Tag Archives: wisdom

James 1:1-4:10

I have a calendar where I write down my training plan for each month. I write what I hope to accomplish and what I did accomplish toward that goal. It helps me to get my head around what I need to do, and to make forward progress toward a goal (race). One thing I learned this year was that I couldn’t just wing a half marathon. I had to train for it. I learned that lesson in October during a half marathon where I had slacked over the summer on the training, and I wasn’t prepared for the distance. (It was a physically painful lesson.) Because of that experience, I have a deep and serious respect for training.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:2-8, NIV

While I can plan what races I want to run and create a training plan to support them, I don’t always know what the day holds in other regards. I don’t always get a warning of conflict, disappointment, loss, or challenge awaiting me. And I tend to lose sight of the purpose and point when I fail to look at life through a kingdom lens. These verses in James redirect my focus. They reset my perspective. And because I tend to relate everything to running, I get it. God is training me. He is growing me so that I may be mature and complete. Not only that, but God is always with me, always ready and willing to give me wisdom–generously!–because he wants me to finish strong–it’s for his glory! God knows what’s ahead, and he’s preparing me. But if I go through my days failing to recognize this training, I can easily let my thoughts or emotions take control instead of my faith.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

James 1:19-22, NIV

Father God, I am grateful for your word. All the time. I’m grateful that when I come near to you, you are near to me. So tender. So willing. So loving. Help me to keep a kingdom focus. Help me to mature in my walk with you, for your glory.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 24:1-27:10

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.” Proverbs 24:13&14 NLT

I think about the little old lady who sits near me at church. Her face seems to exude wisdom, shining from her soul. I see her raising her hands in worship and wonder what her story is. She has a quiet trust about her. I am thankful for the wisdom of Christians who are farther along in their walk with the Lord than me. For their example and faith.

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28 NLT

What am I letting into my soul that might be causing me to lack self-control?

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry. Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in the summer. They revive the the spirit of their employer.” Proverbs 25:12-14 NLT

Lord, give me discernment to know when to offer advice. As well as to listen when someone offers criticism. I think of all the times I have been too easily offended. Help me to keep my heart open to hear what You might be saying through a trusted friend or mentor.

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you that I can pray for wisdom and you will freely give it. Thank for for your Holy Spirit who counsels me in all things. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Proverbs 8:12-11:11

I worked the finish line of a triathlon with a group of women. We handed out finisher medals, bottles of water, managed stats, and took off the athletes’ ankle timing straps. While we waited, we shared (mostly running) stories and got to know each other a little better. Very soon, I realized the company I kept: these women were swimmers, cyclists, marathon, duathlon, triathlon, and ultra running athletes. One woman started running ultras in her 50s. Another woman was 65 and a frequent marathon runner. Spending time with them not only inspired me, it completely reset my mindset on what I thought was possible at my age and experience.

Yesterday as I read about wisdom, for the first time, I saw her as a sister. Today, she tells me about herself, and I have that same wonder and awe I felt at the race.

I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
    I possess knowledge and discretion.

13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
    I have insight, I have power.

15 By me kings reign
    and rulers issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
    and nobles—all who rule on earth.
17 I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.

18 With me are riches and honor,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.

22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
    before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
    at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
    when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
    before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
    or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30     Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.
(Proverbs 8:12-31, NIV, emphasis mine)

She speaks, and it sounds like a secret, a promise, a reward. But it’s no secret. It was there all along.

“Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:32-36, NIV)

I reflect on choices that I’ve made, that people I know and care for have made. I felt a sadness in some instances because the consequence brought sadness (or worse). Examining the steps one chose, I wondered then how the Lord loves us–how he wants us to grow and make good choices: choosing him. And how choice can bring sadness (or worse) apart from him. But still, we have choice (and what a magnificent, terrifying, enormous, eternal responsibility to steward!).

As I read on, wisdom sets a table and offers an invitation. Folly does too. Wisdom, prudence, insight follow in these beginning proverbs. Folly does too.

Which table do I choose? Whose company do I keep? Wisdom calls and truly resets my mindset on what is possible–even at my age.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 5:15-8:11 

I was in a store recently, and amid the visual feast, the crowd of people, the murmur of background noise, a couple familiar notes called out from a sensory mix. An old, familiar song–one I knew by heart. Just a couple of notes, and I honed in on them, casting aside everything else that clamored for my attention. It actually felt like reaching through a great crowd, to single in on a reaching hand and grasp it, pulling it close to me. Some words stand out on a page to me like that. Before I even get through a reading, these words stand out, call out–old … familiar … ones I’ve kept in my heart, part of a broader focus.

For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
    and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
    the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
    led astray by their own great folly. (Proverbs 5:21-23, NIV, emphasis added)

And

My son, keep my words
    and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
    guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and to insight, “You are my relative.” (Proverbs 7:1-4, NIV, emphasis added)

And

Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
At the highest point along the way,
    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,
    at the entrance, she cries aloud:
“To you, O people, I call out;
    I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.[d] (Proverbs 8:1-5, NIV, emphasis added. Notation for “set your hearts on it” is “instruct your minds.”)

Lord, thank you for passages that call out to me from all of life’s distractions, to grasp your hand in the crowd, and for this time to focus in on your voice. You repeat these words to me–discipline, wisdom, prudence–to get my attention. In my heart’s desire for a sister, you offer me wisdom, and this is a great tenderness and mercy.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Chronicles 29:20-30; 2 Chronicles 1:1-4:10

I think on the the things that belong to God. If he is their God, are they not his too?

20 Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the Lord your God.” So they all praised the Lord, the God of their fathers; they bowed down, prostrating themselves before the Lord and the king. (1 Chronicles 29:20, NIV)

The Lord’s presence is felt and acknowledged.

21 The next day they made sacrifices to the Lord and presented burnt offerings to him: a thousand bulls, a thousand rams and a thousand male lambs, together with their drink offerings, and other sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. 22 They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the Lord that day.

Then they acknowledged Solomon son of David as king a second time, anointing him before the Lord to be ruler and Zadok to be priest. (1 Chronicles 29:21-22, NIV, emphasis added)

I notice his presence.

Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great. (2 Chronicles 1:1, NIV, emphasis added)

Solomon goes to meet the Lord and offer sacrifices. And the Lord meets him.

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” (2 Chronicles 1:7-12, NIV)

When I realize what is the Lord’s, it changes things. My time. My life. My body. My ability. My home. My family. These are things the Lord has given me to steward for a time. And when I face this reality, why would I lean on my own limited understanding? Why would I not seek the Lord for his infinite wisdom?

Lord, when I prepare to work today, may I remember you in all the things. When I clean, when I weed, when I run, when I eat, when I interact with others–may I care for what you’ve given me with respect, tenderness and love. When Israel’s sacrifices were of the best, why wouldn’t I bring my best to you too? I want you in all the parts of my life. Without you, I wither and shrink. With you, I grow and thrive, fruitful.

Courtney (66books365)

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