Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom’

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” Colossians 2:6-7 (NASB).

I’ve been reading a lot lately about growing in God and getting to know His Word more. In the course of that reading and studying, I’ve found numerous references to being firmly rooted in the Word of God. It’s easy to say to be firmly rooted, but what exactly does that look like? I have heard so many different ideas about how to be firmly rooted, but I’m not just wondering about HOW to be firmly rooted. I want to know what that looks like to be firmly rooted.

This morning, I was reading Colossians 2:6&7, and I think I now have a better understanding of what being firmly rooted looks like. I may not have a full picture, but I do have a bigger glimpse of what that looks like. I believe there are three characteristics that someone who is firmly rooted in God’s Word will have based on these two verses.

1) Someone who is firmly rooted in God’s word will be walking in Christ. What does that mean? Well, that means this person is so in tune with the Lord and His Word that He lives out and copies the way Christ lived. That means, he doesn’t judge someone by past or present sins. This person accepts others as they are and cares about them regardless of their lifestyle, habits or character. Our Pastor actually spoke about this last night in our Wednesday evening service. One thing he said, really struck home to me. I’ve heard it before, but last night it sank in a little more. He said, “Acceptance is not approval.” I can accept someone without approving of his/her lifestyle. I don’t have to like everything about someone or agree with everything someone says to accept that person for who he/she is.

Being rooted in God’s Word also means that this person is more likely to be aware of and to actively seek to avoid compromising situations. It doesn’t mean this person hides in a hole and does nothing. No, instead, it means that this person is cognizant of the things that tempt him/her and then does what is necessary to avoid those situations whenever possible. What walking in Christ doesn’t mean is that this person is perfect. Unfortunately, nobody will be perfect in this imperfect earth.

2) Someone who is firmly rooted in God’s Word will be built up in Christ and established in his/her faith. This means that this person knows what he/she believes and continues to live in accordance with that. I can’t know what I believe if I don’t spend time in God’s Word and really take the time to study and understand what God is saying. If I do that, then I will grow in my faith, and I will know what I stand for.

3) Finally, someone who is firmly rooted in God’s Word will be overflowing with gratitude. That means, no matter what happens in life, this person is grateful for the good things he/she has, even when things aren’t going exactly as well as he/she would like. It means this person chooses to be grateful in spite of the bad things that happen. This is the part I have the most difficulty with because it’s really hard to be thankful when I feel like nothing is going right. But no matter my situation, I have a choice. I can choose to be grateful. Or I can choose to complain. Either way, I am the one who has to live with myself. Do I want to be joyful or miserable? It’s my choice. I want to choose gratefulness.

I’m so glad that I was able to read these two verses this morning because they encouraged me to dwell on what God has to say to me in His Word, and as a result, I am encouraged to stop looking at the past and worrying about the future. Instead, I want to focus on what God has for me today. I want to grow and learn. Most of all, I want to be firmly rooted in God’s Word.

Your turn! What characteristics you think someone rooted in God’s Word would have besides these? What other things can we keep in mind about growing in God? I hope to hear from you!!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Advertisements
Photo Credit: Mundoo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Mundoo via Compfight cc

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost an entire week since I left New York. How time flies when you’re busy, right? Anyway, I had intended to keep up with my blog while I was there, but got a little busy after the first couple of days. In fact, I did more driving in that week and a half I was in New York than I do in six months (no joke). It was a lot of fun, and when it came time to leave, I found it quite difficult.

While I was there, I went to visit one of my brothers and his family. I decided that I was going to stop off at my uncle’s house to see my grandmother on the way there. So, I got the address, and general directions, but I figured I’d be fine. After all, I had my phone, which I use for GPS all the time. There was one small problem with that plan – when I hit the little town of Pitcher, the signal on my phone was gone. And I don’t mean it was just slow or spotty. It was completely gone. I freaked out just a little because I had no idea how much I relied on my phone until I didn’t have it to rely on any longer. I pulled over, and tried to get it to work, but to no avail. So, I started driving in what I was assuming was the correct direction, thinking if I could just go a little further, I might get my signal back. In the meantime, I had someone behind me, who was probably getting quite irritated at the crazy lady driver in front of him. So, thinking I’d get out of his way, I pulled into the drive of a church – all the way up to the grassy parking lot.

