Sep 23, 2011

Seek Wisdom, Develop Good Judgment

Wisdom and good judgment are words you will run across frequently in the books of the Bible written by King Solomon. Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are full of references to becoming wise, acquiring wisdom, developing good judgment, asking for wisdom...the list goes on and on. 

Most of the time, the Bible talks about asking God for wisdom. Obviously it is not something we are born with. We have to get it from someone else. 

Why then, do we so often think we can do things based on our own knowledge base? Why do we think we already know everything there is to know? Or worse, we think we know enough to make an informed decision on our own. That is probably the one that gets us in the most trouble. 

I am trying to stop more often - acknowledge that I may not have all of the information - and then ask those around me with more experience. 

Sometimes you have to stop, remove yourself from yourself and look at things from a completely different point of view. Sometimes you have to dissect a sentence or an emotional response to find out why it was offensive to you. And sometimes you just have to shut up. 

Yep, I said it. Sometimes you just have to bite your tongue. 

I have an incredibly hard time withholding information, mainly advice. Since I think I know everything already, I have a hard time not sharing all of it with other people. Sometimes is it the right time, and sometimes it is not. Usually I just end up with a women's size 10 in my mouth looking for a place I can spend a few minutes chewing on shoe leather.

So, lately I have been asking for wisdom, and swallowing the FACT that I don't know everything. I have been trying to develop good judgment - and sometimes the development process is a little painful, and comes with the side dish of humility.

What I mean to focus on here, is that life is about learning. Don't ever think you have arrived, cause you will arrive flat on your face. 

I think I will just stay down here for a while. The weather is really nice.

Sep 6, 2011

Am I Jericho?

I was reading this morning...more like mid-morning...and came across one of my favorite accounts in the Bible, the fall of Jericho (located in the book of Joshua 6:1-27).

You know how sometimes you read something and it reminds you of the last time you read the same thing? Well that is exactly what happened. A little memory bomb exploded in my mind and I had to look back through my journal to find the entry, and to remember what God was trying to get across to me.

I found the entry back in early March, but the verse I wrote down in my journal that day was in Hebrews 11:30, "It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down." Most people know that Hebrews chapter 11 is called the "Hall of Faith" because it lists men and women, along with events throughout the Bible that required great faith. It's not that the people were great, in fact most of the time they were afraid, but God gave them the gift of faith and they were able to bring Him glory and accomplish something great in his honor. So the account of the Fall of Jericho was so significant that the writer of Hebrews included it in his letter hundreds of years later.

So I went back to Joshua and read the account of the battle, and one verse in particular stood out to me:
Joshua 6:1 Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. 
You see, God had given Joshua the job of leading the Israelites across the Jordan River to take hold of the Promised Land. The thing was, that there were already people living there, so the Israelites had to fight in order to take hold of what God was giving them. (That statement could be a blog unto itself.) Word had spread throughout the land that Israel was undefeated because God fought their battles for them. So, out of fear they closed themselves up behind their walls, and no one was allowed in our out.

Most of us know the rest of the story...God gives Joshua a command to march around the walls of the city once a day for 6 days. The priests were supposed to lead the way blowing rams horns and carrying the ARC of the Covenant. Then on the 7th day they were to wait for His signal (given by God through the priests) and then let out a mighty shout and that the walls of the city would come crumbling down. Then they were to go into the city, destroy everything, except for the things that were sacred to the Lord.

And that is just what happened.

The people obeyed the Lord's command and when the city walls fell, the Army of the Lord ran into the city, destroyed everything except for the items that the Lord wanted for His treasury, and then they occupied the city.

There are so many things you can draw from this story, but what stood out to me back in March, was... "What if I am Jericho? What if I have walled myself off because of fear? What if I am hiding within myself because I am more comfortable with the sin in my heart than with the idea of being purged and occupied by God?"

It only took 7 days for the Lord to break through the fortified walls of a city, how long do you think it would take Him to occupy a heart that is ready to surrender to Him? This is the prayer that I wrote in my journal,
Will you take the walls of my heart and break them like you broke the walls of Jericho? Will you burn out and kill anything that you don't find useful? Will you take the next 7 days and increase my faith? I believe that you are with me. I believe that you want me. I will give you my heart, but only you can breach these walls with your battle cries and your pure undiluted presence. 
 How many times in our lives will we be tempted to build a wall of protection around our hearts? Every time I am hurt, or let down, or offended it would be easy to add another block to the wall. It would be easy to make the promise, I'll never let anyone do that to me again. But think about it friends, what happens to a city under siege? They waste away; they starve to death. Disease takes over and they die slow and painful deaths, their hearts full of bitterness and hatred. What they built to protect themselves, ultimately kills them.

Why don't we trust the Lord instead? Why don't we open the gates to Him, and let Him be our Strong Tower? Let Him be your fortress and refuge in time of need. He is there, waiting outside your gate. Waiting to protect you, to love you, and to guide you. He is very patient, but a time will come when every knee will bow and call him Lord; even those that are still starving behind their walls will bow to Him - but they will perish as enemies.

When this battle on earth is over, where will you be kneeling?

Sep 1, 2011

Night Owls Unite

Lately I find myself a night owl.

OK maybe, I have always been a night owl, and now I am spreading my wings a little bit.

How can real, true blue night owls function in society? I am not trying to be silly here...think about it. If you have a natural tendency to stay up late, it is hard to wake up early. I really believe that some people function better in the evening time, some better in the morning, and some people, well let's just call them middle of the day people.

I have be jolted out of delicious sleep for the past 24 years of my life. Those of you who know me, are doing a little math right now saying, "Now she knows she's older than that." It's true...but I can't remember much of my life before kindergarten, so I am canceling the first 5 years of my life. I digress.

I have been awakened either by alarm clock, panicked mother, roommate, dog licking me in the face, or by my wonderful husband with a cup of coffee at my name it, I have hated it - nothing personal to the waker-uppers. I just don't like waking up early. Especially when I hit my creative peak right about now...9:44pm and I can ride this wave well past midnight if I let myself.

The way I see it, there are only a few options out there for night owls.

1. Suck it up, go through life tired. This has been my method for the past 24 years. It is just the way it goes. When we get to heaven there won't be time, so we won't have to worry. will be like...well Heaven!

2. Become a trucker. Semis own the road after dark. You can have miles and miles of highway under your tires and stay up as late as you want to. Just park by a Taco Bell or a 24-hour Wal-Mart and you've got it made.

3. Take the graveyard shift. Most jobs have one...and no one wants it - except for the night owls. We reap the benefits of the extra hourly pay to work while the rest of the world sleeps.

The problem most creative types will find with options 2 and 3, is that there's no space...the time is too structured. When we would rather be whipping up the latest, greatest, newest thing we are stuck driving or watching the security monitors at the airport.

What are we to do? I guess there is only one thing we can do...refer to option 1. We take what we can get when we get it. We have to monopolize on the moments when we can spread our wings...cause the cage is going to come back some time.

So here's to all the night owls out there. Those who are just logging on to check their email, those who are just signing on to Skype, those who are just typing out a blog...oh wait that's me.

Here's to creative energy, and to the people in our lives who understand us - and don't mind falling asleep with the glow of the computer screen cast across their face.