Author Archives: benny

Moral Benefits of Wisdom – 1

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2: 1-5

Everyone has a choice to make; fear God, accept His Wisdom and live abundantly or scoff at God, reject His wisdom and face destruction.  God calls us to accept His bounty.

God has given free will to man to make independent decisions. Most of the times, though right path is shown, man succumbs to his/her ill-experienced and self-motivated will. And when things go astray and ends with very dire consequences we start to blame our faith and God. In fact, if we sincerely examine our decisions or actions, we could realize that we didn’t give enough heed to God’s words when we made the decision. Blaming is in our culture!

How to escape from this common trap?

The hardest part is “how to guard ourselves from our own folly of arrogance, selfishness and ignorance.”

In the modern world of technology there is a command for everything and if you follow the command literally, the system will work smoothly. The inventors/discoverers place the command at the right places for the smooth running of the system but, sometimes, man who controls the commands OVERRIDES systems processes and then the system hangs up and brings out undesirable results. Do we know enough to OVERRIDE the system?

  1. The discipline of the written Word of God

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commandments within you…. (v.1).

It is essential that we receive God’s sayings, that we absorb them on a regular basis and allow them to find lodging in our mind. Few things affect our world more detrimentally than ongoing biblical ignorance. At the same time, we cannot overestimate the positive impact of scriptural knowledge on a society. We need only look to the founding of the United States of America for evidence.

Many scholars question whether the Founding Fathers were professing believers as our evangelical churches today would define the term Christian. Regardless, the vast majority at least maintained a Christian worldview, held God in high esteem, revered the Bible as authoritative, knew God’s Word well, and adopted its precepts as their moral foundation. All of the above is undeniable. Their knowledge of biblical wisdom led them to first think deeply and then make decisions based on principles rather than pragmatism. In fact, their scriptural knowledge made capitalism and democracy possible.

My Prayer

Merciful God make me able to look into myself and realize that ‘I don’t know many things’. Boasting is my first sin that prevents me gaining God’s wisdom. When I submit myself to the will of God and grasp the benefits of wisdom, as The Proverbs say, I feel internal peace that leads to better judgement and victory. Make me humble!!

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Failure To Yield 2

We examined two reasons why people fail to heed the counsel of wisdom. Some stubbornly resist wisdom because they are strong-willed and refuse to surrender. Others simply fail to hear wise counsel due to insensitivity. Today, we encounter two additional factors.

  • Indifference

“You neglect all my counsel” Proverb 1:25

We ignore God’s counsel from making any difference in our thoughts, words, or actions. In a way an individual says, in effect, ‘I really could not care less!’ Believe it or not, an underdeveloped sense of one’s own worth can prompt this kind of response. The reason people fail to accomplish tasks that will benefit them is because of self-loathing. Solomon noted this in three thousand years ago:

“He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof

Will dwell among the wise.

He who neglects discipline despises himself,

But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.” Proverb 15:31-32

Indifference can also suggest hostility toward God. Like children who fold their arms and intentionally refuse to follow their parents’ instructions, we fail to respond to God’s counsel. God, however, doesn’t suffer the consequences of our indifference. Tragically, we do.

  • Defensiveness

“And [you] did not want my reproof.” Proverb 1:25

The original word translated did not want means “to be unwilling, unyielding, non-consenting.” the image is of one who fights off reproof the way one dodges responsibility when confronted with wrongdoing. The defensive person typically employs one of three strategies:

  • Denial: the outright refusal to accept the truth of a situation, especially one’s personal guilt.
  • Minimization: refusing to see the full significance of an issue or dismissing it as irrelevant.
  • Shifting blame: assigning responsibility to another or justifying one’s actions as a reasonable response to the wrong doing of another.

The fool habitually engages in these strategies to avoid pain and suffering, presumable for the sake of self-preservation. Solomon, however, called this a form of self-loathing (despises himself). Those are powerful words of a wise man who had seen the lives of many foolish people come to an early, avoidable end because they refused to heed the warnings of the wise.

My Prayer

Merciful God, I have failed to yield on many occasions because of my indifference and arrogance. But with Your mercy You have carried me through my trials. Thank you God for showing mercy on me.

