Tag Archives: Wisdom

What would we ask of God?

We’ve all heard jokes about being granted a wish by a genie, but what if God showed up to grant us a request? This actually happened to a guy I know who was very serious about following God.

You can read about it yourself in 1 Kings 3:1-15. That guy was none other than Solomon, son of King David. After David’s death, Solomon became the next King of Israel. After completing the Temple God showed up in a dream to grant Solomon whatever he wanted.

Solomon could have requested anything of God but asked for wisdom to lead the people of Israel. It was a very selfless request and God was very pleased with Solomon.

In fact, God was so pleased that He gave Solomon not only what he asked for but more.

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. ~ 1 Kings 3:10-13

People came from far and wide to learn from Solomon. And he penned thousands of proverbs because he wanted everyone to benefit from what God was teaching him.

But it didn’t last…

As wise as Solomon was, he broke God’s boundaries and married women from other nations. God had not placed this restriction on Israel because He was a racist but because He knew that if they let themselves be influenced by people of other nations they would eventually be led into worshipping false, pagan gods.

As selfless and respectable as Solomon’s request was, I believe his father David made an even better request.

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4

Solomon wanted wisdom to serve God well.

David wanted more of God’s presence.

We don’t have to wait for a dream or special visit from God. We are made in His image and exercise a free will. We choose what matters most to us every day by what we give our time, attention and energy to pursuing.

Will we choose the presence of God above everything else today?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Desire, Divine presence, God, intimacy with the Lord, Loving God, Priorities, Relationship with God, The Story, Wisdom

Are we wise or foolish?

If pressed to make a choice between whether we were wise or foolish, I’m guessing that most of us would say we were wise. But are we?

Contrary to popular opinion, the difference doesn’t have anything to do with position or intelligence or talent or wealth. Plenty of wise and foolish people can be found in all walks of life. The real issue is one of being teachable.

According to King Solomon, the one major difference between a wise person from a foolish person is this: how a person receives instruction and correction. (See, for example, Proverbs 1:5; 9:8–9; 10:8; 12:15; 15:12; 17:10; and 19:20.)

A foolish person tends to:

  • Not listen or take to heart when others offer input.
  • Avoid responsibility and shifts blame.
  • Not make any necessary changes.

wise person tends to:

  • Listen without getting defensive or upset.
  • Accepts responsibility without blaming others or making excuses.
  • Makes necessary changes without delay.

None of us is completely wise or foolish but somewhere in between. I suppose the better question might be: “In which direction are we heading, towards the wise or the foolish end of the spectrum?”

And if we really want an answer to that question we need to ask it of those closest to us: our spouse, our kids, our friends…

Nowhere is the issue of being teachable more important than in the church among those who claim to be followers of Jesus.

When  we gather with the body of Christ for a class or worship service are we coming with open hearts and minds to receive whatever it is that God might be wanting to teach us?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Church, Discipleship, Heart, involvement with the church, Wisdom

What to ask yourself before you make any decision

Like a good father, God wants what’s best for each of us. So He has given us a standard that goes beyond the cultural norms. He has given us a question that enables us to live out the values that lead to what Jesus referred to as an abundant life (see John 10:10). Not a barely get by life. Not a life of regret. An abundant life.

But the question He gave us is not, Is there anything wrong with it? 

The question is, Is it the wise thing to do? 

To foolproof your life, you must ask it of every invitation, every opportunity, every relationship. What is the wise thing for me to do?

Our heavenly Father never intended for us to live life at the level of what’s permissible, legal, acceptable, and not prosecutable. To do so is tantamount to organizing our lives around the question, How close can I get to sin without sinning? Now there’s a standard. Instead, we are meant to analyze every opportunity and invitation through the lens of wisdom.
~ Excerpted from The Best Question Ever by Andy Stanley

Andy is expressing the same principle that Paul gives in his first letter to the disciples in Corinth.

“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:23

Paul understood that we are free in Christ (Galatians 5:1)! Paul understood that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1)! Paul saw all of this is great news! But the question remains; what will we do with it?

Will we use our freedom in Christ to make decisions that please us and serve our purposes? Or will we use it wisely to embrace real life and further God’s kingdom agenda?

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Filed under God's Will, Kingdom of God, Life in General, Wisdom

The choice is ours

Recently I read an interesting fictional story with a good life lesson that we all need to be reminded of once in a while.

High in the Himalayan mountains lived a wise old man.

Periodically, he ventured down into the local village to entertain the villagers with his special knowledge and talents. One of his skills was to psychically tell the villagers the contents in their pockets, boxes, or minds.

A few young boys from the village decided to play a joke on the wise old man and discredit his special abilities.

One boy came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew of course, the wise old man would know the object in his hands was a bird.

The boy devised a plan.

Knowing the wise old man would correctly state the object in his hands was a bird, the boy would ask the old man if the bird was dead or alive. If the wise man said the bird was alive, the boy would crush the bird in his hands, so that when he opened his hands the bird would be dead.

But, If the wise man said the bird was dead, the boy would open his hands and let the bird fly free. So not matter what the old man said, the boy would prove the old man a fraud.

The following week, the wise old man came down from the mountain into the village. The boy quickly caught a bird and cupping it out of sight in his hands, walked up to the wise old man and asked, “Old man, old man, what is it that I have in my hands?”

The wise old man said, “You have a bird, my son.” And he was right.

The boy then asked, “Old man, old man, tell me: Is the bird alive or is it dead?”

The wise old man looked at the boy, thought for a moment and said, “The bird is as you choose it to be.”

And so it is with our life. The power is in our hands. Certainly, there are aspects of life beyond our control. But consider that which is in our control. Our outlook. Our attitude. Our words. Our choices.

God has given us a great gift—our life. What will we do with it?

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Filed under Choices, Life in General, Wisdom