Got Wisdom?

God said to Solomon, “Ask What I shall give you.”  (1st Kings 3:5)

I wonder what my reply would have been had had God asked this same question to me.  Solomon’s response was to have an understanding mind that could discern between good and evil… Wisdom.  I’m sad to say that my response would have likely been much more self-centered.  Solomon desired wisdom so that he could lead God’s people according to what is right.  It so pleased God that Solomon requested this thing that He gave it to him abundantly, God also gave him riches and honor even though he did not ask for them.  I’d say there is a lesson here to be learned.

(Proverbs 4:5-9)

Get wisdom, get understanding;

do not forget my words or turn away from them.

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;

love her, and she will watch over you.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get  wisdom.

Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Cherish her, and she will exalt you;

embrace her, and she will honor you.

She will give you a garland to grace your head

and present you with a glorious crown.”

 

I often find myself asking God for things.  My prayer life can too easily become centered around thanking Him for what he has given me, and almost simultaneously asking Him for more.  What God really wants to give us is Himself…. knowledge of Him…. wisdom.  James 1:5 tells us that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” What a great promise!  James 3:7 further instructs, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

“Happy is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.” (Proverbs 3:13)

“He who gets wisdom loves himself.”  (Proverbs 19:8)  

“To get wisdom is better than gold; to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”  (Proverbs 16:16)

Here are 5 simple biblical instructions for getting wisdom:

1)  Desire wisdom with all your might

2)  Apply yourself to study and meditate on the Word of God

3)  Pray

4)  Think of the shortness of our life.  Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that

      we may get a heart of wisdom.”

5)  Get Jesus!  “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us

      wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” 1st

      Corinthians 1:30

 

My simple point this morning is that we should “get wisdom.” We should bend all our efforts to become wiser tomorrow than we are today.   We need wisdom more than we need anything in our life.  Let us examine the focus of our prayers.  Do we ask more frequently for things or for wisdom?  Wisdom = Jesus = Everything we ever need

Like Solomon, may we please God by asking for wisdom instead of things.  We each desire to be blessed, well….. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).  Be hungry and thirsty.  Blessed is Best

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Poke Your Eye Out

I know a guy who cheats on his wife. He cheats on her every day. He cheats on her multiple times a day. He’s a husband and a father and a serial adulterer.

(The words above are those of Matt Walsh, the words below will also be those of Matt.  He is a conservative Christian blogger with a huge following.  Several months ago I told you that we’d follow-up on the issue of pornography at another time.  Now it that time. We’ve all familiar with the old cliche about “not trying to reinvent the wheel.”  I thoroughly enjoyed reading his article on this difficult topic and hope you do too.   If you have victory in this area of your life congratulations, if not, it needs to be addressed or everyone around you will continue to suffer.  Only God can provide you with the strength and victory over this in your life.  Confession is the first step and a prerequisite to every receiving full victory over this stronghold.  Know you are not alone in this battle… unless you are trying to keep it that way.)

I shouldn’t know this fact about him, but it came up in conversation a few days ago. We were talking about the divorce rate; both of us gave our theories as to why the statistics are so high. I mentioned in my diagnosis a few studies that show pornography to be a root cause in over 50 percent of divorces annually.

He laughed. “People don’t get divorced over porn.” He went on to explain that porn isn’t a “big deal” to most people. It’s not “like it’s cheating or something.” He told me that he looks at it multiple times daily. His wife, he insisted, might be a little peeved if she knew the extent of it, but only because women overreact about “that kind of thing.”

What kind of thing? Their husbands spending all day obsessively plunging through the darkest regions of the internet for graphic sexual images of rape, abuse, perversion, exploitation and other forms of filthy depravity previously unknown to mankind?

Yeah. That kind of thing. No reason why any wife should be too upset about that, apparently.

Listen guys, I know this is an uncomfortable conversation. But it’s time we man up and get real about pornography. First things first: if you’re married and you look at porn, you are cheating. Period. From a Christian perspective, this can’t be debated. Christ laid it out very clearly: if you lust after another woman, you have committed adultery. When we look at porn we are choosing to succumb to that lust; we are indulging it, fertilizing it, giving it respite in our minds. We are diving into it headfirst and soaking in it like a sponge. We are lessening ourselves, betraying our wives and participating in the violent exploitation of women (and girls). Or minds and our bodies belong to the Lord and to our wives; pornography, therefore, intrudes on their domain. If we look at porn, we are adulterers. We are adulterers in all the worst ways.

