Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lynn, from Spiritually Unequal Marriage, is hosting Thankful Thursday with a great topic! Happy Birthday to you, sweet Lynn. I am so thankful for you!

This was a hard post for me to write because I felt like it was a word that needed to be given (I love how God's Word speaks to me and says, "Share me!") but I am concerned that you will think that I think too highly of myself. I don't. If you take one thing from the wisdom God has given me, know that it's all about effort, not arrival.

Lynn asks some great questions that I've broken down in sections to answer.

What wisdom has God given you recently about a situation or relationship?

God has been so faithful in letting His wisdom let me know that it's okay to aspire to a holy life and it's okay to set my standards high. Yes, I have to dust myself off quite frequently; however, His Word is clear and He's given me wisdom to seek to obey it, even when it doesn't mesh with what the world teaches. Call me a goody two shoes, call me Pollyanna, call me crazy. Please don't call me self-righteous, because I'm not. Christ is my righteousness. Whatever you do call me for keeping my eye on the prize, I have learned to let it go and keep striving.

"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." ~ 2 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)

I cannot tell you how forward I am looking to Heaven and the new earth! I cannot stress enough that I truly believe I won't be home until I am Home.

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, " ~ Philippians 3:20 (NIV)

I don't have my head so far in the clouds that I don't see or attend to the needs of the people on earth; however, I live with an eternal perspective, and eager longing, so to speak.

Because I look forward to Heaven, I want to get things right here on earth. This means I must make the effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him, as mentioned in 2 Peter 3:13-14 above.

It's a high calling and not to be taken lightly. When the world around you preaches instant gratification and the media panders immorality and other sinful ways at every venue, it's hard to avoid it. And lest you think I think the sun comes up just to hear me crow, I have to say that I slip. Frequently. I fail. Frequently. I sin. Frequently. And then I confess it and repent and try again. Frequently.

But I'm making the effort.

The Greek word for effort is spoudazō. It is used to mean:

1) to hasten, make haste
2) to exert one's self, endeavour, give diligence

Spoudazō is also used for our words: endeavor, do diligence, be diligent, give diligence, be forward, labor and study. It's a verb that requires action!

What are we making the effort for? To be found spotless and blameless and at peace with Christ. Is this possible? Yes! Not by ourselves but through our Savior.

The Greek word for spotless is aspilos, which means:

1) spotless
2) metaph.
a) free from censure, irreproachable
b) free from vice, unsullied

Free from vice. Oh, is the Lord speaking to you like He's speaking to me? Do you have a vice (or two) that you need to lay down? No? I do! And I will. I'm closer than I was even a week ago, and way closer than I was a month ago.

I want to be blameless before Him. The Greek word for blameless is amōmētos. It means:

1) that cannot be censured, blameless

Here's something interesting. Jump over here and look at the root words. I thought that was neat, too.

If we make every effort to be spotless and blameless, peace with God will surely follow. I find tremendous peace in knowing I put my all into something, whether I pass or fail. It's not always about winning with me because I know I am not perfect. In this case, though, because we have the righteousness of Christ, we can at least make the effort. And we will win because we will be at home with Him in Heaven when He returns (unless we die on earth first.)

The Greek word for peace is the noun eirēnē. I love this one.

1) a state of national tranquillity
a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war
2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
4) of the Messiah's peace
a) the way that leads to peace (salvation)
5) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
6) the blessed state of devout and upright men after death

Look at numbers 4-6.

Are you at that peace? Are you making that effort?

If not, why not?

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Don't listen when the world says, "You're being self-righteous and sanctimonious. Who do you think you are?" Well, kind of listen. Tell them you're not perfect and that's the point! What would be the point in making the effort to be found spotless and blameless and at peace with God in preparation for eternity with Him if you were already spotless and blameless? No point at all.

God's wisdom has also taught me not to become Vashti and refuse to hob-nob with others who are pursuing worldly gain. You never know what opportunities you might miss to witness to them and what example you might be to them. You also never know what you can learn from them. People will surprise you. I had a guy stop in my office a while back that I didn't know a thing about and ended up learning that I will meet this man in Heaven one day. He asked me to pray for him. Why? I mean, why me? Because he saw me reading a book by Charles Swindoll and recognized Moses from the Bible. He figured if I was reading it that it was a safe bet to stop in and unload. And it was. I had passed him in the hall maybe twice in probably 5 years of him working in our building. It's a big building. But the Lord crossed our paths and I saw his need and prayed with him and for him. I still do and a while since I've seen him. But if I see him tomorrow and he asks if I'm still lifting him up I can say, "Yes, brother." That's what I call him because I cannot remember his name. It's the age thing, I think. Anyway, my point was that I never would have learned that he was a Christian and that he would teach me the power of persistent prayer (he asks me every time I see him, whether it's weeks, months or days between sightings) if I thought I was running my race on a path higher than everyone elses.

I remind myself, make the effort to be blameless, spotless and at peace with God and say no to the world. God's wisdom has said not to cut myself off from the world because this is where God has put me. Right here right now is where He has me and I don't want to miss His purpose in it. I will never focus so much on leading my life that I don't lead others to Christ. I just won't do it.

And I thank God for that wisdom.

How has His wisdom changed your life?

God's wisdom has led me to be led by Him and His Word, not by my emotions. I am still learning this every day.

What is your favorite scripture about wisdom?

Wisdom, or a form thereof, is mentioned in the NIV 215 times and 222 times in the KJV. That's alot of wisdom!

No doubt you'll read many verses on wisdom today, so I'm going to share only one. My personal favorite. It's my favorite one because God is so faithful to answer our prayers. He is so generous and loving. He'll provide us with what we need to know.

The Greek word for wisdom here is sophia. It means:

1) wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters
a) the wisdom which belongs to men
1) spec. the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs
2) the science and learning
3) the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice
4) the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision
5) skill in the management of affairs
6) devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth
7) the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living
b) supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God
1) to Christ
2) the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world and the scriptures

It's a wisdom given generously by God. And always in His timing. It's not an instant thing, at least in my case. I'm still praying over wisdom regarding a situation I just don't know what in the world to do about and I have been praying that prayer for about two weeks. But when the time comes, God will grant me wisdom in just the way I need it.

Wrapping it Up

I'm so thankful for wisdom. I have learned much from the wisdom of others and hope to pass down what I have learned from them and from God to those God has blessed me with in my life.

Questions for Reflection: Are you seeking God's wisdom about something right now? Are you making an effort to live a life that is spotless, blameless and at peace with God? If not, why not?

Verse for the Day: "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." ~ 2 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the wisdom You have given us thus far. Keep our hearts and minds focused on You to receive what You so generously have to offer. Help us to make the effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with You, preparing our hearts for the new Heaven and the new Earth. What a wonderful homecoming it will be! I can't wait! In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

W - Wisely seek God's will for your life. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

I - Intentionally spend time in the Word of God. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." ~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

S - Show your wisdom by being obedient to the commands of God. "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." ~ John 14:21 (NIV)

D - Determine to remain humble in your wisdom. "The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor." ~ Proverbs 15:33 (NIV)

O - Offer good characteristics with wisdom. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." ~ James 3:17 (NIV)

M - Maintain a healthy fear of the Lord. "The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous." ~ Psalm 19:19 (NIV)

What are you thankful for this Thursday? Why not join in and participate? Click on the button below to visit Lynn for more Thankful Thursday posts (be sure to tell her Happy Birthday!) and link up and share your own.



Jerralea said...

Great job as always, Laurie Ann. I was excited to see that we chose the same verse for our favorite scripture on wisdom!

LAURIE said...

Great post today for TT Laurie Ann. You have shared some great scriptures for us to meditate upon. Wisdom is something that I am striving to have more of, with the help of God. -blessings, Laurie

HEATHER said...

Awesome post on Wisdom Laurie Ann and yes I am Michele's daughter!!!
Have a Wonderful Thursday!!
God Bless,

Cora said...

Laurie Ann,

I am thankful for your post today. I loved the acrostic!


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a lot to think on for my little brain! :) I, too, am looking forward to going home. Happy Thursday!

Samantha said...

Great post, have a blessed Thursday !

Saleslady371 said...

Thank you for this very thorough teaching on wisdom. I love that God gives it to us so liberally. I yearn for it. I'm so glad to have a friend like you.

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this, love you.

Angela said...

What an amazing wisdom filled devotional..((Hugs))) I so connected with much of what you wrote, and was sharpened Proverbs 27:17 with the rest..AWESOME

shopannies said...

love your post straight from the heart with meaning for all to find. I love the way you put it out there and the acronym for wisdom is great as well

Christy said...

Thank you so much for sharing! Those are wonderful verses to ponder!

JesusRulzMe said...

Hey precious twin!

What a wonderful post! And guess what? Your favorite Scripture on wisdom just happens to be neighbor if my favorite Scripture on wisdom:

James 3:13-17

Rita T. said...

Wow! Where did you learn all of this Greek stuff? It's wonderful and puts a lot in perspective for me! Have a happy Thankful Thursday!

God Chaser said...

Laurie Ann I am thankful for your lessons each week. This week you demonstrate your wisdom by recognizing we have to turn from the world's wisdom which is often foolishness and pursue a life which is spotless and blameless.

Melinda said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the anticipation of Heaven and our new home, our real home!

Carla said...

Wowzers, you said it all:)
Our goal is Heaven, can't get much 'higher' than that huh? :)
Thanks for the reminder to keep our eye on the prize-so to speak:)
Blessings to you in your journey.

Jensmere said...

Thanks for the good word and scriptures to reflect on.

Can't wait to be HOME!
Bless you,

Joye @ The Joyeful Journey said...

Wow. So much to ponder on here! I love wisdom and I will never stop asking God for more! And your reference to Vashti's pride was very fitting, too! I agree, wisdom is not snobbery!

Pia said...

it's so comforting to know that when we ask God of for wisdom, He gives it to us. we all need wisdom in our lives everyday. God bless you, laurie ann.

Lynn said...

Laurie Ann,

There is so much amazing words of wisdom here that I could take three months to take it all in.

Girl, Wow... I mean WOW!!! I sure hope to be like you when I grow up... Love you.

I am finally getting over to your place for Thankful Thursday…. Last week. Yikes, I am a bit behind. Thank you for honoring the Lord with your Thankful heart. I will see you again this Thursday. Hugs

PS. I forgot the computer tip last week but have a good one for this week.