Reminders When Seeking Wisdom

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Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am a networker and a wisdom-seeker. Since I was in high school I have tried to surround myself with people heading in the direction I want to go who know more about a subject than I do and I am never afraid to ask for help.
 

The Bible is full of encouragement to seek wisdom.

Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance. Proverbs 20:18

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Proverbs 4:5

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

I highly encourage you to seek wisdom.

The teachings on wisdom are like all other teachings within the Bible.  They should be understood within the context of the rest of Scripture.  Recently I was reading in the book of Isaiah and came across a verse that adds a spin to the issue of seeking wisdom:

You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. Isaiah 47:13

I was reminded of three important principles regarding wisdom:

  1. Gaining wisdom is invaluable, but we need to make sure we are listening to the right words of wisdom.
  2. After we have sought wisdom from reliable advisors and we are left to make a decision, ultimately the responsibility to move forward in action is ours.
  3. The wisdom we should seek first and foremost is from God.  Learning to know and hear His voice should be our number one goal in attaining wisdom.

Are you in need of wisdom?  Besides God, who do you go to when you need a word of wisdom?

Seeking God’s Protection and Comfort

iStock_000004677667XSmallBut you, O God, DO see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Psalm 10:14 NIV

The man was really just trying to be nice. The cute little boy cowered, however, into his Daddy’s shoulder…..

I remember when my son was younger, three or less, and we would be in public and a stranger would come up to take notice of the cute little blonde in my arms. The more the person would try to get my son’s attention, the more my son would hide his face in my chest. We called it shyness, but it was really a son seeking protection in his father.

Do you ever have need to seek your Father’s protection?

We see so many hardships in life. We endure struggles and heartaches and are sometimes tempted to ask, “where is God in all this?” Often we fail to recognize God in the midst of trials.

May I assure you of something? God does see trouble and grief. He is not oblivious to our pain. He is carefully watching over His children. At just the right time, God will literally take our struggles in His mighty hand and lift us up out of our pit of despair.

The Psalmist talks about the victim. Have you ever felt like a victim? Do you often feel there is nowhere to turn?  God wants to protect His children. God is looking for victims who will call upon His name.

Climb into Daddy’s lap today! Rest your weary head on His powerful shoulders! Cast your burdens upon Him, because He cares for you! Tell Daddy you love Him and trust Him with all your heart! You might even want to read the Bible together.

Tell Him a little child sent you!

Congratulations Lithuania on 1,000 Years! (How to make a vision last!)

125px-Flag_of_Lithuania.svgJust a couple days after our own celebration of independence as a country, today I want to honor another country.

We had the opportunity our last night in Lithuania to attend an opening weekend of celebrations for Lithuania’s 1000th anniversary. Thousands of people crowded the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, to hear presentations, sing songs of pride, watch period dances and have a good time. Lithuanians love to celebrate.

I cannot imagine history in terms of the thousands, but it is standard in this part of the world. One thing that spoke highly to me is the pride that was displayed in the people that night. For one thousand years the country has suffered periods of wars, domination and corruption, but one thousand years later they still have pride in their nation. I love the perseverance in that fact.

As someone who studies organizations and leadership I think there are lessons to be learned from us in this. For 1,000 year the Lithuanian people have:

  • Continued with a common vision of pride in country
  • Rallied together during stressful times to promote their continuance as a nation
  • Made the best of the situation when bad circumstances faced the country
  • Worked to consistently improve their circumstances
  • Celebrated the good times

Could your organization take lessons from the Lithuanian people?

Happy Anniversary Lithuania!

The Real Top 10 Reasons I Love America

american-flag-2aYesterday, as I was preparing to leave a foreign country to return home after almost two weeks away from the United States, I posted a quick entry called 10 Reasons I Love the USA.  A comment to my earlier post convicted me that I needed another post.  I often write tongue-in-cheek satire posts that are a reflection of some of the random thoughts that go through my mind at times.  This post was one such entry.

Yesterday’s post was not at all meant to capture my true heart of patriotism towards our great country.  Sometimes it is hard when someone only reads one post of a blog to understand the real person behind the blog.  I write frequently here about some of the things I love about this country, but I decided it was a good idea to share another post with my real top 10 reasons I love the United States of America.

I love the U.S.A. because:

  1. We still elect our leaders and have a stake in the direction of our nation.
  2. Our nation, in spite of our political differences, still rallies behind the idea of independence as a nation.
  3. The United States is still one nation that allows individuals who apply themselves and work hard to succeed.
  4. We have a rich history of patriotism and fighting for freedom here and around the world.
  5. We have so many dedicated men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect our freedom.
  6. Our military families suffer separation as a family and even loss in order to have a strong military presence around the world. You can read another post about my love for military HERE.
  7. We are a nation of many background, nationalities and ethnicities, but we have a common bond of freedom.
  8. Our nation still is a commanding leader in capitalistic thought and practice.
  9. I can complain about things I see wrong in this nation, without fear of retribution from government, and know in my heart that I am still very proud to be an American!
  10. Our freedom allows me to do what I do (preach the Gospel) without fear of government interruption.

God bless America, land that I love!

10 Reasons I Love the USA (Happy 4th of July)

1136185_92020858We love to travel.  Through personal travel and missionary trips I have seen many wonderful places in the world.  I love discovering new culture and I believe there is much to be learned from other countries.  After almost two weeks away, however, I am reminded how much I love my country.

