“Foolishness, on the other hand, is turning from God and listening only to yourself.”

just-do-somethingI’ve been reading through Proverbs lately (tweeting a verse here and there), and I’ve been thinking a lot about the contrast between a wise person and a fool. I’m also currently reading Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, and I highly recommend it. He’s making a case that while we’re inundated with information, wisdom is something entirely different. And we’re called by God to seek wisdom, not “some hidden will of direction. He expects us to trust Him and be wise.” DeYoung goes on:

Wisdom is understanding the fear of the Lord and finding the knowledge of God. Wisdom, in Proverbs, is always moral. The fool, the opposite of the wise person, is not a moron or an oaf. The fool is the person who does not live life God’s way. Wisdom is knowing God and doing as he commands. Foolishness, on the other hand, is turning from God and listening only to yourself.

Here are just a few characteristics of a wise man, as described in Proverbs:

~ fears the Lord
~ makes his parents glad
~ diligent
~ walks in integrity
~ listens to advice
~ loves discipline
~ guards his mouth
~ hangs out with other wise people
~ exercises self control

Contrast those with characteristics of a fool:

~ brings sorrow to his parents
~ lazy
~ runs his mouth
~ despises wisdom and instruction
~ refuses to listen to others
~ hangs out with other fools
~ reckless and careless
~ is easily angered

It’s pretty easy to look at those lists and immediately think of people we know – either in person or from television or Twitter. But the trick is finding ourselves there and seeking God’s help to grow in the characteristics of a wise person.

I realize I’m not on to anything new here, but it’s been on my mind and in my reading, and it’s worth pondering. All day long, I’m making little choices to be wise or to be foolish, and I really want to be wise. I’m thankful that God’s doesn’t hide that wisdom from us. He tells us to seek Him and His wisdom, and His word is the place to find it.

For the LORD gives wisdom;
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. ~ Proverbs 2:6

on taking and leaving

As I’ve mentioned, I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I picked up a few helpful tips (folding my clothes and arranging them vertically, taking all my clothes out of the closet and only putting back in what I want to keep…). I disregarded the suggestions to talk to my clothes, to greet my home when I come in every evening, and to empty my purse every night. Neither my clothes nor my home can hear me, and unloading my purse every night would be a futile task and ridiculous burden.

And that’s okay. Except for the Bible, we’re free to pick and choose, to take what we want and leave the rest. Whenever I see someone jump on a bandwagon or fangirl (or guy) over everything someone says or does, I get a little creeped out. There are so many writers and theologians and really smart, wise people whom I admire, but I can think of no one who is infallible. I have learned so much from John Piper, for example, and his The Pleasures of God changed my thinking, and really, my life. I’ve read many, if not most, of his books. But I don’t agree with him 100%. And no one agrees with me 100%.

And, again, that’s okay.

The only book that I’m not free to feel that way about is the Bible. If there’s something there that I don’t like, or that bothers me, or that just sounds weird (I’m reading through Genesis now, and woah — Jerry Springer show!) , I have to grapple with it. I can’t shrug my shoulders or just write it off. I have to wrestle with it and ask God to change ME. I have to trust Him. 100%.

I can’t pick and choose or take and leave from Scripture. I can’t be trusted to do that. And I don’t trust anyone else who does that.

Just thinking out loud,

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monday miscellany: new year edition

From around the web:

~ Don’t believe in yourself:

One of the most dangerous qualities of pride is that it sneaks into places in our hearts where other sins once lived. We begin to conquer some sinful attitude, or habit, or addiction with God’s help, and soon enough we marvel at our own strength, or resolve, or purity, as if we somehow accomplished it on our own. C.S. Lewis writes, “The devil loves ‘curing’ a small fault by giving you a great one” (Mere Christianity, 127). The confidence we feel in ourselves after defeating sin can carry us as far away from God as, or even farther than, the sin we defeated.

If we battle some sins, but welcome pride, we will lose the war. But if we suffocate pride, we will starve every other sin of its oxygen.

~ 5 Ways Daily Bible Reading Impacts Your Life. Here’s one:

The Word of God is like an anchor. Each time you read it, you are putting your anchor in the ground and holding on. It keeps you from drifting. But without daily grabbing on to this anchor, you may be miles away before you realize what happened. This is why frequent study and meditation of the Word of God is crucial.