Now, if you know anything about New York in March, you probably know that it can be cold or warm, snowy or sunny, or any combination of weather. On that day, it happened to be warm and sunny. And when it gets warm, a grassy parking lot is not exactly the best place to stop. See, I, in my infinite wisdom (or lack thereof), stopped on that grassy lot, and tried to figure out how to get a signal on my phone. Within a few moments, I realized it wasn’t going to happen, so I tried to leave. To my horror, the car didn’t want to leave. It was stuck in the mud. I tried for probably a good 20 minutes to get out of that parking lot on my own – making things worse with each passing moment. Finally realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to do anything about the car on my own, I decided that I was going to try to find someone home. So, I knocked on the door of someone across the street. She was quite friendly and gave me some ideas – which probably would have worked for someone other than me. In the end, she and two other people came over to help me get out of the mud. My car and sneakers were covered in mud. The situation seems quite funny now, but at the time, I was frustrated and annoyed and ready to just throw in the towel.

See, while I was trying to get out of that mess on my own, I was praying. I was asking God to get me out of the mess I had gotten myself into. In fact, at one point, I believe I even asked Him why He’d allowed me to get stuck in the first place – as if I hadn’t made any decisions on my own. I had been so focused on relying on my phone, that I forgot to rely on the only one who is able to be relied on at all times. Now, I believe God sent those people over to help me. I truly do because I don’t even know where two of them came from. I only talked to the one lady, but three people came over to help me. And in true small-town fashion, we stood around talking and laughing at the situation afterward. But the moment that could have ended in more frustration didn’t end that way. It ended with me feeling blessed by three people whose names I don’t even know.

I believe God was answering my prayer before I even thought to pray it. I believe He orchestrated events to allow me to learn something. This is what I learned that day. I need to stop relying on myself and everyone else so much. I need to rely more on God. I worry too much about what is going to happen and forget to rely on God. I am so busy trying to control everything that I forget that I don’t really control anything. I whine and complain about the bad stuff instead of remembering Romans 8:28 that tells me that God “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (NASB). I forget that He can use even being stuck in the mud to bring about something good in my life.

In the end, I made the rest of the trip to see my grandmother and my brother and his family with no further issues. But I walked away with a lesson that I hope never to forget. Even when I feel stuck in the mud, God is there, and He is working things out for my good. I don’t have to stress and whine and complain. I can rest in His promise that He is there with me, through everything. And HE is in control.

What about you? Have you had times when you felt like you were “stuck in the mud?” What do you do in those instances? Do you try to control more or do you let it go and trust it will work out?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

 

Photo by Paul JarvisI wrote a few days ago about the need to face forward while running and in life, so that I will not miss the obstacles that are in my path. I mentioned how looking down or to the sides could cause me to stumble. And that is totally accurate. But, the past few time I ran, I realized something else. I am a big picture person. I am the type of person who sees what the end product should look like and then I make a plan to get there. I’m very good at that. What I’m not good at is planning for the problems that might come up. See, I have in my mind this perfect plan where everything will just go as I intend and nothing will go wrong. So I keep my eyes on that big picture, and I plow forward. However, one thing I’ve noticed as I run is that, if I look too far ahead on the path, I “forget” about the obstacles in front of me. I “forget” to pay attention, and the next thing I know, I’m tripping over an obstacle in my path. Or, if I’m looking too far ahead, I miss the hidden obstacles. You know, the ones you can’t see because they’re buried under the pine needles or leaves.