 

 

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Failure to Yield 1

 

“I called and you refused”. Proverbs 1:24

Solomon pleaded with his son-and, by extension, with all of us-to heed the warning voice of wisdom.

A good question is, WHY?

Why must Solomon plead? Why do we ignore God’s reproofs, those in Scripture as well as that come through other means?

Looking back at the sayings preserved for us in Proverbs 1, I discover at least four reasons we do not heed reproof. We’ll examine two now. Prepare yourself. These may sting!

  1. Stubbornness

“I called and you refused” Proverbs 1:24.

Mark the last word, “Refused”. The Hebrew text uses an intensive form of the verb to convey the idea “directly refuses,” “stubbornly refuses”. In the Old Testament it is used for defying established authority. In another of Solomon’s sayings, the sluggard refuses to get a job (Proverbs 21:25). This kind of refusal is nothing but unyielding to wisdom and the consequences will certainly be total destruction.

In many cases the strong will can be a positive trait; when a person is standing against injustice, eg, slavery, exploitation and corruption etc, that person’s stubborn character is praised always. And we call them “HEROS” because they were right! Moreover, they acknowledged and embraced the consequences of their actions, willingly sacrifices their own well-being for the good of others.

Stubborn refusal to heed the warnings of others, however, reveals an arrogant spirit and dull mind. Pray for humility and wisdom, both of which God longs to provide His people.

  1. Insensitivity

“I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention” Proverbs 1:24

When Solomon said that “no one paid attention” he emphasizes lack of listening and awareness. It would correspond to the New Testament concept of being “dull of hearing”. If you have ever tried to penetrate the shell of an insensitive individual, you’ve experienced God’s frustration. You can also affirm the old adage “There are none so deaf as those who will not hear.”

Perhaps the best example of insensitivity and unconsciousness would be pedestrians wearing earbuds. They are unaware of their surroundings, shutting themselves into their own music world. Try to get the attention of someone lost in earbud oblivion and you understand something of God’s frustration.

Though wisdom “stretches out her hand,” many people lack awareness and fail to listen to her voice.

(continued)

 

 

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Warning Signs?

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light

And reproofs for discipline are the way of life

To keep you from the evil woman,

From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.” Proverbs 6:23-24

Do you follow the road signs or you ignore them? That’s the important question every driver should ask to themselves.

When the sign says “Keep left/right” or “Reduce speed” or “Accident prone area” how the driver reacts to them? Does he/she takes it as danger sign to him/her or ignore them as danger signs for other drivers? Ask yourself?

I must confess, there was a time in my life when I thought I was too smart for warning signs. Let us face it: most warnings are posted to keep stupid people from doing stupid things, like the “Do not eat” warning on packing materials. Smart people don’t need that sort of counsel. No wonder a young person can conclude that warning signs are for other, less intelligent people. I survived my less intelligent moments and lived long enough to discover that warnings are there for everyone (especially me!).

The decision to heed warning signs not only shows wisdom, but it also reveals both a humble spirit and the willingness to admit that others might have greater knowledge or experience than you do.

God’s Book stands like a warning sign at the mouth of a deep, dark cave named “Immorality”. Many enter; none emerge without injuries. So, in bold, red letters, the Scripture warns, “Danger! Do not enter!” thought the generations, however, these ancient warnings have been ignored at great cost to people who suffered the dreadful consequences of foolishness.

My Prayer

Almighty God, I’ve ignored many of Your warnings thinking that I am smart enough to see the pitfalls. But, in fact, Your compassion has carried me when I fell down. Teach me God to be humble.

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Disobedience – Man’s voluntary destruction?

“They would not accept my counsel,

They spurned all my reproof.

So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way

And be satiated with their own devices.” Proverbs 1: 30-31

Let’s face it: we are a wayward flock of sheep!

It is not so much that we are ignorant, but rather that we are disobedient.

More often than not, we know what we ought to do. Put plainly, we simply do not put what we know into practice.

