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His Will Because He Knows

African Proverb

A defining characteristic of this generation is our immediate access to information.  We settle arguments among each other by quickly pulling out our smartphones.

See, the concert starts at 7:30 tonight.

If a guy looks kind of familiar in a movie we can get on imdb.com (Internet Movie Database) and determine almost instantaneously who they are and where we have seen them before.

Yep, that is the same guy from 28 Days Later.

We do not have to “know it all” because we have access to the information.  Yet this trivial ability goes way beyond trivia.  In our lives and for our lives there is a source of knowledge to help us excel everyday at being Christ-like.

This is good news because to

 Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline. – Proverbs 1:7

Tomorrow I take roughly a 5 hour round trip journey to look for work.   Looking for work is a job. There are so many people offering advice that it is easy to confused and not know which way to turn; however, I have been blessed to already have a few interviews.

It is hard to not know which way to go.  It is harder work to have a desire of your own and begin to wonder if that is the way God would have you go.  I am excited about this job interview but I DO NOT want it if it is not where I am supposed to be.  That’s my prayer.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I think I will download this book now, maybe you will enjoy it too.  It is only 99 cents on Amazon “No Help Wanted: Becoming You When You Can’t Work For Them“.  My friend Bill wrote it.

 
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Posted by on 4 January 2012 in Proverbs Project

 

Caught versus Taught

There are a few Solomons that come to mind when I hear that name.

There is crunkalious Solomon Olds of Family Force 5;  Melancholy wordsmith Mark Solomon of Stavesacre; and of course, Solomon Grundy’s search for pants (see end of post).  However none of these characters are the ones that penned the Book of Proverbs.  That honor goes to King Solomon.

This man had a past that could easily have been the subject of a “ripped from the headlines” episode of primetime television.  His mother and father got together during a time of war.  Her husband was on the battlefield and yet her baby’s daddy came from within the palace.  Is this starting to sound like a movie trailer yet?

The end of his life in no less sensational.  King Solomon wound up collecting wives that led him away from the Lord and into worshipping and building temples for idols.  He also began taking in way too many taxes from his people and all around forgetting and forsaking the ways of the Lord he first worshipped.

So why would I want to look at this man’s writings and insights for wisdom?

Because there was a moment in his life where things were going well.  It is not unlike watching a movie where you campaign and root for the hero because they seem to be doing everything right.  Then that moment comes where they slip up and you can see it coming from a mile away.  You yell at the screen – “No, don’t do it”.  They do anyway and honestly that is what makes the movie a bit more interesting.

However, I choose to leave as much drama as possible on the screen, or in this case in the book, and focus on that window of time when above all women, riches, long life or revenge King Solomon sought wisdom. (See 1 Kings 3:4-12)

So now we are left with words that promise the following:

4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.

5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

I am looking forward to this journey.  Is anyone out there with me? or is it just myself and Solomon Grundy?

 
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Posted by on 2 January 2012 in Proverbs Project

 

In Search of Wisdom

Click to Download Printable Version

It is that time of year again where we declare resolutions and what we intend to do differently in the next 365 or 366 days.  We all strive to become better versions of ourselves for ourselves and those around us.  That is my goal too but I know I cannot do it on my own.

There are many books out there that offer insight, instructions and steps on how to transform ourselves into a happier, wealthier, skinnier sequel of our previous self.  I should know. I own quite a few and they are not all bad.  The 4:8 Principle was an inspiring read that actually forced me to change some of my ways of thinking last year.  A few years back I even took an entire class based on Dave Ramsey’s money management principles called Financial Peace University.  It was helpful.

However most things are only helpful while you use them.  A bottle of water is helpful in the desert but only if I drink it.  Then when I am thirsty again I must either seek out another bottle of water or the source to draw a new glass.  Without a continuous supply of fresh water I would surely die over time.

So this year I will try something different for me.  In my search for wisdom to live a better life I will try to focus on just that – wisdom.  This time I wish to concentrate on that book that is synonymous with the the word wisdom: Proverbs.

The beginning even declares as much:

1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

 2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
      to help them understand the insights of the wise.
 3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
      to help them do what is right, just, and fair. – Proverbs 1:1-3 NLT

So here is a special request for all my friends; “and those in Jacksonville in particular” please keep me encouraged!  Seriously.  Some of you have asked me to keep writing and those words were a blessing.

We will make a deal.  If you really want to keep reading then please keep commenting.  Thank you so much and see you along the journey.

Mad Love,

Raven

 
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Posted by on 1 January 2012 in Proverbs Project

 

The Hardest Part

 

Yesterday I was at the funeral for a friend’s Dad.  The viewing and service were both held at 
the Funeral home.  As you would expect the staff was well rehearsed on how to guide everyone in attendance.  They knew how to speak with their family, anticipate their needs and meet those needs.  This was especially apparent at the gravesite.

