Even the Wisest Person

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(1 Kings 11, Proverbs 2)

Even the wisest person can become a fool.

Solomon’s wisdom was vast, but he forgot its Source. He amassed wisdom and wealth and honor, but at some point he started to turn away from the God who gave him it all to him.

His wisdom made him powerful, but his power made him arrogant. He collected wives and concubines and they led him far away from the Lord. Their idolatry crept into his heart and then into the entire nation of Israel.

Solomon’s divided heart eventually resulted in a divided kingdom. Years of war, years of loss, years of idolatry. The wisest man in history made a series of foolish choices, and his nation paid a terrible price.

Wisdom is not a permanent acquisition. It has to be cared for and cultivated or it will fade away. A wise young man might become a foolish old man if he doesn’t pay close attention to his heart.

You and I are always headed toward wisdom or headed toward foolishness. Our paths are largely determined by how well we remember the One who gives wisdom and how faithfully we listen to his Word.

Wisdom shouts in the street and lifts her voice in the square. Wisdom instructs the simple and enlightens the wise. But wisdom only does its work in those who will listen.

When Solomon stopped listening, his wisdom faded. The same can happen to you and me. Or we can pay attention to our hearts and heed the God of wisdom. He loves to give wisdom, and He gives it to young and old alike. But you have to listen.

Even the wisest person can become a fool. But even the foolish can become wise when they hear the voice of wisdom’s Maker.

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The Prayer God Loves to Answer

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(1 Kings 3, James 1)

There is a prayer God loves to answer, a request to which He eagerly answers, “Yes.”

It is a prayer that was offered by Israel’s third king, and encouraged by the brother of Jesus Himself. It is not a prayer for good health, long life, extra money, or easy circumstances.

What is the prayer God loves to answer? It is a prayer for wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all, generously and without reproach.”

When you and I, like Solomon, ask God for wisdom, He opens His storehouse and provides. Perhaps not all at once, as He did for Solomon. And perhaps not to the same degree that He gives to another. He might not make you the wisest person in history. The Queen of Sheba will probably never sit at your feet to listen to your pearls of wisdom. (At least she’s not coming to ask me for advice! Perhaps you’re wiser than I am, though).

But God will generously give you wisdom. He will never mock your naïveté, and He will never rebuke you for coming to ask. He will give to you freely and without reproach.

We face a dizzying array of decisions each day. Some are insignificant, but others matter deeply. How should we use our limited time? How should we allocate our money? How can we respond to our spouses or roommates or kids or bosses or professors with the grace and truth of God?

All too often we worry about the right decisions, when we ought to pray for wisdom. We substitute anxiety for prayer and simply refuse to cast our cares on Him. We read articles, we ask our friends what to do, we lie awake with worry, but we seldom pray for wisdom.

But wisdom is the very thing that God is eager to give. He possesses it in infinite quantities. He never runs out, and the man or woman who asks Him for it will receive more than enough. He’s filled His Word with wisdom, and He can fill our hearts and minds with it as well. Yet for some inexplicable reason, we stubbornly refuse His help, hoping against hope that our small minds can gather enough wisdom, all alone, to make the right choices. And time and again we prove ourselves wrong, while the very Maker of Wisdom offers us bountiful wisdom beyond our wildest dreams.

Solomon’s wisdom overflowed the boundaries of his own country and made him famous throughout the whole world. God was delighted when Solomon asked for wisdom, so He gave Him more wisdom than He even imagined possible.

He’s waiting for us to ask as well. God loves to answer our prayers for wisdom. He loves to give it generously and without reproach.

The only question that remains is whether you and I, the people of God, will ask for it.

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Guest Post: Letting Go of Lesser Dreams

(This is a guest post from Erin Christian, one of our college interns at Grace Bible Church.)

Special thanks to Masterpiece Conference 2013 whose speakers Leigh Kohler (quoted) and Donna Stuart helped inspire this post.

If you’ve seen the YouTube video Pep Talk from Kid President, you know just how cute that kid is.  My favorite line is “It’s like that dude Journey said, “Don’t stop believing” …unless your dream is stupid, then get another dream!”  The video leaves you with the charge to give the world a reason to dance because everyone has the ability to do or be something awesome.  What is there not to love about that video?  It’s our generation’s version of the American dream. We all want to make the world a better place, regardless of if you love Jesus or not.  We tell our children they can be anything they want.  Dozens of reality TV shows are created so ordinary people can have a shot at reaching their dream of becoming the world’s best chef, model, singer, dancer, and so on.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m a dreamer if there ever was one!  I love how Eph 3:20 states that God “is able do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” I think like any good father, God wants to see our dreams come to fruition.  It doesn’t always feel that way, though.  I have recently felt like I am living in the realm of all things ordinary.  The great things I want to happen seem to be outside of my grasp. There are times when it seems like the Lord is doing the exact opposite of the good dream that I’m wanting.  I repeat: GOOD dreams – not sinful, selfish ones- but ones that will bring Him glory or grow me in my walk with Him or make a difference in the world! So when those ‘closed doors’ come, it hurts.

People often say once you’re willing to let something go, then God will let you truly have it.  The problem with that is you’re essentially willing to do anything to keep whatever ‘it’ is above all else, even if that means “letting it go.”  We find a holy way to preserve our idols. The truth of it all is that the Lord wants us to let everything go-even our best-intentioned dreams for His glory- in surrender to wherever He wants us.

I don’t know what your specific dream is, or what the weight of waiting feels like.  Maybe your dream is to raise a godly family, but you aren’t even dating someone.  Maybe it’s to end human trafficking, but you’re currently stuck having to study for a geology exam. Maybe your dream is to be part of the bigger solution, but you don’t know how your meager efforts will ever truly add up.

I’ve been there. Some days I am still there.  I’ve presented open hands before the Lord just to close them again.  What the Lord has been patiently teaching me is that our dreams and passions are not separate from our walks with God.  And they can never be accomplished without Him. We’re often tempted to seek God so that our dreams can be fulfilled. How backwards that is!  We seek God first. We become a living sacrifice.  We walk by His Spirit.  He wants our obedience and devotion more than He wants our great conquests against evil in His name. You see, our intimacy with the Lord will always have a direct correlation to the impact we have on others.  He wants us to love Him and love others, right where He has us at this very moment.  And I’m pretty sure that if the God of the universe is going to use us in some specific way, He knows where to find us.

So what do we do today? For we who have accepted Christ as Savior, we can choose to walk by His Spirit.  We can take His hand and let Him be our guide. We die to self by realizing that there our lesser dreams often have to die. They may be postponed, or they may never happen in the way we think they’re going to pan out.  I have had dreams of working for specific ministries, or places I would live in my twenties, or even men I thought I’d marry. These weren’t little dreams, but they were lesser dreams compared to God’s grand dream for my life. Prayer and dependence align us with God’s grand dream for our lives.  I love what Leigh Kohler stated so beautifully, “We are prideful to think we can change the world without our faces on the floor.” True joy is found right where He has us in this exact phase of life. He wants us to be a part of carrying out His ultimate dream- that all may come to the knowledge of grace found in Christ alone.

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