We don’t even need to refer to Scripture to figure out the simple equation that porn equals adultery.  Why wouldn’t it?

Because you aren’t physically in contact with another woman?

So what? That’s merely a matter of semantics and circumstance. The absence of physical touch doesn’t automatically free you of the scarlet letter — if it did, ‘sexting’ with other women would be fair game, I suppose. How would you feel if you looked through your wife’s phone and found racy, sexually graphic text messages she’d sent to a man at her office? Would you be alright with it as long as she could prove she never had any physical contact with him? Or is that totally different because she knows the guy, whereas porn is anonymous and impersonal? See, we find ourselves constructing many arbitrary lines of distinction when we are determined to rationalize behavior we instinctively know to be immoral and wrong.

But, OK, what if she didn’t know the guy? What if she was engaging in “fantasies” with men she never met? Imagine that, in your cyber travels, you stumbled upon a porn site featuring pictures and videos of a particularly alluring young female: your wife. How would that sit with you? Your wife selling digital sex all over the internet — how would you like that? It might cause a bit of a marital dispute, wouldn’t you say?

If you wouldn’t want your wife being a porn provider, you ought to understand why she wouldn’t want you to be a porn consumer. If you wouldn’t want her to invite and encourage other men to violate her in their minds, you ought to understand why she wouldn’t want you to accept the invitation to violate other women in yours.

I don’t mean to concentrate only on married men. Porn is poison for everyone, married or not. And I’m not here to castigate you if you’ve stumbled. We live in a society that preys upon a man’s weaknesses, shoving sex into his face at hyper speed every day, all day, all of the time. This isn’t an excuse; just an attempt to put things into context. I won’t yell at a guy who fights a porn addiction anymore than I’d yell at a guy who fights a crack addiction. But at least the crack addict likely won’t encounter very many people (besides his dealer) who will tell him that it’s actually healthy to smoke crack. If he ventures outside of the abandoned shack where he scores his dope, he probably won’t find any respectable people who will say, “hey, crack isn’t a big deal — it’s totally natural to smoke crack, man!” In that way, the crack smoker has a leg up on the porn addict. The porn addict, by contrast, has to fight both the compulsion itself and the myriad of creeps who will try to convince him that it’s all just a bit of innocent fun.

That’s a lie, of course. It’s not innocent. It’s not fun.

I could cite for you the mounds of psychiatric research proving the detrimental effects of pornography on the brain. But you can do that research yourself.

I could tell you about sex slavery, human trafficking, drug abuse, and child molestation, and I could explain how the porn industry wouldn’t exist without these necessary ingredients. But these are conclusions you can draw on your own, if ever you take even a moment to think about it.

I could remind you that these women you find on your porn sites might not be women at all — they could be children — and there’s no way for you to know for sure. I could then point out that any avid porn customer has most likely at some point been a child porn customer, whether he knew it or not. But this is, indeed, an obvious and inescapable reality.

I could tell you that many children view graphic porn for the first time before the age of 12. I could tell you that we haven’t even begun to reap the atrocious fruits that will come from an entire generation raised on the heinous perversions of internet pornography. But it’s probably too late for these warnings.

So what is left? Perhaps nothing, really. Pornography is evil, empty, deadening, dirty — this is something we all know. That’s why, unless you are either psychotic or utterly despicable, you wouldn’t want your daughter to get into the porn business. That’s why most people hide their porn habits. That’s why it still isn’t considered acceptable to browse “adult” websites at your desk at work or at a table in Starbucks (although people still do, in both scenarios). That’s why you only find porn shops and strip clubs in the slummy, rundown parts of town. No matter how hedonistic and “open minded” we become, we still recognize porn as something that ought to be stowed away in the dank, dark corners of our lives. This is Natural Law, and we can’t escape it. We have an innate understanding of right and wrong, whether we want it or not.

Married men: I think we should be spending our free time with our families, or reading interesting books so that we can sharpen our minds, or building things, or exercising, or doing anything else that will make us better men. Porn will not make you a better man. It will make you smaller. It will make you a liar. It will kill that instinct inside you that calls you to protect and honor women. It will turn you into something you never wanted to be. It will turn you into a sneaky, shameful pervert.

