Saturday, June 25, 2011

Knowledge or Wisdom?

"If we were to put the entire world's knowledge from the beginning of time until 1845 on a graph it would measure only one inch tall. From 1845 to 1945--just 100 years--the graph would measure three inches tall. But from 1945 until today the graph would be as tall as [or much taller than] the Washington monument in Washington, DC." 

The great increase in knowledge seems to have created more pressure on our lives, not less.  The more we know the faster we go.  We've been invaded---or at least our privacy has.  First it was telephones that let people into our private sanctuary; call waiting interrupted one conversation with another; then it was pagers (remember those??); then cell phones that followed us into our cars and into restaurants; then email delivered a continuous stream of communication from those we know and those we don't; now its texting and Twitter and Facebook and Linkedin.  It all takes time---TAKES time.  Steals it away.  Do you ever miss simpler times?  Sometimes I do.  I think the key is balance.  Know when to shut it all off.  Make all of these things serve you, not master you.
Knowledge comes at us like a runaway train. But are we any wiser?  Someone once said "wisdom is knowledge applied".  Knowledge itself is useless if not applied. Knowledge that ice cream is full of calories and will cause me to gain weight won't keep me thin if I continue to eat ice cream.  I have to apply that knowledge---I must act on what I know to be true.  I can go to one Bible Study after another and gain all kinds of knowledge, but until I act on it, apply it, live it, that knowledge is worthless.  Pastor Greg Laurie once said being in church won't make you a Christian any more than being in a garage makes you a car or being in McDonald's makes you a hamburger!  With all of our knowledge, the world is not closer to God but drawing farther away---at least here in America.

Someone calculated that the human brain is 18 inches from the heart.  How much Biblical truth is stuck in my head as "knowledge" without traveling that 18 inches to my heart as godly "wisdom"? I know to "fear not", so why am I afraid? I know to "seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness" but still find myself consumed with concern about my earthly "stuff". I know I'm supposed to glorify Jesus with my words, thoughts, and actions; I know that in my head.  But that knowledge isn't always acted on in my heart.  Out of my mouth will come crabby or negative words.  My thoughts will sometimes be judgmental or unkind.  My actions will look no different than the world's actions.  My knowledge isn't helping me. I don't need more knowledge, I need to apply what I know.  This is my prayer:  Lord, instead of my knowledge increasing, please help my wisdom to increase.  Enable me to apply what I already know, in Jesus name.  Amen.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What Shape Are You In?


"J. B. Phillips’ famous translation of Romans 12:2 is “Do not let the world squeeze you into its mold, but instead let yourself be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

It’s easy to apply this to the big things in life: immorality, drunkenness, pornography. But Paul has in view the subtle as well as the obvious, as the next chapters prove. And perhaps the best way to expose our failings in this area is to examine the things we do without thinking. It’s those things that show us what our mind is really like…

So what of you? What of me? Has the world squeezed us into its mold? If so, then Paul’s help is clear. I need to take a view of God’s mercy, and offer my whole self to Christ." Whatever You want me to be, I will be. Wherever You want me to go, I will go. Whatever You want me to do, I will do. Here I am Lord, send me. I hold nothing back." Then, having given myself to Him, I must fill my mind with Him. 

-- Mark Barnes"

This devotional really challenged me today as I began to identify so many ways I had been "squeezed into the world's mold."   For some reason, Jello came to mind!  As long as its in the mold, it will maintain that shape.  But if removed from the mold, it softens a little.  The warmer it gets, the more it loses the shape of the mold.  I'm a lot like that Jello.  As long as I stay in the world through what I watch, read or listen to, the more I take on the shape of the world.  But if I'll remove myself and allow the warmth of Jesus and the fire of His Spirit to heat me up, I lose that worldly shape and I'm available to be molded into the image of Christ.  "I must fill my mind with Him".  Have you checked your shape lately?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peace in the Garden

Yesterday was a breath of fresh air in the midst of troubling times.  I had lunch with a precious friend at Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar.  Its a gorgeous oasis of floral delights tucked just off of the busy Pacific Coast Highway.  They have a patio dining restaurant where you can enjoy delicious food surrounded by visual delights and fabulous fragrance.  Its no secret to the birds and butterflies that fill the place.  I was so refreshed by the peace that was there both in the environment and in the company of a caring friend.

It wasn't until I got back home that I realized every day is an opportunity to enter a place of peace.  Jesus promises to be our peace and offers us peace that passes understanding, and peace that's not as the world gives.  As I walked through my own garden of beautiful roses lovingly tended by my green thumbed husband, I realized that my peace comes from remembering who is in control.  When I see the beauty and symmetry of a rose, when I take in its fragrance, I can't help but think, "If my Father in heaven took that much time to create such beauty in something that lives for only days and then is gone, won't He take so much more time with me to make me a creation of spiritual beauty in His Kingdom?  Will anything in all creation come to me that hasn't gone through His hands first?  And if He allows it, can I believe anything else other than it will be used somehow for my good, even if it isn't "good" in itself?" 

I don't like the way things are right now because its painful.  Pruning always is.  I'm going to remember that as I walk through my own God-given garden each day.  God is in control.  He loves me, and He's doing a work in me.  I will look back on all of this one day and be amazed at His wisdom and love.  And He didn't leave me to walk the path alone.  He has given me cherished friends to walk life's path with me.

"Faith is not about everything turning out OK;
                                     Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

To My True Father

Happy Father's Day to my true Father.  No earthly Dad could have the affect on me that You have had.  You're the perfect balance of grace, mercy, and discipline.  I feel cherished always.  You are my Protector;  I feel safe always as I hide myself in you like a little girl standing behind her Dad.  Yet, you know when to "flip the nest over" and make me fly.  I always hate that, but in the end must admit what You did was the best thing for me.

I pray I carry Your resemblance.  I want Your eyes that I might see things from Your perspective.  I want hands like Yours that I might do the things You do and touch the people You touch.  I want feet just like Yours so I will go only the places You would go.  Most importantly, I want Your heart so I can love like You love at all times.  Your Word says I already have Your mind through my oneness with Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:16), so help me use it more, please.

I hope You feel loved and cherished today, not just by me, but by all of Your children.  I don't know how You make each of us feel like we are so special, but You do.  Because of Your faith in me I can reach for the stars.  Because of the hope I have in You I can face whatever life brings my way.  Because of the joy You fill me with I can rejoice always, even in suffering.  And because of the love you lavish on me there is no longer any emptiness inside of me.  You are my everything, my Abba---Daddy.