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Monthly Archives: November 2012

A Bit of Advice

One of the best bits of wisdom that I have heard is really akin to the old proverb, “you can give a man a fish and feed him for a day or you can teach a man how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” I could offer you the little bit of wisdom I have and that would be like giving you a fish. But I can tell you how I have acquired the little bit of wisdom I have, which would be a lifelong tool for you (although, you probably already know it, I’m not all that wise).

The first step we went over in my previous post, and that is searching the Scripture. True wisdom is only found in God. But some of the practical ways to learn wisdom in specific areas is to watch others who are succeeding in that area. For example, if you are married or ever want to be married, then find some marriages you admire and learn from that couple. Watch how they interact, how they handle situations. Ask them questions.

I am doing this with writing. I want to be a good writer, I want to one day publish a story, so I read blogs of writers I admire like Daniel Koeker and Zen Scribbles. I also read writing blogs like Christian Mihai and Inked Out Loud.

This is some of the best wisdom because you can learn from other’s successes and mistakes. No matter what the situation is there is nearly always someone who has walked the road before you.

So there you go, that is the limit of my wisdom about wisdom…learn from someone other than me!

Related Posts:
Don’t Be Afraid, But Fear God
Wednesday Wisdom Sitings

Wednesday Wisdom Sitings

Normally this post would be titled Wednesday Web Sitings but today I have changed it. There are quite a few websites about wisdom out there but I don’t want to just offer up any wisdom, I want to make sure it’s Godly wisdom. So today posts will be Scriptures on wisdom:

A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:5-7

My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.
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 uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.
When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you.
Proverbs 2:1-10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you.
Proverbs 9:10-11

The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise.
He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
Proverbs 15:31-33

The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.
The wicked watches the righteous, And seeks to slay him.
Psalm 37:31-32

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
1 Corinthian 3:18-20

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Colossians 3:16

There are loads more! It is a fascinating study, a lifetime worth of learning.

So let me close with one last quote from Proverbs 4:5:

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

Related Posts:
Don’t Be Afraid, But Fear God
A Bit of Advice

El Salvador

On a plane ready to go to el sal. I have automatic posts coming but I will post pics and info about the trip when I come back! “See” you soon!

Don’t Be Afraid, But Fear God

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
Proverbs 31:26

The purpose of this blog has never been to write about the Spiritual aspect of Proverbs 31, more so the practical aspect. I have always been very practical when it comes to Spiritual matters. Yes I know I need to be more gracious, but HOW do I be more gracious…So I am not going to spend this week’s topic, wisdom, trying to define wisdom but more how to attain wisdom, how to walk it out. In the practical sense.

My own (very slow) journey towards gaining wisdom began when I was a teen and started questioning the hows of wisdom. Sure I wanted to have wisdom but how did one go about getting something that was intangible? That year I was also reading through the Bible in a year and I came across several verses similar to this:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.
Psalm 111:10

So that is the first step, fearing The Lord, meaning to have respect and awe for God and who He is can bring wisdom. The word fear to me is a reminder in and of itself that God is all powerful and has every ability and every right to condemn me. But He chooses not to. That is a humbling thought. Dwelling and thinking on these things are the beginning of wisdom. Why? Because it puts us in our place and God on the throne.

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A Bit of Advice

Thankful, For Better Or For Worse

There have been season in my life that I would never ever want to relive. Nor would I want to wish them on my enemies. Difficult seasons of loss, trials of the heart, and times of overwhelming stress can sometimes crush our spirits. But what about the following Scriptures:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4

“In everything give thanks,” and “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” How do we handle these ideas in the times that are not simple and easy to give thanks?

The first is to recognize how these things are used in our lives. Above I said that I would never ever want to relive those times, but I have to say that I would not wish them away. While I am not saying that I am glad whatever triggered the difficult time happened, I count the times after, though hard, precious.

A while back I wrote a post about the death of my friend’s granddaughter. While I would never wish that this precious life had ended, it was such an honor to walk with the family through that time. I learned a lot about grief and how to comfort people who are walking through grief. I am grateful for the deepened friendship, the sweetness of Christ ministering to the family through it, as well as the experience that it will give me for future ministry.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that when you hear difficult news you should immediately shout “Halelujah!” But I am saying that the longer you walk through hard times the easier it is to recognize how God truly does,

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

The biggest and best thing that I get out of difficult times is a deepened relationship with Jesus Christ. He ministers to the deepest parts of my soul. Let me quote the verses just before Romans 8:28:

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us* with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:26-27

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This is one of my favorite activities to help me take my thoughts captive and get my perspective back where it should be. Step 1 is to read these verses:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.
Philippians 4:8

The next step is to get a small portable notebook, I used 3×5 cards that are spiral bound. Portable is the key because this is a fun thing to take with you. Though, to be honest, one time I used sheets of paper. But I will explain that more in a moment.

Every few pages write one of the different words above as a header, or title.

Then starting thinking of things that come to mind when you read those words. Don’t worry about getting a lot, just try to get some. This is a working growing project. It is the practice of taking your thoughts captive. Its quite fun. Things don’t always have to be serious either, so long as you have some serious words, have fun with it.

The time I used papers was during a very stressful week at my church and so I typed up the words on sheets of paper and hung them in my office. Everyone who came in had to write something.

It is a fun activity that, though it isn’t specifically on thankfulness, it does help you take your thoughts captive and gets you in the mindset that is more thankful because you are focusing on the true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy things in life.