It will turn you into an adulterer.

Let's Make A Deal

Pastor Dan Travis pointed out something in his sermon last week that I’ve been guilty of many times before.  There have been so many times I’ve wanted to “make a deal” with God, if He does… then I will.  Is this a strategy in your relationship with God?  I’m sure we have all been guilty of this at one time or another.  The last time I did this in my heart was less than a day before this relationship method was pointed out by Pastor.

God already made a deal with us and there is no need for little side deals.  He has given us many promises and everything that we need is found in Him.  The past several weeks have been a real challenge for me both physically and spiritually.   The spiritual struggle seems to be a result of my physical issues.  I’ve just not felt well for several weeks and it has impacted the quality of my 1:1 time with God.  As a result, this blog post you are reading was not composed until just yesterday.  Typically, I have them written at least a week in advance and sometimes I’m several weeks ahead.

Back to playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with God… These are the words of Paul as found in 2nd Corinthians 11:23-30

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Phew! Paul’s list is a bit overwhelming. Imagine if that happened to you? If I were in his shoes I’d be thinking: “What, God? I did all these wonderful things in Your name, and you still let me get stuck in jail! Come on now, why do I keep getting beat up and shipwrecked? Isn’t there someone else you could bestow these ‘privileges’ on and give me a break?”

But Paul didn’t base his obedience on the fact that God was going to do something great for him—or that God was going to make his life easy. He knew that living a righteous life didn’t guarantee that he would be healthy, wealthy, and wise.

He didn’t say, “God, if you do x, y, and z in my life, I’ll obey.”

Instead he said, “I will obey.” Period!

Wow. Isn’t that amazing? Paul’s obedience was his response to salvation. He had a right standing before God, and nothing else mattered. Whether good things or bad things happened to him, his faith was immovable.  He believed God when He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

This is the attitude we need to have. After all, God rescued us and made us holy. He saved us from eternity in hell. We should follow Paul’s example and obey the Lord because we love Him, not because we expect worldly blessings in return.  May this be my new attitude… may it be yours.  Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

I recently read a news article about a man in Georgia who accidentally left his 22-month-old child in his car while he went into work, resulting in the death of the child.  This man was supposed to drop his child off at daycare but obviously there were other things on this man’s mind.  We have all forgotten things, made bad decisions, mistakes…. This however will undoubtedly change this man’s life forever.  He will have a lot of time to think about this as he sits in jail without bond, facing a murder charge with an added felony of cruelty to children in the first degree.  “What have I done? What have I done? I’ve killed our child!”  were the words witnesses heard him scream after trying to resuscitate his child.

For some reason I believe this father loved his child dearly.  I have no actual proof, but I can just vision the moments of him playing peek-a-boo, changing diapers, and making funny faces… in every way trying to provide security, protection, and love for his child.  There is no love like that between a parent and a child.  I cant help but to wonder what was on this man’s mind as he drove to work that made him forget his son was in his car?  Was it work?  Did he have a fight with his wife?  Was he in horrible debt? Did him mom develop cancer?  We will never know what he was thinking about… May I be so bold as to propose what I do not believe he was thinking about that morning?  God.  (Reports have since speculated that there is a possibility the father may have intentionally left his kid in the car)

I’m going to speculate here, attempting not to judge as I do not know the relationship this man may have with the Lord.  It is just that the Bible is filled with scriptures of God’s protection for those who love Him.  This is not to say that nothing bad will ever happen to a God fearing person.  I just want to make this point so that we can understand the importance of being in a right relationship with God to help provide security and protection for our family.  Here are just 2 of the many, many scriptures that refer to God being our protector.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge — no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. (Psalm 91:9-10)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in thee. (Psalm 84:11-12)

The other night I was not feeling well, this caused me to wake up around 1:00 am and headed downstairs to get in the hot tub.  (This tends to make me temporarily feel better and allows me to fall back to sleep easily)  As I hopped in the hot tub I could heard rumblings of thunder nearby, soon a drizzle began to fall.  Laying in the water, beginning to pray, I heard a small voice say “sunroof.”  I immediately remembered that my son had driven my truck and left the sunroof open, I jumped out and ran to my truck…. beating the downpour by mere seconds.   Ironically, this event occurred on the same day that this man left his child in the car.  I’d give my truck and much more for this man to have back his son.  I can’t help but to wonder if God tried to warn him also, but he was unable to hear His voice because of so many things going through his mind.  This too is a question of which we cannot answer.

