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Wisdom Builder

Proverbs 24:11-12 A lack of concern and care for those in need is dangerous

For several years I helped high school athletes attain scholarships and other aid for college.  By far, the most valuable information given to these young people had to do with character development.  This may seem strange, I always encouraged these athletes to find and help someone in need!  Not only does this help to produce self-esteem, but comes with many intangible benefits. Religious leaders in Jesus' day asked Him, "What is the greatest commandment?". Jesus' answer also included the second greatest commandment, "Love thy neighbor...".  When we refuse to consider and care for others, people may not notice it, BUT this proverb teaches us that God does.  This is good news for those who choose to help others in need and a warning for those who only pursue that which benefits themselves.

Proverbs 23:4-5 When riches are the goal of your life's work, pain and regret are inevitable.

My mother lived through the Great Depression.  Despite having barely enough income for food and a shabby roof over their heads, my mom and her mother routinely cooked and fed soup to those who had even less than they did.  Meanwhile, millionaires, who lost their money, were jumping from buildings and committing other forms of suicide.  There is nothing wrong with having money and wealth.  However, People are endangered when the acquisition and possession of riches rule their lifestyle.  Loving God and loving their neighbors were riches that sustained my mom and her family through difficult days.  They did not have a lot of money, but they had true riches!  Our family is growing and prosperous today because of wisdom imparted from my mother.   Monetary riches are deceitful and temporary.  This Proverb teaches us that they fly away like an eagle.  Wisdom leads us to pursue true riches which are eternal.

Those who read and listen to God's Word receive the power to cope with chaos. Proverbs 1:33

We live in a dangerous world.  The explosion of technology has given us access to worldwide atrocities, moments after they occur.  Images of the viciousness and hatred within the hearts of men are literally in our pocket!  The impact on our society is borne out in high rates of suicide and mental disorder.  Where can we find peace and courage to deal with the world in which we live?  The answer is the Word of God.  We have to choose to READ and LISTEN to it.  Only then will we obtain the reward!

Proverbs 1:24-27a God does not help those who refuse to hear wisdom.

Trouble comes to all of us.  There are times when our money, our family, our relationships,, our education, nor our personal abilities can rescue us.  We need a miracle.  We need God.  It is very dangerous to wait until you need a miracle to call on God.  Why?  You run the risk of being ignored!  If you have repeatedly refused to respond to words of wisdom, there is no guarantee of help when trouble comes.  In Romans 1:18, the issue is described as " ...suppressing the truth in unrighteousness".  In other words, many choose to push Gods word aside and pursue their own way.  God desires to help us and change our hearts.  However, we have to choose to HEAR His wisdom before it is too late.  The secret to ensuring that God will help us in times of need is found in Isaiah55:6, "Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near."  This admonition comes with an unbreakable promise, "And He will have mercy on him;".  Jesus died so that help in the time of need would never be an issue for us!  Read Hebrews 4:15-16.

Proverbs 1:22-23 God gives His Spiirit to those who respond to His word.

We are all children of God.  This dangerous lie causes some people to feel safe because they believe that they are pretty "good" people. God calls this, "naivete".  If we were all God's children, Jesus would not have called the leaders of His day,  "...sons of the devil", in John 8:44.   Unfortunately,  despite the "good" things that we may do, there is a problem.  Our goodness is just not good enough.  Romans3:10 declares that "...there is none good, no not one..." and that all of us have sinned and fall short" of God's requirement.  However. today's word of wisdom gives us hope.  We can become children of God.  Here is the promise; if we will hear God's Word and TURN at His rebuke, He will give us His Spirit!  It is His Spirit living IN us that seals us as children of God!  Romans8:9 says, "...Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His ".  Jesus died so that we could become children of God.   The good news is that if you are in the wrong family, you can become a child of God today!

Proverbs 22:17-19 Wisdom comes when we listen to, consider, cherish,and speak truth.

Many people believe that wisdom is all about how much you know.  However, this definition is not complete.  Wisdom comes from a Hebrew word that means "Skill".  Wisdom is the ability to skilfully use knowledge to produce beneficial outcomes.  Proverbs 22 instructs us on HOW to acquire this power.  1) Listen carefilly to the words of the wise, 2) Take the time to carefully consider this information, 3) Commit these truths to memory and give voice to them, and 4) Submit what you do to what you have learned.  God will empower you and work on your behalf as you trust Him. We must subnit to the process to attain wisdom and the blessings that come with it.    

Proverbs 21:13 When we are attentive to the cry of the poor, the world becomes better and we insure our future

  There was a day in man's past when God brought the beasts and birds to Adam to see what he would name them.  Whatever Adam called each living creature , that was its name.  This is but one example of the authority and power given to man in the earth. We have been given the power to shape this planet!   We can enhance life for  mankind or bring pain.  What we do not only affects others, but also determines our future.   This is the secret of Proverbs 21:13.  We must take time to consider  the needs of the oppressed and less fortunate and DO what we can to help.  This also ensures that our crying is heard when we are in need.  God continues to watch to see what we will do!

Proverbs 30:32-33 Hiding sin produces trouble, repentance brings freedom

This Christmas season, my family decided to establish a new tradition.  Each year we will "adopt" one or more needy families and help to make their holiday season brighter.  This, of course, is a "good deed" and good deeds tend to make us feel better about ourselves.  Sometimes we mistakenly think that good deeds cover up the selfish or evil things that we do.  Certainly, there are benefits to doing good, but this activity does not absolve us from sin!  God is loving, compassionate and forgiving, but He does not accept our good deeds as a covering for our sins!  This Proverb teaches us that hiding our sin produces trouble and wrath.  In order to be free, God requires that we acknowledge our sin and seek his forgiveness.  This is difficult because none of us likes looking into a mirror that reveals who we really are.  The good news is that God has provided a way for us to be cleansed.  Acts 17:30 declares that "...but now (God) commands all men everywhere to repent".    "Putting your hand over your mouth" (v. 32)  symbolizes a recognition of wrong-doing and a willingness to turn away from it.  This opens the door for forgiveness and freedom.  (Also see 2 Cor 7:10 and 2 Pet 3:9)

Proverbs 2:10-12 Wissdom protects you and gives you peace

Wisdom is not about what you know!  Many people KNOW right from wromg, but then choose to DO the wrong thing.  Wise people are free.  Wisdom is the ability to see the results of the long game and the skill to lay the foundation on which that result is produced.  Simply put, it is the power to DO the right thing.  Wise people are confident and possess inner peace because they trust truth.  The best thing about wisdom is that you can have it despite your past mistakes!  Jesus said, "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) 

Proverbs 23:29-30 Alcohol abuse opens a door for evil spirits, but God's Spirit brings joy unspeakable!.

Wine tastes good and makes you feel good.  It is even more attractive to those who want to escape the pressures and disappointments of life.  We have to learn to say "No more" at the edge of moderation or risk being taken captive!  In the U.S., 88,000 people die and 2.5 million years of potential life are lost each year to alcohol abuse.  Alcohol abuse opens a door for unclean spirits.  God will give us the power to rule our flesh if we will come to Him.  Only His Spirit [can give us "joy unspeakable and full of glory"!

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