Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where does Wisdom come from?

Oh dear, I apoligize for the lack of proof-reading today.  Allergies and busy life have slowed me down a bit. 

Where does wisdom come from?  I can teach knowledge to my daughters.  I can encourage discernment with discussions and opportunities.  Where can I get wisdom so that I can pass it on to my daughters? 
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction,” (Proverbs 1:7).
“…then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding,” (Proverbs 2:5,6).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” (Proverbs 3:5,6).
Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials…” (Proverbs 24:21)

I recently heard that “the Fear of the LORD” is mentioned twenty times in the book of Proverbs alone.  Repetition is a crucial part of learning something important.  The Bible makes it abundantly clear that wisdom comes from God.  I can not study enough to get it.  I can not absorb it by hanging around the right people.  I have to receive wisdom from God or it is simply my own understanding.  I can read the Bible, take a scripture reference, and apply it to a situation; however, that alone is not wisdom.  The Bible is misused all the time by those who hate it, who misunderstand it, or who seek to discredit it.  So simply reading the Bible will not make you wise anymore than going to church on Sundays makes you a Christian (I really prefer the term “believer”).  I studied all kinds of books in college.  I had to take them apart and interpret their subliminal messages.  As an English Major, I became pretty good at making a text say just about anything I wanted it to.  You don’t even want to know what one of my professors tried to convince a class about any mention of bells in Charles Dickens’s novels.  Wisdom doesn’t come from me.  Wisdom doesn’t come from reading the Bible.  Wisdom comes with the Fear of the LORD. 

What does it mean to fear the Lord?  I don’t think it means I should cower in a corner while I wait for God to smite me for my sins.  I don’t even think it means I should live in fear of fire and brimstone, because I have seen the difference it makes when my children obey me out of fear and when they obey out of respect.  Fear can make a person act a certain way, but respect includes a heartfelt trust that fear is lacking.  I believe that I should respect God for all His qualities; omniscience, omnipotence, and unconditional love for all.  If I show respect to God for these qualities then I will live with a humble affection for God’s will because I know He only wants what is best for me.  My respect, or Fear of the LORD, will be apparent in my integrity and in the choices I make. 
A pastor at our church recently did an excellent sermon on “The Healthiest Fear” if you would like to hear more on this topic. 
I can not expect to pass wisdom on to my daughters unless I can find it myself.  I can not find wisdom unless I recognize where it comes from.  The world would have us and our daughters believe that wisdom comes from many places, and that it is subjective to the individual.  We know better.  How have you lived your life this week in such a way as to model a Fear of the LORD?  Start with the smaller daily stuff; I bet there are more examples than you realize.  Were you mindful of God’s priorities when you: set your weekly schedule; planned out what to make for dinner; picked out new clothes for your daughters; did something outside your comfort zone that you knew God would be proud of?

“By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew,” (Proverbs 3:19,20).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Twilight Tuesday 2

What is it about the Twilight series that is so intoxicating to girls and women alike?  God made woman, whether young or old, for his own purposes and with qualities to enable those purposes.  As I pointed out in Wooing Wisdom, romance creates a feeling of value in women.   Women, no matter what age, will equate pursuit of our time and attention with a feeling of safety.   Bella is pursued in a “loving” way by so many characters in the books that it would be impossible not to feel wanted, adored, and…safe.  God created us to be the moon to His sun; to reflect a need for relationship.  We need a relationship with God.  There is safety in that relationship.  We can name the craving (romance) but we forget the reason we have the craving in the first place (to lead us to God).
            There are also some great books out there on love languages and how we prefer to be told we are loved, but the fact that we are looking for that love is indisputable.  We know we should be sought after, but we might have forgotten that God was already putting great effort and time (thousands of years) into winning our hearts.  Do our daughters know that Jesus knew exactly what he was getting into when he went to Jerusalem?  As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem,” (Luke 9:51).  Jesus knowingly walked into a very painful death for them because he cared so much for their souls. 
            In a world of fast food and texting, God’s love and attention is not…as immediately satisfying.  With billboards, magazine covers, television ads, and internet gossip/news; romance is often confused with the flesh that is plastered all over.  To some of our daughters, romance might mean physical pleasure plus roses or jewelry.  It is a tragedy that we are inundated with images and music so whitewashed with sex and bling that we forget true love and romance.  It is so easy to pick up a bad habit but so hard to break one. 
            God loves our daughters.  He is the Lover of their souls.  God romances them by giving them his time and undivided attention.  I only have three children and this is impossible for me, but God does this for all of us every second of every day. God romances our daughters by giving them gifts; spiritual gifts, talents, ideas, sunsets, hot coco and a good book on a cold rainy day…the list goes on.  If this is a concept new to you, mom, that is okay.  Let your daughter see your delight as you discover all the ways that God is courting you. 
The gift of wisdom, or discernment, in romance is truly the gift that keeps on giving for the rest of our daughters’ lives.    The simple understanding that as women, young or old, we are typically drawn to fiction where characters share deep emotional relationships is a huge deal.  If our daughters can see that craving in themselves and understand why God put it there, perhaps it will make it easier for them to find healthy relationship with people who respect them for all the right reasons.
There are so many scripture passages that remind us to stay away from and even to flee from those people and things that would blind us to the truth of God’s desire to be a part of our lives.  It might not occur to your daughter that just because her boyfriend says he is a Christian that he would be up to the task of romancing her in the way that God intended.  There is a difference in being a Christian and acting like a Christian.  Do our daughters know the difference?
God is relational in nature and women are a reflection of this.  Look at the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10; God desires us to be in relationship with Him, not rushing around doing things in His name.  Men are just not quite the role model here.  God had Jesus interacting with women to demonstrate this principle of strong connection because women were made to reflect this aspect of God.  Your daughters will likely be drawn to fiction that shows strong emotional bonds, whether those are healthy relationships or not. 
As I said, I want my daughters to be exposed to this type of fiction at some point so that we can talk about whether the emotional connections in the stories are healthy or not.  I want them to experience plenty of healthy emotional connections now but at a certain point I want to give them room to experience setting boundaries against unhealthy relationships too.  Assuming we all do our best to expose our daughters to and to model healthy Godly relationships; how can we let our daughters practice setting boundaries with potentially unhealthy relationships?  The answer can be tricky.  How can we do this without putting them in harm’s way?  I don’t believe that dating is the only way for girls to experience this.  What do you think? 

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.      Romans 13:14

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an ever-lasting love; I have drawn you with loving –kindness.”     Jeremiah 31:3

“Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness.  I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.”     Ezekiel 16:8 (grab your Bible and read down through verse 19 for how God romanced His people.)