Tag: wisdom

Are you wise?

my-lakeOn my walks now, the air is  crisp, with a cool breeze where there has been stiflingly humid heat.  Low, slow moving cloud-cover makes pleasing patterns in the sky where eyes used to be met by the burning glare of the hot sun, which now rises later and sets earlier than a week ago.

The flowers are changing.  Those that held up their pompous bushy blooms to the full sunlight are beginning to droop with age, while new, fresh colors appear peeking through the fading flora.

We recognize these as signs of change in the world around us.  The seasons are changing.  We change with them.

Our iced drinks, Jell-O and sliced fruit plates give way to hot chocolate, and plates of warm, just baked cookies.  We share recipes with a neighbor for fruit pies or jams from the harvest.

people-2590555_640We change the way we dress to greet the world.  Shorts and tank tops have added an over-shirt to their look.  Slowly sweats and sweaters creep back into our daily wardrobe.  We may allow our hair to grow a bit to cover the back of our necks.  Our thoughts turn away from the pools and picnics of summer to hayrides and harvest moons.

We recognize and respond to these signs so easily and freely.  We would never want to be caught wearing an out-of-season outfit.  We think ourselves wise to have learned these customs.  Are we?

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The Bible tells us of change.  It says a time is coming when our Lord Jesus Christ will come again.  Soon, the Lamb’s Book of Life will be closed forever.  The names of the saved are written in this book. And even today, as people hear and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, names are still being added.

But the day is coming when not one more name will be allowed.

waiting-410328_640We do not know that day specifically, but we know that each passing day brings us one day closer.  Just as we don’t know the date of the first snow; we know it is coming, and we prepare for it.

How are we preparing for Jesus’ second coming?  Are we changing outwardly?

Instead of a recipe that will stay in his stomach for an hour, why don’t we share with that neighbor, a message that will stay with his soul for eternity?

20180916_193142You know the message. There are only two teams. Jesus and satan. We are all born onto Team satan.  Staying on that team ends in eternal death, a one-way ticket to hell. But you can choose to leave that team to join Team Jesus. Team Jesus has eternal life, heaven – forever.

To join Team Jesus it’s as simple as A-B-C.  Accept the free gift of God’s salvation.  Believe that Jesus died for your sin.  Confess, or say out loud, that Jesus rose from the dead and is your Savior.

Speak that in a prayer to God and you are on Team Jesus – forever! You will never play for Team satan again.

That’s the message to share.  But if you just prayed it for the first time – Congratulations!  You are on team Jesus!

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Tell someone about it – shoot me a comment, or email Josh Burris at jesusisundefeated@gmail.com.  Get Josh’s book on Amazon.com.

Get hold of a Bible and start reading it.  It is God’s love letter to you to learn more about Him and your life on Team Jesus.

 

It’s time. Clothe yourself with Jesus’ righteousness. Serve salvation to a starving world. And prepare for the days ahead in a way that you will be called “wise.”

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning.”  Proverbs 1:5

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If a Rose needs support – do I – Part 2

rosetrellisI’ve discovered putting a mature rose bush on a trellis can be a thorny and painful process.

Especially when the branches are heavy with blossoms and when the winding arms have already started down a path contrary to the direction I want them to go.

It’s the same with me. I’m the rose bush.

When I’ve been going my own way for a while, it takes more effort to change direction. To be willing to bend to the new way – even if I know it will benefit me in the long run.

 

 

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My trellis is the Bible. It’s the firm, never changing, God-inspired framework that guides and supports my life.

Often I know what I should do in a situation because the Bible is clear on its teaching. And I’m familiar with what it says. In these cases I don’t even have to think about my decisions.

Those instances seem natural to me. There’s comfort and support in the sturdiness of the framework that backs me. It helps bear my weight . And I lean on its structure as I grow.

Other times I come upon a verse that says something new to me and I feel a conviction to make a change in my attitude or behavior that causes some discomfort as I align myself to the structure of the trellis. That particular scripture becomes a sticking point for me that lifts me up, giving me guidance and new direction.

20180623_161520And then sometimes, there is a greater challenge. Without much thought, I allow myself to stray in a direction that feels freeing at first. It may be that other people are going that way and I think it would be fun.

But further down the path I see it leading me in a direction that takes me away from what I know is good. And I have to make a hard choice.

Sometimes it means making a U-turn and I have to bend over backwards to come back into alignment. That’s uncomfortable as I pull away from the people and activity I had joined. Uncomfortable because I want people to like me. And I want to be known as reliable and trustworthy, not fickle and inconsistent.

On rare occasions though, a U-turn isn’t possible. I simply have to cut off the branch entirely and discard the pieces that went in the wrong direction. This brings fear and embarrassment. Fear of what other people will think of me. They may question my choice, tease me, call me names, or talk badly about me behind my back. It hurts when I feel rejected.

Embarrassing because I made a bad choice and got myself into something I didn’t anticipate and couldn’t handle. These occasions are sticky, thorny situations. They are painful.

Painful because of the rejection I feel, but also a loss. I grieve the time and effort and resources wasted. And I grieve the loss of the relationships and doing something I enjoyed, at least for a while.

