August 25, 2013

Wisdom Living – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I’m not sure of the accuracy of this story, but Alan Smith in his excellent “Thought for the Day” tells it for the truth!

Mensa is an organization whose members have an IQ of 140 or higher. A few years ago, there was a Mensa convention in San Francisco, and several members lunched at a local cafe. While dining, they discovered that their salt shaker contained pepper and their pepper-shaker was full of salt. How could they swap the contents of the bottles without spilling, and using only the implements at hand? Clearly this was a job for Mensa! The group debated and presented ideas, and finally came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw, and an empty saucer. They called the waitress over to dazzle her with their solution.

“Ma’am,” they said, “we couldn’t help but notice that the pepper-shaker contains salt and the salt shaker….”

“Oh,” the waitress interrupted. “Sorry about that.” She unscrewed the caps of both bottles and switched them!

This story clearly illustrates that being smart is not the same as being wise. One can possess a great deal of knowledge, but lack wisdom. Nor does High IQ always translate into the practical application of daily living.

Wisdom living is needed if we are to make the most of our opportunities, please God and apply His will to our lives. This is the second in a three-part post from Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:15-17

“Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is”

Live Wise

To really live wise, we must realize there are two kinds of wisdom: Worldly wisdom and Spiritual wisdom. The Bible teaches that worldly wisdom is based on that which is earthly. It’s not spiritually based. It appeals to the lusts of the flesh. The lusts of the eyes. And the boastful pride of life. It produces bitterness. Envy. Jealousy. Selfish ambition. Disorder. And evil practices. Now, if you doubt this is so, just watch the news for a couple of days! The sad state of our society confirms the folly of following worldly wisdom (I John 2:15-17; James 3:13-16).

Conversely there is a wisdom that comes from following the will of God. It’s wisdom based upon spiritual precepts and principles. It originates from the divine nature of God. And the nobility of lofty thinking. It is wisdom unmixed by guile. It is gentle  Peaceable. Merciful. Considerate. Impartial. Sincere. Submissive. (James 3:17-18). Objectively look at a Christian man or woman who is guided by God’s wisdom without partiality and hypocrisy, and you will see what I mean!

The Days are Evil

The importance of wisdom living is underscored by the fact we live in perilous times. The days are evil. People are ungodly. And the world is trying to squeeze us into it’s mold. However, we must resist. Don’t be foolish. Don’t follow the folly of carnal enticements. Sensual allurements. Or worldly wisdom.

I know there have always been evil days. Sin is the perpetual problem of human kind. And temptation is common challenge we’ve always faced. Yet this is a unique era. Technology has changed everything. Information is instant. Temptation is just a click away. And the engagement in sin just a nanosecond. This calls for careful living. Greater wisdom. Moral restraint.

Making the Most of Our Opportunities

If we are going to make the most of our lives, our time, and our opportunities, we must engage in careful living. Wisdom Living. And recognition of the challenges that daily confront us. … My advice to all Christians would be Paul’s admonition: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  (Colossians 4:5)

 

 

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August 11, 2013

Restoring Our Focus – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

William Hinson explains why animal trainers carry a stool when they go into a cage of lions. They have their whips, of course, and their pistols are at their sides. But invariably they also carry a stool. Hinson says it’s the most important tool of the trainer. He holds the stool by the back and thrusts the legs toward the face of the wild animal. He maintains that the animal tries to focus on all four legs at once. In the attempt to focus on all four, a kind of paralysis overwhelms the animal, and it becomes tame, weak, and disabled because its attention is fragmented

When I heard that story I thought it describes our society today that has lost focus on what is really important in life. Things like virtue, honor, integrity, and spiritual values. And because we are all influenced by our culture, it impacts the Christian community. Instead of seeking to transform culture through Christ, it is often easy to become conformed.

To help us stay focused, the church where I preach in Kansas City, Missouri, has as our theme this year: RESTORING OUR FOCUS. Why? Because, it’s easy for Christians to forget who we are. Why we are here. And what our purpose is about.

Sin may have blinded us.

Christians sin? Yes! We are not perfect just pardoned! The Bible warns us about sin affecting our spiritual vision.

“But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (I John 2:11) Darkness or sin will blind our eyes and cause us to lose focus.

We have heard the statement he is “blind with jealousy.” Or “blind rage.” Sins of disposition such as anger, bitterness, and lack of forgiveness blind us to God’s way.

Our vision may be clouded by cares of this world

Business concerns, family, activities, and personal interests can cloud our vision of spiritual things. Just trying to make it in this world can consume our time, effort and energy to the point where we fail to see beyond the world’s smog.

Jesus also warned about the “cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches” (Matt 13:22-23). They can divert our focus. Blur our vision. Choke out the Word. And cause us to become unfruitful.

We may have lost sight of our goal.

