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Wisdom and the Law

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And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath? But He said to them,
Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: how he went into the house of God … and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat, except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?” And He said to them,
The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.
Mark 2:24-28

Wisdom is the heart of God. Wisdom is Jesus Christ. The Lord gives wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Wisdom is to apply the best methods to obtain the best objectives.

In several airliner crashes in recent years, the pilots did not heed the warnings of the systems. Their failure to heed resulted in loss of the aircraft and the loss of many lives. In the case of the Miracle on the Hudson, Captain Sullenberger also had warnings coming from the systems on the aircraft. He also did not heed the warnings. He saved the aircraft and he saved many lives. What was the difference?

The difference was wisdom. Wisdom is to know when to follow the system and when to not follow the system. The difference is the difference between life and death.

If you saw a child drowning in a pond, would you run past a No Trespassing sign to rescue the child? That seems like a no-brainer. As a school principal, there were times when I had to apply the handbook rules and there were times that wisdom dictated a higher rule to apply. If a student was clearly and obviously contrite, the rules might have crushed that sensitive spirit. Wisdom, once again.

Wisdom means using the best means to accomplish the goal. Wisdom does not mean a wooden following of the letter of the law. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were meticulous followers of the Jewish Law. Jesus followed the Law also but His was a following with wisdom. When wisdom called on a higher principle, He followed the higher principle.

In two recent airliner crashes, the systems sounded stall warnings. Every pilot knows how to get out of a stall. The pilots of these flights ignored the warnings because they thought they knew more than the systems. They out-guessed the systems and they out-guessed them incorrectly. They pulled up when they should have nosed over. They corrected – too late!

In the Miracle on the Hudson, as they were descending into the Hudson River, the system said, Pull up! Pull up! Pull up! If the captain had obeyed the system, they would have stalled and crashed with total loss of life. The wisdom of the captain dictated when to follow the system rules and when to ignore them. Wisdom again.

Just so in life, only wisdom will inform us how and when to apply the law, rules, systems provide and when to ignore them. There is no way to teach this. It has to be a gift of God. That is why it is so rare. So often it is counter-intuitive.

In personal life, in raising children, in the school, in the Church, in the business, everywhere – the answer is wisdom. Wisdom of God. Wisdom from God.

Rules and laws and policies are needed. But, they are guides, they do not replace principles. They do not replace wisdom. The answer is wisdom.

We are not made to follow rules. The rules are made to guide us.
May the fear of God that brings wisdom be your portion today.

Wisdom and Compliance

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The words jumped off of the page at me. I was reading about the now famous, Miracle on the Hudson. The landing of an Airbus 320 in the Hudson River after a bird strike that took out both engines. It is a gripping story of knowledge and wisdom and courage. Captain Sullenberger called on many years of training and experience to bring a disabled airliner safely back to earth. All lives on board were safe.

What were the words that jumped off the page at me today? The words of an airline pilot.  Years ago,

“We were hired for our judgment. Now we are evaluated on our compliance.”

He was lamenting the fact that while pilots historically were evaluated by their ability to make wise decisions in any and all situations. Now, airline pilots are judged by their ability to follow the rules.

From wisdom to compliance. How did that happen? I am not a pilot. My disciplines, however, have seen similar transitions.
• From calling to position.
• From integrity to loyalty.
• From truth to politics.
• From wisdom to compliance.

Wisdom. Can we return to wisdom? Can we find the gifts that Jesus said He placed in the Church to build up and equip the body? Can we use those gifts with wisdom? We must. The Bible says so.

Compliance produces predictable and impressive structures but only wisdom produces Godly character. In every area of life, wisdom comes from God.

Compliance produces lock-step behavior, but only wisdom produces real leadership.
Like the captain of that flight, God calls us today to know and to use His knowledge with wisdom .
Like the safe landing of all aboard that flight, wisdom today will result in wise leaders to guide the souls in our charge today.

Paul’s Prayer

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I …do not cease to give thanks for you,
making mention of you in my prayers:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory, may give to you:
• the spirit of wisdom and
• the spirit of revelation
• in the knowledge of Him,
• the eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that you may know:
• what is the hope of His calling,
• what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and
• what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when:
• He raised Him from the dead
• and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
• far above all principality and power and might and dominion,
• and every name that is named,
• not only in this age but
• also in that which is to come.
• And He put all things under His feet, and
• gave Him to be head over all things
• to the church,
• which is His body,
• the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Eph. 1:16-23

Daniel’s Counsel for Troubled Times

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What do God’s people do in troubled times?

Daniel 7:18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.

Daniel 11:32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

The Fear of Man or the Fear of God

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The fear of man brings a snare: but
Whoso puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Many seek the ruler’s favor, But
Justice for man comes from the LORD.
An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, And
He who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked. Proverbs 29:25-27.

The more we fear man, the less we fear God. The more we fear man, the more we attempt to justify that fear and try to make it something Spiritual to replace the lost fear of God.

When religion loses its real authority in the Scripture and places authority in the statements of man; the people will fear man more and they will fear God less. That religion becomes an idol that replaces God in the human heart. (Ezekiel 14.)

Fear of man brings with it a snare. The snare is that we lose the protection of God when we seek it and trust in the power of man.

Seeking favor from rulers comes from the fear of man. Trusting for justice comes from the fear of God.

Fear of God will separate Godly people from the others. Those who fear man become an abomination to those who fear God
Those who fear God become an abomination to those who fear man.

Which will it be for you? Will you fear man or will you fear God? You cannot have it both ways. Impressive politicians in the world and in the church control by the fear of man. They are powerful. But, Never forget – God is all powerful. Fear God and there is nothing else to fear.

