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Lady Wisdom or Lady Folly?

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Lady Wisdom

Wisdom has built her house;
she has set up its seven pillars.
2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls
from the highest point of the city,
4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
5 “Come, eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of insight.”

Counsel for life
7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For through wisdom your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

 

Lady Folly

13 Folly is an unruly woman;
she is simple and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling out to those who pass by,
who go straight on their way,
16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious!”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

Proverbs 9

“Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”

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“Am I My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper?”
Oswald Chambers

None of us lives to himself… —Romans 14:7
Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. We “sit together in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 2:6). “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” (1 Corinthians 12:26). If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer.

But you ask, “Who is sufficient to be able to live up to such a lofty standard?” “Our sufficiency is from God…” and God alone (2 Corinthians 3:5).
“You shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8). How many of us are willing to spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus Christ? That is what God means when He uses the word witness.

But it takes time, so be patient with yourself. Why has God left us on the earth? Is it simply to be saved and sanctified? No, it is to be at work in service to Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured-out wine for Him? Am I willing to be of no value to this age or this life except for one purpose and one alone— to be used to disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ.

My life of service to God is the way I say “thank you” to Him for His inexpressibly wonderful salvation. Remember, it is quite possible for God to set any of us aside if we refuse to be of service to Him— “…lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

 

Codependency – God’s Leaders – Moses

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Codependency – God’s Leaders – Moses

Moses – in today’s world Moses would be accused of co-dependency, invasive behaviors, interrupting a stable culture, over compensating, people pleasing, neediness, anxiety, over performing, pursuing, insecurity, too passionate….

 

Give it up, Moses, what do you think you are doing? Can’t you tell when to quit? These people are doing fine. They have adapted to their conditions. They are comfortable. They have their own culture. You are disrupting their culture. Give it up, Moses. Go back to the wilderness where you belong. Just because you saw a bush and thought it was on fire – who do you think you are?

When these people want you they will come to you – you do not have to pursue them. What is wrong with you? You are making a fool of yourself! You are making yourself a self-appointed savior – where did you get that idea? Can you not tell when you are not welcome? You are becoming a real problem.

And think of all the heartache this is causing you. Think of your actions. You have done some really drastic things. You are wearing yourself out. Think of all the time you spend in prayer. Do you think you can change the plans of Yahweh? Are you offering yourself as a sacrifice for these people? These are Yahweh’s people. He can take care of them. Do you think you are the answer to all the world’s problems? You are slowly killing yourself and then you will not be valuable to anyone!

Give it up Moses, give it up. Give these people some space. They have a system that works just fine. Sure they are slaves but we are all slaves to something and they have security. They have really good food. They like their lives – generations of them are buried right here where they live. God gave them this land and they are doing fine. Where did you get this “Promised Land” idea anyway? Did you make that up also?

Moses, go back to the desert. You are a good shepherd and you can pray in the desert and give all this to Yahweh. These people can solve their problems without your help. Yahweh has the world under control. Take care of yourself. You only have so much energy. If you are not careful, you will not make it to the “Promised Land” either. We need you, so before you destroy yourself, give this up. We care about you. We really do.

Codependency – Or Reconciliation – Part VI

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Codependency – Or Reconciliation – Part VI

The Pursuit of Reconciliation

Jesus made the path to fellowship clear. The path is forgiveness. If you have been offended, Jesus has a path for you to follow for reconciliation.

1. You, as the offended, Go and tell the offense to the offender so you can gain your offender. If the first attempt fails, take someone with you on the second visit. If that fails, present the situation to the Church.
Matt. 18:15-20.

2. When you bring your gift to the altar and remember that there is an offender; you, as the offended, leave your gift and go to the offender and be reconciled before offering your gift.
Matt. 5:23-24.

This path to unity and mutual care via forgiveness is the path of true love. It is valuing each other more than being right or defending personal rights. It is putting reconciliation above and ahead of individual desires. It is making restoration an integral part of Church and worship by making reconciliation a matter of the Church and a requisite for worship.

This is the inconceivable, unexplainable pursuit of one of God’s children by another of God’s children. In today’s world, that pursuit is thought of as invasive and violating. How sad. The ways of Jesus are made out to be wrong in favor of isolation and individualization of life. Community is lost in self-determination.

Jesus’ pattern does not fit with individualism and personal rights. We quickly blame those who offend us without attempting to correct the issues by personal encounter. When we blame, we excuse our attitudes and behaviors as the other person’s problem. That is not the way of Jesus.

Allender & Longman in Bold Love make this clear. People recognize the need for love but to take love to the degree that Jesus takes it has become unacceptable. Today that is considered to be a “symptom of the sickness called codependency.”

How sad. We have coined a term – codependency – to free us from the personal responsibility we have to display the love of Jesus to each other as members of His kingdom. That inconceivable, unexplainable pursuit of love has come to be thought of as sickness. How sad. The very counsel of Jesus to place others ahead of self, and pursue what is needed to maintain fellowship with others, is rejected in favor of personal interests.

Jesus’ counsel of face to face encounter is unquestionably the most useful, albeit sometimes painful, path to resolving matters of relationships. It was called The Rule of Christ. Mennonites adopted this Scriptural rule as the manner of Church order. Brethren discovered this Scriptural concept when they met the Mennonites.

To teach and practice anything else is a sickness.
Loving each other with the rule of Christ is the way of reconciliation.
Loving each other with The Rule of Christ is the way of Jesus.

We only live when our lives are lived for others and for God’s Kingdom.