Fastening even one branch of a rogue rose bush to a trellis can be a painful chore. Its thorns scratch and grab at my sleeves, causing little snags or tears in the fabric. Sometimes they scratch and grab at me, leaving the skin on my arms full of small, bloody reminders of my efforts.

In my own life, redirection or pruning can cause just as much soreness and pain.

climbing-roses-1431123_640I haven’t finished the rose bush project yet. But as with my own life, we’re both works in progress. Thankfully my Gardener has a beautiful plan for me. With His endless patience and boundless grace He won’t give up on me no matter the scratches.

I love gardening.

And I love my Gardener!

 

If a Rose needs support – do I?

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I bought a trellis for my rose bush this weekend.

It’s for its own good.

It gives stability for the plant’s long, gangly branches that hang down to the ground. And it provides a framework to display its beauty.

But does the rose understand what I’m doing for it?

Does it resent being tied to a frame – limiting its growth to one direction or one plane? Is it grateful for the support? The stability it offers? Will it feel different from the other plants that don’t get that kind of support?

 

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This project caused me to think about my life and how I am like a rose bush

I want to have the freedom to go in any direction I choose or feel led. But do I need a trellis?  And would that look like for me?

 

 

book-1936547_640For me, the Bible gives me guidance, structure, some might say wisdom. But do I see it as wisdom and embrace it willingly? Always? Or sometimes, do I see it as restriction, leading me in a limited path that seemingly restricts my freedom?

 

I would love to say I embrace it all the time. But I have fought it, tried to get around it, occasionally wondered what my life would be had I taken a different path.

I hope, with the support of the trellis, my rose bush will stand tall, displaying its beauty and fragrance for all to enjoy.

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And I hope my life will be the same. That God will be my gardener. And that I will embrace His Word to direct, guide, encourage, support and strengthen me whenever and however I need it. So that I will stand tall, displaying His honor and His grace for all to see.

 

Be a Silly Goose for Christ Part 2

Continuing to learn from the Goose:

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3 Communicate with those around you.

Geese are not quiet birds. They seem to always have something to say to each other. Whenever a group is already on the water and another group comes in to land, all kinds of honking commences. Similarly, when a group is preparing to take off, there is much ado.

We should share with other believers what we have learned: how to get along better in life, where there are traps and how to avoid them, praise and thanks for God’s bountiful provisions. I don’t know what the geese are telling each other, but it could be: “Hey there’s great grain over here!” Or “Watch out for the foxes at the end of the lake!” Wouldn’t you like to receive helpful direction and encouragement?

 

4 Circle before you land.

wild-geese-1148985_640Geese will always fly around an area before they actually touch down. I have seen them circle the lake 3 times before the first one touches down on the water or in a field. It’s as if they’re scoping out the location for danger and suitability.

Too often, we jump right in without checking things out and counting the cost. We need to use the brain God gave us and seek His wisdom as we make decisions, accept commitments, and move forward. Pull back to get the big picture and know what you’re getting into before you jump in with both feet.

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5 Travel light.

Before a bird takes off, it offloads all excess baggage. Every ounce counts when you have to physically carry it, especially long distances. So before it takes off, it poops! If you live in a flyway, this is a common sight and the result makes for very messy walking or picnicking.

We need to remember to take only what we need on our journey. How often do we travel with so much past hurt, anger, disappointment and upset that we can barely move forward? We need to expel envy, malice, bitterness, and hate because these things weigh us down and keep us from flying high. Drop off and leave behind discouragement, resentment, unforgiveness, whatever entangles you. Get the help you need to be rid of those poisons that will steal your joy and sap your strength. Read books, get counseling and pray to be able to forgive and let go of past hurts and failures.

We may like to think of ourselves as more majestic creations, maybe like the swans or eagles of the bird world. But God has placed wisdom all around us in all shapes and sizes. We can learn from everything He created. Learn from the behavior I’ve seen in these geese.

Dare to be a Silly Goose for Christ!

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You Light My Path

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Recently I found myself walking with a group of friends in the dark. I had a small flashlight that came in handy as the sidewalk had a broken and uneven surface.

 

detective-flashlight-260x300We huddled together and moved forward cautiously. At first, I thought it would be best to shine the light up ahead of us so we could see where the path curved or stopped at a curb or was cut off by bushes.   But it became clear that we could walk with the most certainty and speed when the light shone brightly on the very next step we were to take.

Looking ahead is good for getting a sense of direction, but we needed the close, step by step guidance to be sure our ankles didn’t turn or slip off the narrow path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Your Word, the Bible, is that light for me. The scriptures come alive in the circumstances of my life.

Pros_and_Cons_of_Tech_Communication_When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.” So while it is wise to make a list of pros and cons and count the cost of decisions, the logic of the world is not the final answer. Trusting in You to lead me through prayer and Scripture helps me make my final choice.

When I feel frustrated with something I had hoped would turn out better, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”. It picks me up and lets me know that instant gratification isn’t always available.   And reiterates that some things take time to see desired results.

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Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs. I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize] Your Word reminds me I am never, ever, no never, not ever alone.

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Like the flashlight on the path, Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.

Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its ‘wisdom’ You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.

Click on these to read the scripture again and see what God might be saying to you:

Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4