How often do we get caught up in the circumstances around us and lose sight of the goal? Rick Warren was right when he wrote, “Vision is the ability to see the opportunities within your current circumstances.”

Circumstances don’t have to be bad to divert our attention. Sometimes good fortune can lead us away from our values. All circumstances, good or bad, have the potential to help us on our spiritual journey. To draw us closer to God. To focus our attention on “the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls” (2 Peter 1:9).

Emotional distractions may have us focused on the wrong things.

Worry is a huge distraction . Worry saps our energy, weakens our resolve and dims our focus. In His Mountain Message Jesus said “don’t worry about tomorrow.” Fear keeps us from focusing. Fear makes the thing we fear bigger than it is really is. Jesus says to us , “Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Discouragement can deflect our focus. Quit looking on outward things and focus on inward things. (2 Cor 4:16-18)

Have you allowed your spiritual focus to become clouded, blurred, or even totally lost? Then join us in this quest to restore focus! Where to begin?

The Psalmist said, “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.” (Ps 119:18) God’s Word will restore spiritual sight to those blinded by sin, lift the fog that is obscuring your vision and enlighten your spiritual eyes.

 

 

August 4, 2013

“But That Would Mean That We’ve Always Been Wrong – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

People think what they think, mostly because of what they have always thought. They don’t like to rethink. (Some just don’t like to think.) Consequently, traditional ideas are very fixed in the thought process and are often very difficult to correct despite the best efforts of truth and reason.

When you hear something different from what you have always heard, how do you react? Respect for and love of truth should prevail over everything…over natural defensive tendencies, over pride, over respect for renowned preachers, over parents and grandparents, over whatever.

“But that would mean that we’ve always been wrong!”

This is a typical, understandable response (sometimes unspoken). “We’ve really tried to serve God faithfully and now, it appears that we are wrong.” Strong emotions flood the thought process and make objectivity very difficult.

The only real, dependable solution is a stronger, overpowering love of truth. Jesus said He is the embodiment of truth, that truth is what makes us free. It is regard for truth that distinguishes the chosen. It is the fundamental characteristic of a noble heart.

Please consider some examples, from an article by Andy Diestelkamp, that demonstrate this mental struggle, this intellectual warfare between truth and error.

“Martin Luther, while on trial before Charles V with his life at stake, said, ‘Unless I shall have been convinced by the witness of Scripture or of evident proof from reason-for I do not believe either pope or councils by themselves, since it is agreed that these have often made mistakes and contradicted themselves-I am overcome by the Scriptures I have quoted, my conscience is captive to God’s Word: I cannot, I will not, revoke anything, for to act against conscience is neither safe nor honest.’”

“The response of Charles V to others after Luther had been escorted away was, ‘A single monk led astray by private judgment has set himself against the faith held by all Christians for a thousand years or more and impudently concludes that all Christians up to now have been in error.’ Notice that King Charles did not respond to Luther with scripture as requested, but with tradition. For Charles to admit that Luther was right would have been to admit that he and many others before him had been wrong. That was unimaginable to Roman Catholic leadership and therefore Luther was denounced as a heretic.”

“Interestingly, Luther also fell prey to the same kind of reasoning several years later on the subject of infant baptism. ‘If [infant] baptism were not right, it would follow that for more than a thousand years there was no baptism or any Christendom, which is impossible. But the fact that child baptism has spread throughout all the Christian world to this day gives rise to no probability that it is wrong, but rather to a strong indication that it is right.’”

“Christendom (as defined by Luther) had practiced infant baptism for a thousand years and throughout the world. Therefore he reasoned that it was right. For him to have admitted that infant baptism was without scriptural justification would have been to admit that what he perceived to be popular (orthodox) Christianity had been wrong for a millennium.”

“This attitude was seen in the 1960s when the Roman Catholic Church was debating the issue of birth control. The first working paper of the Papal Birth Control Commission contained the following quote, ‘If contraception were not intrinsically evil, in honesty it would have to be acknowledged that the Holy Spirit assisted Protestant churches, and that for half a century a great part of the Catholic hierarchy condemned most imprudently, under the pain of eternal punishment, thousands upon thousands of human acts which are now approved. For the Church to have erred so gravely in its responsibility of leading souls would be tantamount to seriously suggesting that the assistance of the Holy Spirit was lacking to her.’”

The examples of conversion in the New Testament not only demonstrate how to be saved, but are also powerful demonstrations of how noble hearts respond to truth…truth that is radically different from what had been devoutly believed to be true. No doubt they all thought, “But that would mean that we’ve always been wrong!” Pride, renowned teachers, parents and grandparents pulled on their heart-strings. Truth weighed more and pulled harder.

God’s eternal word is the truth. It carries more weight than anything in this world which will soon be burned up. It is understandable, but foolish to allow “what we have always sincerely believed and practiced” to out-weigh the God-breathed words of Scripture.