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Wednesday Web Sitings

Here are some creative Thanksgiving activities, some of these are to help you share what you are thankful for and some of them are just for fun. Let me challenge you all to pick one thing and try it. Perhaps you will find a new tradition this year!

Thanksgiving Menu Scavenger Hunt is a fun Scripture hunt to find all the items on the menu! Make sure you look up the Scriptures and verify that your version works with the hunt as well as it is an item you are actually serving on the menu! If you are really ornery you could make your family order their meal by using the Scripture reference menu.

A Thanksgiving Tree is one of my favorite activities to do at Thanksgiving! My church does this every year and we end up with a huge tree covered in beautiful leaves that have so many thankful things written on them. We have a couple of landscapers in our church so we get actual trees that have already died. We also found some really nice silk leaves at the dollar store last year and online at Oriental Trading. You can do something big like that or trim a tree from your yard and start with a mini tree. Or you could pull out your Christmas tree early and add leaves to that.

Another similar idea is the Chain of Thanks which is a paper chain with things that you and your family and/or guests are thankful for.

A couple of friends of mine who have had me over for thanksgiving when my own family was out of town have a wall in their dining room that was painted with chalkboard paint. The nice part about that, other than it is completely fabulous, is that we can all write what we are thankful for on their wall. I found this DIY tutorial for a smaller version of that.

Another set of friends of mine have the scrabble letter trays out at all times with words on them. It changes to different things depending on who was at it last, but that would be a fun little decoration to have out for people to write words they are thankful for. Or even have a whole board out and everyone helps add words of things to be thankful for.

There are lot of ideas to do. Granted the first one listed wasn’t about being thankful but it looked fun.

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Breaking Thresholds

I broke 40,000 words today. That’s crazy! I didn’t think I would be able to do this and now I am simply 10,000 words from accomplishing my goal! I am way too close to my ending than I should be at 10,000 words out, but I don’t care. I see the finish line and I am sprinting towards it.

This journey has been fantastic. It has done several things for me. But before I list those I do have to say that my story is not worth reading, nor is it worth editing and thinking about publishing. I share that because the things that I gained from Nano were not anything like what I expected. I expected to maybe finally get a story out of me. This is a story alright but its not like this is a story worth taking to the next step.

But I have fallen in love with a few of my characters. Certain ones I could write all day. If they were real people I would be worried that they would think that I was a crazy stalker because I would want to be best friends with them.

The other thing Nano has done for me is to give me the realization that I do have a writer in me. I had never been sure if I could do this after all but there have been scenes and stories and dialog that came out of me that I never knew was there! And I outlined!

Finally Nano has done what Nano claims to do, it gave me a sense of accomplishment and achievement. I know that I am not finished yet, but even if I weren’t able to finish at this point I would know that I did win regardless because I have gained so much.

Thanks Nano!

Be Thankful to Him

A Song of Praise for the Faithfulness to His People
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;*
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100:1-5

One of my most difficult struggles in my adult life was a time of insecurity I went through. It was a very dark time for me and I felt like my world was spinning out of control. I learned later that it was caused by food allergies and am now able to avoid sinking into that feeling of low desperation. However, while in the midst of this Jesus started working on my heart in this situation. There were a couple of big lessons I learned. The first was that whether you think too low of yourself or think too highly of yourself both are a form of pride. Humility is considering others first so therefore even my own constant worry of if I was good enough, if anyone cared about me, this was a form of pride. The second big lesson was the practical of how to combat this form of pride. And that was a thankful journal.

I stashed several small notebooks throughout my world. One in my office, one in my car, another in my purse another in my house. These notebooks were always within an arms reach. As soon as I felt those thoughts of insecurity creeping in on me I would grab the notebook and start writing. Now I had a couple of rules, the first was I was not allowed to write about the situation. Usually the insecurity stemmed from a specific situation where I felt left out or unloved or something along those lines, but I knew if I wrote out the situation it would just be dwelling on it more. The second rule was that I had to find something, anything at all, to be thankful for. So with those two rules in mind I would write a quick note of thanks to God.

Sometimes the note was for salvation, sometimes it was about the weather, other times it would be about something good that had happened earlier in the day. Regardless I wouldn’t stop writing until I had combated the insecure.

During my lowest point of that season I was writing in the journal quite frequently. And I am thankful I went through that time. I am thankful that God allowed me to work on the spiritual side of the issue before freeing me of the physiological side of it. Why? Because it taught me to be more thankful.

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And Be Thankful

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:12-17

We hear it said every year, I have said it and perhaps you have too, “we should be thankful all year long, not just on Thanksgiving!” So this week we are going to take a break from our normal Proverbs 31 practical applications and look at practical ways to create a habit of a thankful heart.

One year for Christmas someone gave me a calendar set. It came with a regular full sized wall calendar, a small purse sized calendar and a mini wall calendar. Now the mini wall calendar is what I used for this but you could use a regular sized wall calendar. I put the calendar by my bed and every night before I went to sleep I took a couple of minutes to think back on my day and consider what I was thankful for. I wrote a few notes in the calendar.

That year we experienced several tragedies. I found that even on those days I had a moment which I could be grateful. It was the hug from a grandfatherly figure, the call from a friend, or simply the fact that Jesus had carried me through the day.

Now you don’t have to wait until next year to start this, start it today. Use your calendar app, grab a journal and simply date it every night, or find that wall calendar that you stuck in the drawer and never hung up this year…

And be thankful!

Related Posts:
Be Thankful To Him
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Thankful, For Better Or For Worse

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