading, watching television, going to the pub, going shopping, preparing meals and a host of other things too. Somewhere amongst all of that I find time to sleep too! I suppose looking at it that way my time is pretty much filled each day and yet I still get bored and have times where I simply do very little, as with this past weekend. There has to be a time to do nothing, a time given just for ourselves, a time when nothing is that important it snatches our moments of peace and solitude.
Ecclesiastes 3 New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
So nothing special to report except that life goes on as usual. I have found though that there always seems to be a time for work in my life…LOL
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven
on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
3 All have turned aside,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God…’ Psalm 14:1
The atheistic fool. It’s said, ‘An atheist can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman.’ Sometimes pride is at the core of atheism. Without God, you become your own god, which means there’s no higher power than yourself! But the God of the Bible proves His existence in three ways: 1) Creation. Many people are in prison today who weren’t caught at the scene of the crime, and no one actually witnessed the crime. What proved they did it? Fingerprints! DNA! Creation carries God’s fingerprints and DNA. ‘Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name…’ (Isaiah 40:26 NLT). 2) Calvary. In creation you see God’s power, at the cross you see His love for you. In creation you see His hand, at the cross you see His heart. 3) Conscience. ‘Gentiles…even without having heard it…demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right’ (Romans 2:14-15 NLT). Conscience is like having a Bible in your soul; no one was born without one. Voltaire, the French atheist, said, ‘It took twelve fishermen to build Christianity. I will show the world how one Frenchman can destroy it.’ After Voltaire died, the home in which he had lived became Europe‘s most famous Bible distribution centre. Bottom line: Voltaire is dead; our God lives! Atheism is the greatest gamble of all. After all, what if there is a God and you stand before Him one day?
11 May 2012
Don’t Be a Fool (2)
‘…Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee…’ Luke 12:20
The ambitious fool. Jesus told the story of a successful farmer who said, ‘…I will pull down my barns, and build greater…’ (v. 18). Evidently he was a good businessman and planner. But then he said: ‘I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee…So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’ (vv. 19-21). This man had a plan for time, but none for eternity. He thought about himself, but not God. He paid attention to his body, but not his soul. It’s said that the average body has enough phosphorus to make eight hundred thousand match heads, enough sugar to go into sixty cubes, enough salt to cover twenty spoons, and enough iron to make about ten dollars’ worth of nails. The rest is just dust and water. When you pamper, promote and protect the part of you that will only live seventy or eighty years and neglect the part of you that will live on in either heaven or hell, God says you’re a fool. This man told himself he had ‘many years,’ but God said, ‘This night thy soul shall be required of thee.’ Don’t you realise that an accident, a blocked artery, a stray bullet, a plane with engine failure or a drunk driver could take you out in an instant? Wise up! The question is not will you die, but when? And are you ready to stand before God?
The absolute fool. Abner slew a man called Asahel, whose brother happened to be Joab, King David’s number one general. So Joab was out to take Abner’s life. The tragedy of this story is that Abner was within reach of Hebron, one of the six cities of refuge. But instead of running into that city and enjoying its protection, he allowed the enemy to catch him outside the gates and kill him. ‘They buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept…and said, ‘Died Abner as a fool dieth?’ (vv. 32-33). Abner was the absolute fool. Why? Because unlike the atheistic fool who did not believe in God, or the ambitious fool who had no time for God, he knew what to do-but didn’t do it. There were no rivers to cross, no mountains to climb, and no price to be paid. The gates of Hebron were open; all he had to do was go in and stay there. Imagine being given a gospel tract with these words on the cover: ‘What must I do to be lost?’ Then opening it and finding that page is-blank. You don’t have to do anything to be lost! But you must do something to be saved: ‘…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…’ (Acts 16:31). When Mary brought the newborn Christ to the temple, an old priest named Simeon held Him in his arms and said: ‘Now I’m ready to die, because I have seen the Saviour of the world…’ (Luke 2:25-32). In order to die right you must meet Christ, embrace Him, and acknowledge Him as your Lord and Saviour. Why don’t you do it today?
People today, as in days of old, refuse to turn to God. Their minds have become corrupt and they follow after falsehood and lies. They worship other gods, which are not gods at all and forget the creator who is God. Believing that all they need to do is be ‘good’ and that will be enough. Believing that their ways are best, rejecting what God actually says and expecting Him to ignore it. They will have no excuse, they will have no-one to intercede on their behalf because they reject the only one who can, Jesus! The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, get wise before it is too late.
I am referring to earthly knowledge here. Whatever becomes the subject of inquiry these days can be known. When once all we had at our disposal to find out about things were the knowledge and experience of those we met or through the written word in encyclopedias now we can gain access to that knowledge ourselves through the Internet. We need never again be totally ignorant of things we previously had no knowledge. It appears that there is nothing on this earth that is without accessible information. This levels the playing field somewhat and whilst there will always be specialists in any subject, no subject will be out of the reach of anyone interested. It is written in Scripture as a prophecy that mankind will be rushing here and there in the pursuit knowledge. So here we are in the 21st century doing exactly that. As human beings we seek knowledge and we can never stop seeking it, it is as though it is part of our make-up. Forever seeking, forever searching and with each scrap of knowledge there becomes a reason to seek more. One thing leads to another but when will it all end? Will it all end? Is it possible to know all things? Is it worth knowing all things? Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia of collective knowledge goes a long way in aiding the pursuit of knowledge but I see it still in its infancy and not the only source of knowledge I’m sure. Whereas many years ago research into any subject was a long and laborious occupation it has been made a lot easier by having information at our fingertips and only seconds away. No longer will there be a need to sit for hours in a library searching through endless books and manuscripts to discover what we want to know if it is all recorded electronically. There is nothing therefore in this world that we have to remain ignorant about if we put our minds to it. Maybe one day we will know all things. Personally I don’t think we’ll gain all knowledge this way but that is another story for another post.