We spend our days enduring the irksome and painful consequences of going our own way. The grind of disobedience is neither easy nor new. Unfortunately, it has characterized the human experience almost as long as humans have walked earth. The saying of Solomon address this tendency of ours head-on.

According to this ancient teacher, the secret of escaping the grind of disobedience is wisdom. Biblical wisdom is a process that begins with gaining knowledge, then choosing to set aside our former ways of thinking, and then putting this new knowledge into practice.

There are three facts related to wisdom according to Proverbs:

  1. Wisdom is available
  2. Wisdom can be ignored or spurned
  3. Ignoring wisdom produces grave consequences

The deeper we dig into Solomon’s sayings the more clearly we discover what brings wisdom into our lives?

The secret of leading a peaceful prosperous life.

“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord

Or loath His reproof,

For whom the Lord loves He reproves,

Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3: 11-12

My prayer:

My Lord, lead me in Your wisdom and correct me when I deviate from knowledge. Pardon my disobedience. My frailty is in Your mercy.

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Way of Life

“Through insolence comes nothing but strife,

But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” The Proverbs 13: 10

There are two ways of life in front a man. To go in the right or wrong way of life is up to him.

It’s Man’s decision to select the way of his life.

Insolence or wisdom?

The Proverbs present two sides of life and exposes the consequences of each side. It doesn’t insist to select one, instead, leave the decision to man. But it shows light on how to decide the right way, the peaceful prosperous way.

Receive counsel before selecting the way!!!

To receive counsel man has to prepare himself. He has to look into himself to see his strengths and weaknesses and accept the truth that he doesn’t know everything to make the right decision. He needs counsel to adequate his inequities. It’s a fact that great leaders have many counsellors to aid him to make the right decision. And he listens to them before making decisions.

Are the words hard to understand? Hardly!

Truth is always simple but, most of the time, hard to follow.

“Know thyself”, the ancient Greek aphorism, is one of the Delphic maxims and was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphic according to the Greek writer Pausanias. There are two parts of the ancient Luxor Temple, the External Temple, where beginners were allowed to enter and the Internal Temple where a person was only allowed to enter after proven worthy and ready to acquire more knowledge and insights.

 

My prayer:

Almighty God, you’ve given me the freedom to choose the ways of my life. You’ve given me the wisdom to know myself. Your teachings have shown the consequences of right and wrong decisions. God, help me to choose wisdom.

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Take Your Position

“Tomorrow go down to them. Behold, they will come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the ravine before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your position, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord (Who is) with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed….’ 2 Chronicles 20:16-17

Second Chronicles 20:16-17 tells the people of Judah what position to take for the battle. Position, very significant in a battle, determines victory or surrender.

I always thought their position-and ours-was to stand still. Although that is true, another position was equally important to them. After receiving this instruction from the Lord, Jehoshaphat bowed on his knees with his face to the ground and worshipped. Wow! Worship was their actual position. Because this assurance of victory is evoked as elsewhere by faith in God.

When we take the right position in our life according to God’s will victory is guaranteed. In other words, when we have undisputed faith in God we are always victorious.

What is the right position to be victorious in life?

We always look for short cuts or cure to all pills in life, right? We don’t like to hear more doctrines or sermons because we have had enough of them already, ‘we just want to know what works’.

Is life a mathematical formula? Is there one sure success way in life? The answer is YES and NO.

NO, if you are looking for a one word answer.

YES, if you are taking the right position with God.

How you position yourself with Jesus is the secret of life!

You will be victorious every day in your life when you take the right position with Jesus Christ!!

 

My prayer:

God, you are the only one to bring ultimate victory in my life. Enable me to understand Your position in my life and help me to lead my life in Your way.

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Wait on the Lord

waiting-for-god

“And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their children and their wives.” 2 Chronicles 20:13

This, 2 Chronicles 20:13, is a ‘power verse’ when we apply it to our lives. Standing still is a spiritual action from God’s perspective. We are usually in a hurry to do something to solve our problems without thinking ahead, unfortunately we don’t have the ability to see tomorrow in the right perspective, and ends up in a bigger mess. Because our actions are based on our shortcomings instead on spiritual.

