"If you don't see the real me, you won't see what love has won..." Vota

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to live more wisely

You know, there is something I have been praying for more than anything else ever since I was a kid-- ever since the first time I heard the story of Solomon. When I heard how God answered his prayer for wisdom, I started that night praying for wisdom too. I remember my 8 or so year old self, lying in my bed in a shared bedroom, praying that God would make me as wise as He made Solomon. I can practically see myself lying on my pink bed. I had partially ulterior motives as a kid. As God answered Solomon's request for wisdom, he also gave him wealth. When I was a kid, I dreamed a living in a huge house and always promised my parents a wing in it. Yeah, so that was a pretty strong influence in me praying for wisdom as a kid. The funny thing is, as I've gotten older, my prayers have still always included wisdom, but this time with no or few motives other than to be filled with the wisdom of God. I was reading about wisdom tonight in Ecclesiastes. I want to share what I read. It is pretty powerful!

Have you ever read Ecclesiastes 7:1-25? I have found it greatly encouraging as I have been praying for wisdom. I want to share it with you and what I understand it to mean. I will present the scripture and how it has inspired me and/or encouraged me. I did not find too much encouragement in the last part of the scripture for it was about how difficult it is to find wise men and especially wise women. I guess it made me pray harder! :)

The first part of this chapter tells you how to live more wisely.

1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. 2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. A good name is equal to your integrity. Do you have integrity, or strive to be a person of integrity? Or do you cast all cares to the wind to see how far you can get in life and how wealthy you can become. I know at one point in my life I desired wealth. I wanted the career society pushes us toward from birth. I wanted to marry a prince and live in a castle. I wanted it all. Now as I find peace in abiding at the feet of Jesus I need no ladder to climb, no financial security, no reliance on stuff of earth. I find all of my peace in the promises of Jesus. I find fulfillment in following in His footsteps. He is my security as I walk toward my final days in this life on earth. At my death all can rejoice for I finished the race. I can finally stop running and rest in the shadow of His wings. At birth, I have only just begun. So basically, is your climax in life the glass ceiling or the integrity that which holds no shame as you approach your savior once and for all eternity? As we have loved ones die we should be reminded of where we are all headed-- reminded that every knee will bow and tongue confess. We should remember to live for this moment when we will finally be ready to see God.

3 Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. It seems lately, well since becoming a mommy, frustration seems to be a regular part of daily living. I guess this tells me to rejoice in the frustration. I suppose that when I am frustrated I do a whole lot of soul searching, thinking and most of all praying. And more than anything this prayer, totally unscripted, laying much frustration at His feet is tremendously good for the heart. For how often when we are in a state of laughter do we stop to fall at His feet? Man if I would just think to do that sometime, imagine the joy I could share with Him instead of the frustration. But I am afraid I never think to fall at his feet mid laugh and rejoice and allow Him to laugh with me.

4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. 5 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. I am not sure what this means, but I wonder if it isn't talking about what we tend to focus on. Do we focus on what will make us happy, or do we mourn our sinful ways? You know the beatitude that says blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. I am thinking that like in this beatitude it is not talking about mourning like we shallowly describe it. You know, we mourn the death of a loved one. I think He means that we should mourn our pleasure seeking, sinful nature and not just give in and follow it. Those who live for pleasure will try to encourage you right along the same path, and the wise man will warn you about it. Think carefully when someone does this and heed their warning.

6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless. 7 Extortion turns a wise person into a fool and a bribe corrupts the heart. These two verses are all about what you allow a fool to influence you into doing. How many times have you been laughed at for a decision you made for you or your family. Me-- quite regularly. People may not laugh so much to my face, but I know they do it back behind me. I cannot let my decisions be affected by someone who laughs at my decision. If this were the case, Satan would have laughed me out of the baptismal before I ever got wet. Another way to affect a person’s decisions is to offer them money. Sometimes money makes the world go round and you remember who the prince of this world is. Notice I said sometimes. Money is a gift from God. It is how you manage it and what you do with it that can become evil. Just like any gift from God, Satan can take even the most beautiful gift and turn it into something degrading and nasty. The promise of gifts and wealth in exchange for a compromise in your faith... well this is just not OK; although, very prevalent.

8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Amen! The ending of a bad situation-- well it can't get any worse that the bad situation. Always ending something-- a fight, a hurt, a broken promise, is the best thing to do! Fall down on your hands and knees in humility to do this at all costs. It may be humiliating at first, but you know what, when it is over it is over. No more unrest. No more sin. The Bible does tell us not to go to bed while we are still angry. We are to make peace first. We are even told that we are not to worship God if we have an unresolved conflict. How many of us can say we have no unresolved conflicts? Not one I bet! So when we go to church on Sunday to worship-- God tells us what to do (Matthew 5:22-24).

To Be Continued...

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