Godly leaders create in you the fear of the Lord. This was and is the essence of Godly leadership. This was the leadership of Joshua as he led the people with courage and strength. That is the call on leaders today.

The fear of man brings a snare.
The fear of God brings safety and confidence.

Fighting for the Heart – Part IV

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Part IV – Spiritual Warfare

Fighting for the heart is Spiritual warfare. It is God against Satan. Jesus said,
The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy.
I have come so that they might have life,
And that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10.

Satan is there to lie and cheat and steal. We are there to present the message of life and love and value and care from the God of the universe so hurting hearts can find abundant life.

Hurting hearts need safe-places
We need to provide a safe place for hurting people. They need a place where they have protection from fear and criticism and harm. They need to feel protected. They need to feel secure until they are strong enough to stand and walk on their own. Sometimes they just need a respite from all the pressure of daily life. Just a listening ear. Just a quiet day.

The Church should be the place where healing happens. We need healers of the soul and the spirit to speak out both individually and corporately.

Hurting hearts need safe people
Well-meaning counselors (as in the case of Job) are not useful. Open hearts and kind actions provide safety for hurting hearts

At a particularly difficult time in our lives, some friends invited us for a few days. They built a fire in their fireplace each evening and we just sat in quiet conservation and recovered from all the trauma of sick children and distress. We needed a quiet place – not counseling, not advice, not upbraiding, just peace and quietness and safety.

Hurting hearts have many fears.
They have fear of losing control. They need a place where their lack of control is OK. They have fear of guilt and shame. They have fear of numbness and lack of feeling. They need a place where those fears can be expressed and not judged.

Help them see that shame and guilt are different – make the difference between real guilt and false guilt. Do not allow them to blame themselves for the abuse they have experienced. They do not just need be tough, but, they need to be vulnerable knowing that they are safe and will not be hurt and need not fear.

Hurting hearts are exhausted
If a heart fights too hard, too long, it can lose its desire to live. It loses its will and spirit to live. It sees no future in life. The light is gone from the eyes. That is Satan’s goal. He comes to kill and destroy. But God gives life! And we are the ambassadors of that life. Speak life into those lives.

Hurting hearts need shepherds
As shepherds it is very important that we are sensitive to the needs of the sheep. Sickness and accidents send our communities into help mode. That is great but, what about emotional and Spiritual injuries and hurts? Who is to notice and care for those needs? Shepherds are people who can see the needs and know how to meet those less visible needs. Sometimes we just need to be there.

We do not need pretentious heroes or misguided counselors. We need real, living, loving shepherds who care enough to make a difference for people. I have seen lives change. I have seen hearts healed. I have seen hearts that were lost be found by the Shepherd of the soul because someone fought for the injured, dying heart of that hurting person.

Make no mistake about it – this is war – Spiritual warfare. It is a battle for eternal destiny. It is a battle we will win by the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Fighting For the Heart III

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Part III – Jesus and healing hearts

Jesus is the perfect example for healing hearts. He knew how to fight for the hearts of those around Him. We are not Jesus, but, we can observe and learn principles, and we do have His mind and He promised us His power.

Examples:
Woman taken in adultery – Brought to ‘justice’ by religious leaders, she was without defense. Jesus, sensing her danger and the injustice of the situation, placed Himself between her and the stones that were about to be thrown. He vulnerably stooped to the ground to write in the dirt. This woman was as much a victim as she was a sinner. Jesus knew that. We need to know that also so we can respond with Godly wisdom in each life.

Zacchaeus – A dishonest man with a longing to see Jesus. Jesus honored his longing and reached out to him. Zacchaeus knew he was in the wrong. He had a longing to be made whole. He was honest about his needs. Jesus honored him by accepting his hospitality. In fact, Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ home for a meal. In the midst of other scoundrels, Zacchaeus’ heart was changed

Nicodemus – A smooth politician to whom Jesus gave no space whatever. Nicodemus finally said, I give up – “how can these things be?” Jesus continued to speak in language that Nicodumus did not (but should have been able to) grasp. If Nicodemus was to be changed, Jesus would have to keep the pressure there. While there seems to be no immediate change in Nicodemus, he does surface at Jesus’ death which makes us trust that he eventually accepted Jesus words and his heart was healed.

Woman at the well – A jaded, hurting, street-wise lady – Jesus crossed boundaries to get her attention. He then engaged her in meaningful, careful dialogue designed to evoke her best motives. She responded by addressing Him in increasingly respectful terms. She knew all about men. But, she had never met a man like this man.
This man set aside his need for water so he could meet her real needs. This man had her best interest at heart. This man was fighting for her heart.

Children – Jesus had time for children. Jesus took time for children. His harshest words were for those who offended the “little ones.” He knew that the little ones were the future. He wanted His disciples to see how His Kingdom could be constructed in the hearts of the children. For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Religious leaders – Jesus made Himself available to them but, most of them had no time for Him. He did not fit into their mold. He took time to teach where they could listen if they wished. He addressed their sins and their wrong behaviors. They could not see that He was the object and the subject of their Scripture. They were Spiritually blind.

Their hearts were fighting – fighting against the truth. They heard His teachings but their hearts were not open to His truth. He used hardened language against their hardened hearts. This was Spiritual warfare. He fought, with rebuffed efforts, for their hearts.

While Jesus was fighting the religious leaders, what He was really doing was fighting for the hearts of the common folk. The common folk needed to see and hear His integrity and honesty and truth. They could relate to that message. Jesus fought for their hearts by providing for them an alternative to the religion of their day.

Jesus was and is our Example. He fought for the hearts of the people.
That is our opportunity today.

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