How many times does God try to help us, yet we are so preoccupied with everything but him that we are rendered deaf to hearing Him?  Psalm 91:14, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;  I will protect him, because he knows my name.”  We are told in Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Similarly, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is safe. Proverbs 18:10.  We could go on and on, but you get the point.  We are safest, our family is safest, when we as men dwell with God in a right relationship.  Do not underestimate this.

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalm 18:30

Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

I Am Man

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runs into it and is safe.”

Proverbs 18:10

By the time this blog article is posted I would have had the opportunity to share at a men’s breakfast my thoughts on man’s responsibility to provide security and protection.  As a husband and father I’d previously given very little thought into this matter.  This is unfortunate because it is a core responsibility of the godly leader of a household.  Upon researching this matter I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a  twofold responsibility: to provide daily physical security and protection, and daily spiritual security and protection.

Physical security and protection applies in many ways.  It starts with basic things at a young age:  installing electrical outlet protectors, cover sharp corners of furniture,  child gates, not leaving sharp tools laying around, etc.   As a child grows older it changes into other things: don’t touch this… it is hot or sharp, hold my hand, look both ways when crossing the street, maybe even strapping your kid into a harness leash, and let us not forget stop, drop, and roll.

Eventually they become teenagers, this yet again brings a whole new level of responsibilities related to providing security and protection:  dating, driving, financial responsibility…..

During all these years we must focus on the broader picture by working hard to provide a life that enables us to drive safer cars, attend safer schools, live in safer neighborhoods, etc.  One lapse in judgment at anytime can unfortunately have drastic, sometimes irreversible consequences.   Thankfully, we each have a Father in heaven who is willing and able to provide us and our families with security and protection.

It is in God where we will find true security and protection.  The Bible is full of promises and examples of God’s desire to provide security and protection for the righteous.  Two examples are 2nd Thessalonians 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one,” and “For you have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy” Psalm 61:3.

Our ability to provide security and protection for our family is rooted in our ability to personally keep God as priority #1 in our own life.  In doing this we are to love our wives as our own bodies… willing to lay our life down for them (Ephesians 5:25), and  “Train up a child in the way he should go;  even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). It is now time for me to confess.

I’ve failed to be this kind of spiritual leader in my household for many years.  I’ve had times of relationship with Christ and times of a Christ “religion” of the past 16 years.  I’ve been able to help keep my family physically safe for all these years, but what about spiritually?  Since I’ve been convicted of all the these following questions, may I pass them on to you:  Do you consistently pray for and with your wife and kids?  Do you set the example for the daily reading of the Word and spending time alone with God?  Do you model the qualities of Christ in your life?  Do you serve graciously to meet the needs of your wife and children?  Do you speak to your family in a way that shows that you trust in God and love God more than anything else in your life?

Personally, I’ve failed with an “F” in basically every area listed above (maybe a few C’s mixed in). I want to be done being a failure in my responsibility to be the spiritual leader of my house.  I’ve seen progress over the last 9 months of my life… I do however desire so much more than where I am right now.  It is a battle brothers, Fight!

I’d like to cover one more area of this topic before wrapping it up.  I can’t help but to think about a man named Achan.  The story is recorded in Joshua 7 of how he sinned by keeping for himself some of the plunder from Jericho that God had devoted for His own use. For his sin all of Israel was punished in the Battle of Ai in which the lives of 36 soldiers were taken in a route, eventually Achan’s entire family was put to death for the sin of their father… “they burned them with fire and stoned them with stones” Joshua 7:25.

What about Korah’s rebellion as recorded in Numbers 16.  Korah rebelled against Moses’ leadership and God’s swift judgement caused the earth to open up and swallow him up and all the households that belonged to Korah.  Do you have sin in your life that is affecting your family?  A godly leader recognizes that their sin goes far beyond their own life, impacting their wife and children.  Therefore, I plead with you that out of your love for your wife and children, out of compassion for them, out of a desire to serve them, live a holy life.  Flee sin, put it to death, and pursue holiness.  In this way you will be protecting your family from sin and the effects of your sin.  As a godly leader, the greatest gift you can give your family is a silent, hidden decision to refrain from pursuing sin.  Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal