Tag Archives: God’s Word

How to Not Be Spiritually Clueless

7 Oct

A silly woman called “911” on her cell phone to report that her car was broken into. She was hysterical, explaining the situation to the dispatcher.

“They’ve stolen the stereo. They’ve stolen the steering wheel. They’ve even stolen the brake pedal and accelerator!” she yelled into the phone.

“Stay calm,” the dispatcher said. “An officer is on the way.” A few minutes later, the officer radioed in to the dispatcher.

“Disregard the call,” the officer said. “She got in the back seat by mistake.” *

Clueless, right?

Clueless people aren’t necessarily “airheads.” They just have no idea what’s going on.  They haven’t taken time to see the facts that are right in front of them.

The words “spiritually clueless” came to mind recently as I talked to a woman about faith and other spiritual concepts. I had to go back to the basics and explain terms that she should have learned at church. I wondered how this could be, with so many evangelical churches today. Were people just getting pretty stories and no “meat”?

I recently read an article from 1999  ~ and I would imagine that the situation is worse, today. Professor Gary Burge at Wheaton College tests incoming freshmen on their knowledge of the Bible and he says his findings are “alarming,” especially since most of the students at Wheaton come from strong evangelical churches.

For example, one third of students cannot put these in chronological order: Christ, Abraham, Pentecost, and the Old Testament prophets. Half cannot sequence these events: Isaac’s birth, Judah’s exile, Moses in Egypt, Saul’s death. One-third could not identify Matthew as an apostle. Eighty percent of students do not know where to find the Lord’s Prayer.

I recently had a time of Bible study with my middle granddaughter, Jenna. In the midst of our study on fear, we got sidetracked on the word “wisdom.”

“How do I get wise?” she asked. After talking about health wisdom, financial wisdom, relationship wisdom, etc., I told Jenna the most important kind of wisdom is Life Wisdom, because that will help us with all other needs for wisdom. When she asked me how to get this life wisdom, I took her to Proverbs 2:6 ~ “The Lord gives wisdom.”

If you want to be wise, I said, you need to ask God (see James 1:5), and then read the Bible, because that is where you will learn about what God thinks and what His plans are for your life and for the world. Jenna asked so many questions about the Bible that day … I pray she will always seek her wisdom from God.

Later that night, as I watched a television show, I heard a man talk about a woman who was “clueless.” I remembered my conversation with Jenna and thought, “Lord, help me cooperate with my grandchildren’s parents to build spiritual truth and values into all of these dear children so they won’t be spiritually clueless about You when they grow up.”

Wisdom is the opposite of being spiritually clueless. It comes from rubbing shoulders with those who speak and model wisdom and from spending time with God and His Word. Psalm 119:99 says, “I have more understanding and deeper insight than all my teachers, because Your testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:99 Amplified).  “Understanding and deeper insight” … that sure doesn’t sound a person who is spiritually clueless.

Wisdom is what I want for my life, and the heritage I want to leave my grandchildren. [I wish I had read Carrie Ward’s book, Together: Growing Appetites for God, when my sons were young. It would have inspired me to read more of the Bible to my children. I recommend this book to moms who are serious about reaching their children’s hearts for Christ!]

How do you instill wisdom in your children and grandchildren?

* Adapted from “Missing Car Parts,” CybersaltDigest, 5-19-12

– Dawn

The Writing on The Wall

19 Aug

Although much of graffiti is tasteless and nasty, there are some clean, clever graffiti scrawls:

  • On a Beware of the Dog sign … the words were added, “He is very sarcastic.”
  • On a sign for a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger, the word “Cheeseburger” is covered over by the word “Bypass.”
  • On a blank billboard, freshly painted for a new sign, someone wrote the words, “The joy of not being sold anything.”
  • And my favorite … on a sign for a graffiti removal service hotline, someone drew a stick-figure man with a bucket of blue paint and paintbrush … and the little man painted over the ad’s phone number!

Last week, I wrote about facing death and dying… but hopefully, we’ll have some time before we have to deal with that. This post is about dealing with the now.

In a twist on graffiti, for two months in April the citizens in New Orleans were invited to write their “bucket list”-type thoughts on walls at two locations on the opposite sides of the city. The walls ~ painted in chalkboard black over a formerly graffiti-marked structure ~ had an attached receptacle filled with chalk, and passersby were encouraged to fill in the blank after the words, “Before I die I want to …”

New Orleans artist Candy Chang first created the “Before I die” project in 2011 on the side of an abandoned house. Much of the neighborhood was still a wreck after Hurricane Katrina. She felt the project would help ease the city’s pain and give a voice to the community. “The wall,” Chang said, “becomes an enlightened way to get to know your neighbors and discover what matters most to the people around you.” It became a cross-section of citizens’ thoughts and dreams.

The Savannah project team said there was only one requirement. The scrawlings must “Be profound, Not profane.” Many expressions do include the profound: Before I die I want to … “discover who I am” … “love someone” …  “make a difference” … “save a life” … “make the world a better place” … “be someone’s cavalry” … “abandon all insecurities.”

But others are more lighthearted or reflect personal goals:  Before I die I want to … “swim without holding my nose” … “complete my PhD” …  “be published” … “live with the Amish” … “learn French” … “own a monkey” … “sing for millions” … “straddle the International Date Line.”