We are traveling home on the United States’ birthday.  In honor of her special celebration, here are 10 current reasons I love America:

  1. I love the USA because we have air conditioning in hotel rooms.
  2. I love the USA because we have baseball.
  3. I love the USA because we call the right game football.
  4. I love the USA because we drive on the “right” side of the road.
  5. I love the USA because we smile when we meet people on the street.
  6. I love the USA because we us deodorant regularly.
  7. I love the USA because we value capitalism.
  8. I love the USA because we appreciate good customer service.
  9. I love the USA because we respect personal space.
  10. I love the USA because we actually trust our police officers.

We have our faults, but when it is all said and done, there is no place like home.

God Bless the United States of America…my home sweet home!  Happy Birthday!  May your best days be in the days to come.

Why do you love America?

You can also read “The Real Top 10 Reasons I Love the U.S.A.”

The Strength of the Lithuanians

125px-Flag_of_Lithuania.svgOne thing that has kept us occupied the most in our culture training this week in Lithuania is the difference Soviet occupation has made on this country.  People talk constantly about “Soviet times” and “during occupation”.  We visited the KGB museum and saw the evidence of the stressed conditions of the people. Not one family here is unaffected by those days.

There are many visual evidences of those times, which ended about 20 years ago.  You can see it in the building disparity.  There will be a beautifully architecturally designed building Europe is famous for right next door to a very plain, no flash, almost ugly Soviet-built building.  It is obviously the major influencer of the economy here that has tried to learn to adjust to capitalism and the freedoms that come with it.  Sadly, you can see it in the fact that there are lots of older women walking the streets, but relatively few older men.

In spite of the hardship of this country, however, it has been amazing to see the tenacity of these people.  They are survivors.  They find a way to make something work.  They find a way to be happy, to provide for their family, and even to give to others.  I will be telling more stories later when I have more Internet time, including one man’s story that literally blew me away, but for now let me just say that I hope when times are tough for me I will have the courage and resolve of these people.

Are you having a hard time these days?  Perhaps you need to hang around my Lithuanian friends for a while.

Are You Feeling Unqualified For Today?

This morning, as this is posted 8 hours after it is written, I will speak to a group of Lithuanians who mostly do not speak English.  In fact, my talk will be translated into Lithuanian and Russian.  There is a part of me feeling a bit unqualified.  I am reminded of the story of Moses.

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. Exodus 4:2 NIV

Moses had plenty of excuses. He couldn’t do what God was asking of him. He was not the right choice to carry out the mission of God. If God really wants to achieve victory….well…He’d just better pick someone else. Moses had the excuses, but God already had the plan…and it included Moses!

God said to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” Moses responded, “A staff”, but he must have looked at the staff and thought, “Well, it’s just a stick God. You’ve seen one before! After all, you made them. I just can’t walk as well now in my older years. This helps me climb over the rocks. Gee, I thought you knew what a staff was…”

Then, Moses observed God do miracles with that ole stick right before his eyes. And that was only the beginning. Moses would see God perform many other miracles with the “ole stick” in the days ahead.

Moses was not eloquent in speech. He did not command a great army. He was in exile from his people. He was not the most obvious choice to lead this great exodus from Egypt, but He was God’s man. And, Moses had everything God needed to complete the task!

You and I do too! Sometimes we may not have what we think we need to accomplish the task of the day or to get through a trial; to conquer the mountain ahead or to see victory, but God has a plan! God asks of you and I today, “What is in your hand?”

God has fully equipped us to do the work in which we are called!

If you do not have confidence in your abilities today have confidence in your Creator! He has prepared you for this day!

Use The Summer To Prepare For Fall

SummerSunOne quick reminder.  Don’t kill a summer.  Use it to plan for fall.

Summer is often a time for church leaders (unless you are youth leaders) to take vacations, chill out, and rest up.  While I agree with that need, the fact is that fall gets here quickly and we need to be prepared for one of the best growth opportunities of the year.

Take some extra time before summer is over to spend some time dreaming, planning and implementing steps to help your church have a great fall!

I would love to learn from you.  What are you doing this summer to prepare for a great fall?

An Encouragement To Be A Dad (Happy Father’s Day!)

1013952_55377813Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Psalm 128:3 NIV

The role of a father is so important in the home. God bless the fathers of the world today!

I have shared this story many times, but a friend told me once about an incident at her daughter’s house. Her son-in-law was really excited about reading the “Left Behind” series of fiction novels. One night he was so anxious to finish the latest release that he stayed up most of the night. Seated comfortably in his favorite chair, his back was to the rest of the house. The first time he got up was well after midnight. He was startled to stumble over one of his sons. His son was sleeping behind his chair, just to be close to “Daddy”.

What an impact a father has on his family. I can honestly say I have never met a woman who would not faithfully serve the Lord if her husband did. Most women I know, even very independent women, welcome their husband assuming the spiritual leadership of the home. Women are freer to serve Christ and be fruitful for the Kingdom when they have a supportive husband who surrounds her with unconditional love.

Children love to spend time with their fathers. They long for male attention, male interaction, and a father’s approval. One of the greatest gifts I can give to my boys is to simply spend time with them in the backyard. They love for me just to pass a ball with them. It is these times that I believe is molding their character into being godly young men.

Fathers, please, don’t neglect your greatest responsibility. I know the world is demanding much from you these days. I know you are tired from the pressures and stress of life, but your family’s health depends so greatly on the important role you play.

A Dozen Things That Encourage Me (Plus One)

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Here’s a random post that came to me this morning. I was thinking about some of the things that encourage me in life.

 

 

 

Things such as:

  • The reminder of God’s love
  • Cheryl’s smile
  • Time with my boys
  • A baby’s giggle
  • A Bible verse
  • A big dream
  • A kind word from a friend
  • A special memory
  • A thank you email
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • An answered prayer
  • The awareness of God’s presence
  • The love/innocence of a child

What would you add to this list?  What encourages you?