 

I mentioned to another attendee that watching the casket lowered was the hardest part of my grandfather’s funeral.  He shared that it is often the most difficult part for many people.  Just then our mini observation was interrupted by the funeral director.

 

He began as if he had overheard us.  “Walking away from grave is often very hard but we must remember.  We are not leaving a person behind.  They are no longer in this body.  To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

 

He said more but that really struck me.  He had anticipated what the mourners were experiencing because he had been down this path before – MANY TIMES.  Also the director had learned and honed how to aid others to understand what they are experiencing.

 

Now that makes me think of each of us.  We all carry the memory of hard times when the Lord was trying to teach us something.  This insight helps us make sense of our lives and can do much more.  We can share that knowledge and comfort.

 

The lesson we learn help us teach others and keep them from falling.  See Hebrews 12:11-13 

 

The comfort we received while suffering is made to be shared.  See 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
 
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Posted by on 19 October 2011 in Just Journaling, Quiet Time

 

Set List & Working Together

 
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Posted by on 2 October 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Am I Just Leaves

There exists a moment in Scripture where a hungry Jesus spotted a fig tree. However, when he got up close to it the tree had only leaves. It wasn’t the season for fruit but some theologians point out that the tree didn’t even have the edible knobs (called tasqh) that always show up before the figs. (see Mark 11:12-14)

So a hungry Jesus sees a fig tree. Gets up close. He knows it won’t have figs but is hoping for some of those knobs to snack on. Instead He finds nothing. Just leaves.

This is like being hungry and spotting a Chik-fil-a. It’s before 10:30 am so you know they are still serving breakfast? Well imagine you get all the way there and there is a sign that says “Out of Breakfast, Out of Lunch, Out of Chicken, Out of Tator Tots, even out of Lemonade! …. Just out of EVERYTHING!”

Now if you’re pretty hungry and this was the absolute only option you might be pretty upset. How in the world could this Chik-fil-a have all the lights on, the big ole sign in the air and have nothing to eat. Not even Milkshakes or Waffle Fries.

This is that fig tree to a hungry Jesus and this is what we can become to hungry people.

At MHT and in many areas of our lives we have labelled ourselves as Christians. There is something you have done that lets people know you’re a Christian.

Maybe you have a Jesus Fish on your car, wear a “Heavy Freakin Worship” shirt, have invited them to church or they know you volunteer at MHT. You’re marked. You have leaves. Your sign is on.

Now a spiritually hungry, emotionally beaten or friend in need comes to you. They’ve seen your leaves and your sign.

Do you know what you have to offer?

Remember Jesus wasn’t looking for full grown fruit ready to harvest. He was just looking for something edible.

It may not be your season to stand on a milk crate and evangelize but we can always be ready to offer hope.

If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped?….Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy… 1 Peter 3:15-18 (The Message)

 
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Posted by on 22 July 2011 in MHT Vol Devo

 

Get Juiced!

Recently I have gotten to the point of getting sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  Trips to the doctor’s office

Drink Your Fruits & Veggies

have not yet ended with a diagnosis but rather suggestions.  The foremost being to watch what I eat.

That boring yet sage advice was better received in the infotaining documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (currently available for streaming on Netflix).  Watch it and you will follow the journey of a man that realized he was too young to be overweight and on medication for health-related issues.   Along the way he finds a new reserve of energy and that caught my attention.

So on my journey to a healthier diet I pick up the latest issue of Natural Health which features an article by Lauren Piscopo on juicing fruits and vegetables.  She quotes an author that strikes a chord:

” [Michael Murray] notes that cooking vegetables can destroy up to 97 percent of vitamins B and C, and up to 40 percent of vitamins A, D, E and K. ….. ‘If you don’t eat enough raw foods, you’re not getting adequate cancer-fighting phytonutrients … and anti-viral flavonoids,’ says Murray.  To reduce my risk of chronic disease, he suggests I eat 50 percent of my daily vegetables … and fruits … raw.”

Wow!  It is so odd that such a high volume of the nutrients can be removed as we simply prepare the food!  We do receive some of the vitamins but nowhere near what they really have to offer.

And this my friend is when this article speaks more to my mind and body but my spirit as well.  Lauren’s vivid and concise picture of benefits of raw food makes me think of the raw Word of God.

It is so easy to be presented with an experience of God that has been cooked through another person’s experiences.  Pastors, Theologians and even Friends can eager share their prepared stories of encounters with God but we are getting all the nutrients until we get it raw.

Until we realize that we can encounter God and God is waiting to encounter us in a way that is infinitely greater and more filling than a second hand experience.  After all the very presence of God, the Holy Spirit, has entered us when we receive Christ.

So as I avoid over consuming processed food and make the effort to incorporate more raw foods in my diet … I pray for the focus to add more raw Word and time with God into my diet as well.

(Inspired by Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you. AMP)

 

 
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Posted by on 17 July 2011 in Just Journaling

 
 
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