~ Speaking of daily Bible reading, this is the plan I’m using in 2017.

~ Lord, deliver me from distraction.

~ This year I’m planning to use a combination of the lists in the 2017 MMD Reading Challenge, with an emphasis on reading books I already own.

My New Year has started off well. I’m off work today and still in my pajamas!

Happy New Year & Happy Monday!

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“There may be no finer words in Scripture.”

heartFrom Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives

God does not forgive you based on the quality of your confession or your resolve to be a better person. But you keep thinking otherwise. Your standard is what you would do to someone like yourself, and chances are that you would not let the incident pass quickly. God, however, forgives for his own name’s sake. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). There may be no finer words in Scripture. God bases his forgiveness on himself and his forgiving character, not on the quality of your confession.

“Discerning his purposes does not require secret formulas…”

prayingFrom Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell:

Praying in accord with the will of God presumes that we are praying in Jesus’ name because we are seeking his purposes. Discerning his purposes does not require secret formulas or mystical visions but rather a growing acquaintance with God’s Word that is the expression of his character. Being guided by the Word in our prayers is Christ’s primary way of talking with us as we seek his will. The more we immerse ourselves in his Word, the more we are able to walk life’s path with Christ at our side, informing our thoughts. Through his Word he points to the flora and fauna of our circumstances as if to say, “I want you to understand this or that.” This perspective first underscores the significance of examining all of life in the light of Scripture. Second, this perspective reveals how careful reading of Scripture becomes a form of prayer in which Jesus walks with us to interpret our world.

monday miscellany

An overdue round-up of links from ’round the web:

~ The best Christian novel you’ve never heard of. You’d better believe it’s on my wishlist.

~ My kids don’t eat organic.

~ Webb Simpson on marriage

~ Breaking News from 1973: Burgers Won’t Kill You

~ How is your Bible reading going? A peek:

The more I read the Bible the more I learn about God and about being one of His children – and the more I find comfort and courage in some of the most unexpected places of this big book.  There are certainly many “go to” passages in times of trouble or despair but the more I get to know all of God’s Word, the more I see what I know to be true about God – His love, mercy, faithfulness, patience, justice, wisdom, sovereignty, holiness – in every page and so I can receive comfort and courage not just from the “go to” passages but also from simply reading the next bit and being reminded afresh of God and His good promises.

~ I recently made this Very Greek Grilled Chicken (I did the marinating, and Paul did the grilling.). It’s a definite do-over. So good!

I hope your Monday has been a good one,

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walk

walkOff and on through the years, I’ve known people who have chosen a word for the year, and I’ve done it a time or two myself. Inspired by a recent conversation with coworkers, I’ve been thinking about a word that could be my theme for 2016, and chapter 5 of Ephesians led me to choose walk for this year. There, Paul exhorts us to:

  • walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us
  • walk as children of the light 
  • look carefully how we walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

I want to grow in these areas and prayerfully meditate on how I walk in faith this year. There are so many references on walking in Scripture, and I’ll look for them as I read through the Bible.

Oh, and I also want to literally walk more this year. 🙂

So that’s my #oneword #wordoftheyear for 2016. If you have one, please share.

reading plan for 2016

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2015 was not a good reading year for me, primarily because it was not a good sleeping year. Insomnia kicked off a maddening cycle of waking up too early and then being too tired to read at bedtime. This year, I intend to fight that cycle by getting up to read when I can’t sleep instead of tossing, turning, fretting, and wasting that time.  And I’ve decided to try an actual reading plan this year — the Challies 2016 Reading Challenge. I’m aiming for the committed reader category, and as much as possible, I’ll read books from my own shelves and Kindle library.

Also, I’ll be using the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan this year. I’ve used it before and look forward to revisiting, using these bookmarks for my Bible.

I’ll have to cut back my social media and internet surfing, and I’m letting magazine subscriptions (even the free ones) lapse in order to be more intentional with my reading.

Yeah, I’m aiming high, but why not? I enjoy reading and need to impose some structure and self-discipline in order to get back in to one of my lifelong passions. I won’t always want to participate in a formal challenge, but I think it will help me change some habits in 2016. So here goes…

I’ll be keeping a list of completed books again.

Do you have any reading plans for 2016? Do share!

Happy reading!

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