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Finding Wisdom – 寻找智慧 (Jas. 1:5-6) (雅各书 1:1-5 CCB)

Wisdom – 智慧

wisdom

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The ambulance sped along the cobblestone streets, its sirens blaring. I was bouncing in the small jump-seat while trying to keep myself in my seat as the ambulance turned the corner. I looked at the radio in my hand and then back at the woman on the gurney. Her face was flushed and sweaty. Her breathing was labored. She sat up in the gurney with the light sheet covering her large midsection. She was full-term and in active labor. Her water had broken, and contractions were about a minute apart.

She looked to me, a mere 19 years old, for assurance. I smiled and looked at my watch. We were only 7 minutes from the Air Force Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany. I was concerned and even more than slightly anxious about the reality of not arriving timely. Then the contractions resumed. I confirmed my suspicion, she was crowning, and I knew we would not make the hospital. At least not before delivering the baby. Reaching for the internal intercom, I told the driver to pull over and call the hospital on the radio. I looked back at her and smiled reassuringly. After that, her husband leaned in as I prepared for the delivery and asked about my experience. I looked at him with a smile and assured him all would be fine. What I did not tell him was this was my first delivery.

Qualifications

However, there are times or events where you realize you are not prepared. You feel you could use more insight or additional wisdom on how to act or deal with the crisis, decision, event, or issue. Do you ever think God should pick someone more qualified for the immediate job at hand? Pick someone more skilled in your estimation. For example, there were times, in my life, as I am sure there have been times in yours, you believed God and stepped out, somewhat half-heartedly. Why? Because we understood the risk of what we felt God asked us to do and concluded this could end in an epic fail.

Not that God would fail, but we would. We would embarrass ourselves believing God called, but in reality, it was our own decision, or discredit God because of our inability or just messed it up. But that perspective is based on an inward focus. We are not looking to Him but ourselves. We do not focus on God’s strength but our human frailty or limitations. Instead of trusting in God’s wisdom and his Word, we listen to the enemy and hesitate. Maybe it is a real obstacle or limitation. Ask Him for wisdom, and he gives generously. (Jas. 1.5) So, if we want to walk on water, we need only fix our eyes on Jesus, and he will bid us come. (Matt. 14.29)

Participation

God has formed us and gifted us with natural abilities, (Ps. 139.13) and the Holy Spirit has gifted us specifically for participating in the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12; 1 Pet. 4.7) Certainly, God does not choose his vessel for His purpose based upon the world’s criteria. (1 Cor. 1.27, 4.10; 2 Cor. 12.10) He has called you to the task, maybe from off the bench. Trust God. Do not doubt. Because, His Word promises He will give wisdom generously to all who ask without finding fault. He called you to a task and will provide you with the needed resources. The key? God. Because, It’s not about us. Above all, it’s always about Him and his redemptive purpose. (Gal. 3.13, 4.5; Rom. 8.29)

Just like the 19-year old faced with delivering a baby, you have to participate regardless of what you believe about your ability or circumstances. Seek wisdom and understanding. Watch Him work. He’s got this. Trust Him.  

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.  But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all.” (Jas. 1:5-6 GNT)

Jas. 1.5-6 (GNT)

 我是做上帝和主耶稣基督奴仆的雅各,问候散居各地的十二支派的人。

信心和忍耐

我的弟兄姊妹,当你们遭遇各种磨炼的时候,都要认为是喜乐的事。 要知道你们的信心经过考验会产生坚忍。 你们要坚忍到底,使你们纯全、完备、毫无缺欠。

如果你们谁缺少智慧,就当求慷慨施恩、不责备人的上帝,上帝必赐给他智慧。

雅各书 1:1-5 (CCB)




罗马书 5.1-5 (CCB) – Romans 5.1-5 (NIV) – Roma 5.1-5 (ASND) – Reconciled

Reconciliation – 和解

reconciliation

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Have you experienced true reconciliation? That time when you see forgiveness extended in the eyes of another? When you extended forgiveness to someone else? Have you felt the release of stored-up emotion and the change? Profound tears abound on both sides. And in some cases, on the opposite side of an empty chair.

Whether it be with an elderly parent and an adult child, an adult and another family member, spouses, siblings, or another traumatic life event, it’s transformative. The culmination of hard work in counseling, especially for the person holding on to the past, the pain, you name the emotion or event.

Lions

It’s emotional and challenging work to move to a place of a balanced perspective. It takes some people longer than others. It includes validating facts, feelings, and the reality of the event. It’s not about forgetting or ignoring but facing it head-on. As one person described it as “facing a roaring lion behind the door they held shut, believing to let it out would devour them.” In reality it wasn’t the roaring lion they perceived, and it didn’t devour them as they believed it would. But that’s our effort, and it’s good. However, God has a way of moving in the middle of all that. Because it’s not about our work, albeit it occurs, it’s about His work in and through us.

