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I have a good friend who is from the local community in South Africa near my home. He organizes a number of after school programs to create hope in the young people.

He regularly tells me stores of how he receives cookie donations from older (insert the race which is economically better off) for his young, poor (insert economically worse off race) kids.

“These folks feel so good about helping these poor kids!”

This friend is an honest voice in my life to point out the sometimes misguided attempts to help people. I’m so grateful for this refreshingly honest voice.

He can tell when people really love those they are serving or if they are merely looking for photo ops or feel good moments.

“King Solomon was wiser when he was young than when he was old.”   Dr. Ron Smith

Considering Solomon to be a major contributor to the book of Proverbs is a sobering thought.

Solomon is famous for asking for wisdom when God granted him any wish. He received great wisdom, loved the Lord (1 Kings 3:3), and even had God appear to him twice! (1 Kings 3;5, 9:2)

But right before his love for God was recorded, we see him entering into a marriage alliance with the Pharaoh of Egypt. This was the beginning of the end for Solomon, culminating in 700 wives and 300 concubines.

How could a man with so much experience with God and wisdom, end up this way?

I’ve recently had the privilege of teaching the book of Proverbs. Here are a few things we can learn from the fact Solomon had wisdom but failed to finish well.

Jesus is the Center.

We say this phrase often, but when have we last had someone we respect, tell us how this works in their lives?

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, all of your Soul, all of your Mind, and all of your Strength.” (Mark 12:30)

So what does that mean?

When I was younger I was told several things reflected having Jesus at the center.

  • Raising your hands signified to my classmates I finally was saved and not one of the Christian school “rebels”.
  • As I got older, I was told being demonstrative and loud in worship was needed to be a leader.
  • In some circles, speaking in tongues publicly is the key.

I remember reading Brother Lawrence’s story of redirecting his thoughts to God once a minute. As I tried to “practice the presence of God”, I never achieved once an hour for the entire day let alone once a minute! An epic fail in keeping Jesus at the center!

Wisdom for All of Life

January 19, 2016

In their new book, 40/40 Vision: Clarifying Your Mission in Midlife, Peter Greer and Greg Lafferty explore a number of issues to which we can all relate. Their book is geared towards those in their 40’s who are facing mid-life and the period of evaluation which goes hand in hand.

The source of wisdom comes from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes. This makes their book applicable to any age as they explore timeless wisdom in a readable, page turning format with many personal stories and contemporary illustrations.

Areas covered are:

  • Disappointment
  • Fulfillment
  • Giving
  • Rest
  • Friendships and more

As you can see from these topics, this book can impact any age bracket.

The truth included is not complicated. Wisdom never is.

What it does accomplish is to remind us of many simple principles which need to constantly be evaluated in our lives throughout the various seasons of life.

What’s Your Goal?

January 11, 2016

Our human self-sufficiency is never more evident than at the beginning of the calendar year with our New Year’s Resolutions. Goals are great, but so often we set about those goals in a self-reliant, try harder kind of way.

As Christians, many of these goals are linked to spiritual growth, such as wanting to read the Bible more.

If spiritual growth were as simple as trying harder, we would all be light years ahead of where we find ourselves.

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I recently came across some Judah Smith quotes from his book, Jesus Is For You: Stories of God’s Relentless Love, which speak to this topic

The constant battle is to trust Jesus for growth and change even more than our own effort.

“Jesus isn’t standing aloof yelling at us to climb out of our pits and clean ourselves up so we can be worthy of Him. He was wading waist-deep into the muck of life, weeping with the broken. rescuing the lost, and healing the sick.”