When Jehoshaphat faced the greatest challenge of his life and his country he took spiritual action, he all Judah stood before the Lord. Yes, he didn’t order the army or started the attack, instead he simply stood before the Lord. He was basically saying, “Lord, I am going to wait on You until You do something about this situation. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy my life while I am waiting on You to move.”

Even when we pray and lead a Christian life, most of the time we tend to believe that we are not doing our part if we don’t worry or try to figure out some kind of answer, rather than leaving everything to God. Worry, impatience, anguish and others like these are negative emotions that prevents our deliverance rather than aiding it. Trusting God, completely and unquestionably, is a big ask and it needs pure faith.

Faced with an overwhelming force descending upon them to enslave them and destroy their land, all of Judah came and stood before the Lord. Meanwhile, I am sure the devil was attacking with thoughts of, “What are you going to do? What are you going to do?”

But they just stood, waiting on God.

“Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah,…..He said, Hearken, all Judah, you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat. The Lord says this to you: Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:14-15

 

My Prayer

Lord, thank you for answering my prayers. Help me to realize that You are sorting out my issues when I am waiting on you. Help me to control my undisciplined mind and fill me with trust in You. Help me to wait on You.

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Admit our Dependence on God

dependence-on-god

“O our God, will You not exercise judgement upon them? For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” 2 Chronicles 20:12

Here Jehoshaphat openly admitted to God his total inability to deal with the problem.

Like Jehoshaphat, we also need to realize that we cannot solve the problems we face in life. We do not have answers to every question. We do not know how to deal with every situation we encounter. We are not much different from Jehoshaphat. There are times when we just don’t know what to do. We can boast, as usual, and try to figure out the solutions about things we cannot do anything about until we are completely frustrated and totally exhausted. When we fail we turn to God to do miracles for us on what we cannot do for ourselves.

Each and every one of us can relate so many stories of our insolence, defeat, frustration, humiliation and depression. At last, when we admit ‘I can’t do it’ we will get the answer to our puzzle just like a flash. Have you ever wonder from where or how you got the answer? The answer is ‘it happened just like that, no explanation’. That is the work of God, for we give up our pride and admit ‘I cannot do it’. A complete surrender to God. If we look at us and look around us, we know that we do not know much, in fact very very little.

My prayer:

Merciful God pardon my insolence and pride. I am ignorant and deceitful. You God can see me in and out. I pray today that I will get prudence to depend on You fully and wait for Your miracle.

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My God…My Friend

walking-with-God

“You are My friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14

Jesus called His disciples ‘Friends’. What an elevated status we have with God, yes, we are HIS FRIENDS!

Friends open up each other, share pain and pleasure and nothing hidden between them. Is this true?

Did God open His plans to us? Did HE share His pain with us?

I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me”. John 13:21

We could see a plain open conversation between Jesus and His disciples here. Jesus knows what is going to happen to Him and who is going to betray Him and He revealed it to His disciples beforehand. Whether His disciples completely comprehended His words is another question.

Jesus has been agitated with anger at death:

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” John 11:33

This scene is at the tomb of Lazarus. Like a true friend He pained for Lazarus.

Jesus has been agitated in anguish over His own coming death, which will mean separation from his Father for the first time.

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” John 12:27

In both cases love causes the disturbance-the love for His friend at Lazarus’s tomb and the love for his Father.

What can we see here, a mysterious almighty God or God a true friend?

Jesus calls his disciples His friends and opens His anguish and pain to them. Then why can’t we, His disciples, call Him a friend and open our anguish and pain to Him? Jesus has gone through all these anguish and pain hence He understands our pain too. Trust Him like He trusts us.

It’s a common sight that a father or mother tosses the baby up and the baby laughs. An onlooker may have anguish on this act but not the baby.

And with trust we open our hearts to God and He listens to us as a true friend. Pain shared is pain relieved and a plan consulted is much better and powerful than ill-conceived.

 

My prayer:

Jesus chose me as Your friend, though not worthy to be called like that. Though You have no hesitation to elevate me to that privileged status, I am still hesitant to call you a Friend and open myself to you. Jesus gives me courage and strength to share my anguish and pain with you as a Friend.

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