Some writers tagged off of others’ comments. One that made me laugh was this chalkboard post:  Before I die I want to “marry someone else who wrote on this wall.” Off to the side, in bright pink chalk were the words, “Me, too!”

Another scribe wrote, Before I die I want to “understand.” Below it, a writer said, Before I die I want to “be OK with NOT understanding.”

Wall spin-offs have shown up throughout the US, Mexico, Canada, Portugal, Holland, England, South Africa, and even in Kazakhstan. A wall in Lebanon changed the concept up a bit, asking people to fill in this blank: Lebanon would be better if ….

We might consider that, too:  America would be better if …. Then we can consider whether there’s something we can do to make it better instead of depending so much on the government!

[I know this is off-topic, but I couldn’t help thinking of some writing on a wall (words of judgment) that changed the course of an entire nation (Daniel 5:1-31). I wondered what God might write on a wall concerning America … or our churches. But most of all, I wondered what He might write on a wall concerning my own life.]

But back to those chalkboard walls … how would I finish that sentence: Before I die I want to…” The Bible says, “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18) ~ and this is talking about a revelation from God, a word from the Lord.  I want my answers to reflect God’s truth and biblical wisdom for myself, my family, my church, and my nation.

So many people have bucket lists today. Some bucket lists have huge, grandiose dreams like visiting the Great Wall of China or standing atop the Eiffel Tower or having lunch with a favorite sports hero. A friend of mine, Laura, has simple, attainable items on her bucket list (like having lunch with a certain couple at church) … and that’s a good way to go, because the more accumulated goals we reach, the more potential for celebration we achieve!

Come up with sports you want to try or something in nature you want to do or see; a language you want to learn or subject you want to master; an instrument you want to learn or something challenging to try related to music; an animal you want to adopt; a book you want to read; a monument or museum you want to visit; a hobby you want to learn;  a mission you want to accomplish; a project you want to fund … the possibilities are endless! You are still alive and life is an adventure ~ fill your bucket list and see how many you can accomplish!

How about you? What would you write on that chalkboard wall? Is there anything you can do ~ choices you can make ~ to get closer to achieving that goal?

Time to Resolidify?

28 Jul

Rhonda Rhea is a woman after my own heart. Chocolates bring her exceeding great joy.

In her new book, How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?, Rhonda described a day when someone gave her a big box of chocolates. *

“It was one of those boxes of chocolates with the map in the lid,” she said, and “that lid diagram is a treasure map. There are times when there’s nothing sweeter than digging for treasure.”

But then something terrible happened.

“I got sidetracked and forgot to take the box out of the car,” Rhonda said. “A few hours baking in the car and instead of a box of chocolates, I ended up with a chocolate ooze that eventually resolidified into one giant chocolate.”

She learned a tough lesson. “I’m tearing up just thinking about it,” she said. “It’s just too sad when good chocolate goes bad. Treasure lost.”

Rhonda is known for her quirky comedic train-of-thought, but also for her biblical applications. “How it must break the heart of God,” she said, “when we get messy, slow to learn spiritual lessons… how often do we forget about self-control and turn back to that old way, conforming to the evil desires we had when we lived in ignorance? Why do we even look back at the darkness once we’ve seen the light?”

I’m all about choices, and so is Rhonda. She asks her readers whether they are ready to choose obedience to God and commit to right choices. “Time to resolidify,” she said. Just like that chocolate.

Resolidify? What does that mean in a spiritual sense?

Rhonda explains: “Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the old paths of sin. Sometimes those old paths are well-worn and easy to slip back onto. Ask Him to give you the wisdom to choose well. … You can choose well, even without a map in the lid.”

Choosing well… choosing the path of obedience. I’ve never regretted one instance of obedience to God, have you? Every time I’ve responded to the Holy Spirit’s nudges in my own spirit, I not only bless my Heavenly Father, I also end up blessing my own life with new opportunities to obey! In many ways, my life has been one act of obedience after another ~ an exciting, joyful journey of obedience with the One who loves me and has an incredible purpose for my life … just as He has for your life.

I’ve only regretted the times when God gave me clear direction, either through the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the counsel of godly people, or my own conscience, and I didn’t listen. I didn’t obey.

Who knows what treasures ~ what adventures with God and opportunities to bless and reach others ~ I missed through disobedience.

God gives us a precious treasure map (His Word) … but we’re not willing to follow it. How foolish is that?

“There really is treasure in obedience,” Rhonda said, “and in leaning on Jesus, loving Him, serving Him, bringing glory to His name.” Rhonda is quick to point out that our richest treasure is Christ Himself:  In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).

Have you discovered the treasure of obedience in your own life? Can you remember specific instances when God spoke, you obeyed, and either your circumstances or ministry changed? Do you see the precious treasure of Jesus, your Savior, and how He has transformed your life through His truth and light?

Thank God for those precious treasures…. and for the Word of God and the counsel of the Holy Spirit.

Want another LOL moment?

Rhonda says she discovered a silver lining in the chocolate-melting incident in her car.

“Now that it’s one big hunk,” she said, “I can eat the whole pound and still tell people I only had one piece.”

* Rhonda Rhea, How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?: Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation (New Hope Publishers 2011), pp. 81-82, 85

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