Codependency – Or the Healthy, Living Body of Christ – Part V

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Codependency – Or the Healthy, Living Body of Christ – Part V

Sometimes I need you more than you need me. Sometimes you need me more than I need you.

To have a healthy, living Body of Christ each part of the body needs to be honored and prized independently of and without any contributing function. But, it is the function that actually produces value. I cannot see your physical heart. You cannot see it either but, its value is not it its being strong and pretty for its own sake. Its value is in its continuing to properly beat all the time.

Counseling and care must produce individual health that makes each person a contributing member of the body, while also emphasizing the function of the individual in the body in relationship with the other members of the body.

This is not to suggest a performance based system where you are reduced to a cog in a machine, but it is to insist on a mutually dependent system in which each member is valued for his/her contribution without which the system would falter and fail.

Each member is specially designed for its task and function and makes its contribution in a way that no one else is fitted to do. Value is found in performing your needed function in the body. No one else can do your part. Without you, it will falter and it may fail. You are that important. You are that needed. Your individual contribution is critically important to keep the body alive.

It is these unique functions that keep your automobile running and keep your body alive. Each part is distinctly different from each other part but is integrally important in the life of the system. Each part doing its task prevents the system from failure.

Illustrations abound. The failure of an O-ring seal doomed an intricate, powerful, expensive rocket and its crew. The lack of a horseshoe nail doomed the horse, the rider, the message, and the battle. A faulty oil pump will doom any engine.

Every person is highly valuable and must be honored as a treasure. Living alone, however, will eventually result in a lack of a sense of value and worth for that individual and a huge loss to the group.

Your eyes are absolutely important. Your hands are absolutely important. Your hands are not your eyes and your eyes are not your hands. There is no argument about that but, they work best when they work together. Eye-hand coordination is integral to much of life.

The opposite danger is also important to note. Individual identity can be lost and ignored. Just because the eye is not the hand does not mean that the eye is not important and does not need the hand. The eye does not dominate the hand and the hand does not lose its identity by working closely with the eye. Each part is prized and valued for its identity and its contribution to the body.

You are unique and valuable because God made you special in His own way for you to be your own special person. That uniqueness must be honored and valued. Each part is individually valued. In medicine, there are specialists for each part of the human body. That is as it should and needs to be.

The Song of Hiawatha – speaking of marriage says, “The husband is the bow and the wife is the string – useless each without the other.” That is a complementary view of life. They work together to launch the arrows.

Not broken bows or torn strings but strong, healthy components make useful tools and healthy bodies. Each component is valuable and critically important for and by itself. But, its usefulness is found in dependency upon and with the other components to work in concert to accomplish the task. That is God’s plan for His Church also. We are not independent. We are dependent on Him and on each other. Accomplishing the call on our life by being a strong component in the body is where the joy of life is found. To accomplish that, we need each other. I need you and you need me.

When we are attempting to heal parts of the body – the individual person- without emphasizing their need in the body. That is a system that will not work. We are valuable because we have gifts that are so needed for the healthy body of Christ to live.

Codependency – Or Real Needs – Part IV

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Codependency – Or Real Needs – Part IV

Codependency says that I am too needy. The truth is that I am needy. I Need You. Can I be humble enough to say that – to believe that? Can I be needy enough to say that? I would rather think that I do not need you. I am big and tough and strong and can make it on my own. I cannot afford to be needy around you or you might control me or I might lose my identity in you. The concept of codependency gives me a protective behind which I can hide my rugged, isolated, individualism.

The Body of Christ is dependent. We are codependent – we are interdependent – mutually dependent – we depend on each other. We need each other. Christ’s body is made up of many members. We work together to make the body. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts but, every part is needy and is needed. We are dependent on God and on each other.

The accepted definition of codependency tries to say that I should not need you or I may need you too much and you will lose your identity in me or I in you because you need me, or I need you too much. That is not a healthy way to process life. The Bible says that I do need you and that you do need me.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”
The head cannot say to the feet, “I have no need of you”
I Corinthians 12:21

How much does the eye need the hand? How much does the hand need the eye? Much more than either of them realize. Only as they work together in close concert can they know how much they cannot live without each other.

In much modern psychology and counseling, the parts are considered to be greater than the whole. The individual part is emphasized for its own value and worth irrespective of its function in the body.

Each part must be cared for and protected so it can be useful in the body.
In the modern approach, the individual is emphasized at the loss of the concept of the unity of the body. How amazing is that. This is, very simply, the exact opposite of what produced this reaction. We do not need to be reactive. We can choose God’s way of needy love.

What is the Biblical corrective? Love is the answer.
Love appreciates and blesses the strengths of the other.
Love suffers long and is kind;
Love does not envy;
Love does not parade itself,
Is not puffed up;
Does not behave rudely,
Does not seek its own,
Is not easily provoked,
Thinks no evil;
Does not rejoice in iniquity,
Rejoices in the truth;
Bears all things,
Believes all things,
Hopes all things,
Endures all things.
Love never fails.
That kind of love is God’s way.
That kind of love brings healing to needy people.

But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

Psychology will cease and vanish away but love will last forever. I am me and you are you but I need you and you need me. That is the way of God.

Trust His Heart

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Trust His Heart

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we don’t see
How they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth

Our Father knows what’s best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just don’t see Him,
Remember you’re never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His Heart
Trust His Heart

He sees the master plan
And he holds our future in His hand,
So don’t live as those who have no hope,
All our hope is found in Him
We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapestry He’s weaving you and me,
To someday be just like Him

He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you
God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His Heart

When you don’t understand
When you don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His Heart
Trust His Heart

Babbie Mason