Have you faced your lion head-on and embraced it? Have you experienced the change? Can you exclaim as others have? “I am the beautiful person that He designed despite those events.” Experienced-reconciliation, forgiveness, or restoration. How? Especially when the person who was injured has long passed?

Choices

Without minimizing the injury or the fact of the event, we choose. It’s simple but a hard choice. To just let it go and lay the demand at the foot of the cross. Not an easy decision, one many avoid for years, for decades, and for some nearly their entire life.

But they did. The work and struggles were real and hard fought. They changed. A heart metamorphosis. The pouring out of God’s love in their hearts or in the hearts of others. Hearts, the Spirit softened and transformed into lives that rippled out into every other relationship. It changed not only them, but others. Those they knew and those they met.

He transformed them. He can, and will transform you.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – (Rom. 5.1-5)

我们既然因信而被称为义人,就借着我们的主耶稣基督与上帝和好了。 我们又靠着祂,借着信进入现在所站的这恩典中,欢欢喜喜地盼望分享上帝的荣耀。 不但如此,我们在苦难中也欢喜,因为知道苦难使人生忍耐, 忍耐生品格,品格生盼望。 这种盼望不会落空,因为上帝的爱借着所赐给我们的圣灵已倾注在我们心中。

罗马书 5:1-5 (CCB)

Kaya ngayong itinuturing na tayong matuwid dahil sa pananampalataya natin sa ating Panginoong Jesu-Cristo, mayroon na tayong magandang relasyon sa Dios. Sa pamamagitan ni Jesus at dahil sa ating pananampalataya, tinatamasa natin ngayon ang biyaya ng Dios at nagagalak tayo dahil sa ating pag-asa na makakabahagi tayo sa kadakilaan ng Dios. At nagagalak din tayo kahit na dumaranas tayo ng mga paghihirap, dahil natututo tayong magtiis. Alam natin na ang pagtitiis ay nagpapabuti sa ating pagkatao.[a] At kung mabuti ang ating pagkatao,[b] may pag-asa tayo na makakabahagi tayo sa kadakilaan ng DiosAt hindi tayo mabibigo sa ating pag-asa dahil ipinadama ng Dios sa atin ang kanyang pagmamahal sa pamamagitan ng Banal na Espiritu na ibinigay niya sa atin.

Roma 5.1-5 (ASND)

Accept the gift.

Then, give it away and watch the ripple.

Consider, 考虑


Consider the source, 考虑来源

consider the source

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

It was a cold dark October evening. The large sea vessel plowed through the water carrying a commuter train and vehicles of all sizes sailing to Copenhagen from the German port of Hamburg. I stood topside next to the port rails looking to the stern. The ship was well clear of the port, and the lights on the horizon disappeared. The isolation was palatable. The water in the Baltic Sea was black. I pulled my collar closer and looked over the rails at the water passing underneath the vessel. As far as I could see, it was a dark and ominous expanse of black water and an overcast and black horizon above it. The only visible light on this dark sea was this ship sailing into blackness. I recognized, for the first time, that the open sea was dangerous. Most certainly, the sobering reality of my human frailty.   

Life

In counseling, people often described their emotional experiences to life events in similar word pictures. When asked to relate their initial thoughts about these life experiences, they express helplessness, disappointment, despondency, being in a dark lonely place, and adrift. When I posed the question regarding their first thoughts and response to those events, they replied it was always that way, resolved that past experiences repeated themselves, a sort of emotional déjà vu. Nothing seemed to change, and the cycle repeated. That was their perception, and their behavior followed similarly. Consequently, the solution was to begin examining life events objectively and reframing those events with the truth.

Truth

Certainly, as Christians, you would think finding the truth would be self-evident. It wasn’t. Especially, for those who suffered horrible experiences and unspeakable acts perpetrated upon them. It was difficult for them, as it is for us in facing a crisis, as the Psalmist expresses in the 23rd Psalm, to ponder – to consider – as our first thought:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4

Therefore, as Paul encourages,

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

When surrounded by temptation or testing, instead of considering these truths, are our first thoughts driven by emotions or fact?  Do we consider the totality of the circumstances and examine the pieces in light of the big picture? Are we like the wise Captain who piloted the ship through the rough Baltic Sea to its destination while adjusting to present immediate surroundings?

True North

Does truth guide your life and your response? If it does, you can choose hope in the testing or temptation. Why? Because you know the truth. The Perfect Captain guides your soul on the sea. He is piloting you to port. Like the Psalmist, you can “rejoice in his promise like one who finds great spoil.” (Psalm 119:162). So, who or what is guiding you?

However, what is your first thought when you face diversified negative and positive life events? What do you consider? Are you favorably disposed to God’s favor and aware of his grace? In short, do you seek the truth about God and his relationship with his children?

Therefore, who or where do you go for help in a crisis?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

Jas. 1.2-3 (NIV)

我的弟兄姊妹,当你们遭遇各种磨炼的时候,都要认为是喜乐的事。 要知道你们的信心经过考验会产生坚忍。

雅各书 1:2-3 (CCB)
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