This morning, as I was running, I tripped on one of these hidden objects. There was a root that was buried under a bunch of pine needles, and I hit my foot on that root. I didn’t fall, but I almost did because I was so busy looking ahead, I forgot to pay attention to what was right in front of me. I tend to do this in life, as well. I get caught up in trying to reach my end goal, that I sometimes miss the things going on right in front of me. Perhaps my daughter has an issue, but I don’t notice because I’m so focused on following my “perfect plan.” Problems don’t fit into my perfect plan. Or maybe there is someone in need, but I don’t notice because I’m so focused on my goal. Or maybe it’s just that I fall into a behavior that is not in my best interests because I “forget” to pay attention and avoid it. Whatever it is, I am missing the obstacles, and I get tripped up. When that happens, I guarantee you, I don’t respond in the most gracious manner.

So, what can I do to make this better? For one thing, I can choose to pay attention to what is going on around me. Believe it or not, running has helped me to notice things more because I have become more focused. I am learning to focus on what is going on around me, while still moving toward my goal. Because I am succeeding in this area, I am gaining more confidence in succeeding in other ways. But I believe there are a few things I can do to make sure that my plans are reasonable, and that I am better able to see and avoid (or better deal with) the obstacles in my path.

 1) Ask God to help me make better plans.

James 1:5 says that if anyone lacks wisdom, then we just need to ask God, and He will give it generously and without making us feel bad about asking. I don’t know about you, but I can always use more wisdom. In addition, Proverbs 16 has a lot to say about the plans of a man. Verse 1 says, “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” Verse 3 states, “Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.” And, finally, verse 9 states, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” So, if I am giving my plans to God, and letting Him lead me, then I have a better chance of succeeding because He is all-powerful and best able to help me to succeed.

 2) Ask for counsel from friends or others who may be able to provide insight.

When I just go off on my own thoughts and make a plan, I often don’t look at all angles. I might see one or two, but sometimes I miss the most obvious ones because I am so busy looking at the big picture. So, getting the advice of others can help me to make a better plan. This is in line with biblical teaching as well. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” So, if I get good counsel, I have a better opportunity to succeed. This is really hard for me to do because I like to think I know what I’m doing, and I don’t like to bother people with my problems. But one of the things I have started to learn over the past few years is that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, that is often showing more wisdom than anything else I could do.

 3) Give myself grace when I fail.

I will never succeed all the time. There are going to be times that I fail. I have a tendency to give myself a hard time when I make a mistake, and I don’t let myself forget it. But I need to learn to give grace to myself when I fail, and instead of wallowing in my failure, I need to get up and try again. Failure isn’t permanent. I still have an option to get up and try again, and maybe the next time I will succeed.

So, the next time I make plans, I will ask for wisdom, help and not dwell on my failures. And maybe, just maybe, I will see success with defeating the obstacles in my path.

What about you? Do you find it easy to miss the obstacles right in front of you because they don’t fit into your plans? How do you avoid or deal with those obstacles? What has worked for you?

~Until Next Time,

 Karen Signature

The first to please his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17, NASB)

I love the book of Proverbs – and not just because it’s part of the Bible.  I love this book of God‘s Word because it contains great wisdom.  That wisdom is useful for all of life and not just for those of us who profess to be Christians.

Take the verse above, for example, In a trial, one lawyer questions and another cross-examines.  If that did not take place, the judge and/or jury would only get one side of the story, and their verdict would be biased toward whichever side they got to hear.  I’m sure that we can agree that a trial where only one side is heard would be considered unfair.

Yet how often do we work that way in our relationships with others?  I know there have been times when I have failed to get one person’s side of the story because another friend told me something about that person, and I believed him/her.  Later I found out that the part I had heard was not the whole story.  I am not saying that my friend(s) lied, only that their story was biased toward the side he/she was sharing with me.  When I got the other side of the story, again, that story was biased toward the person telling me.  The reality was somewhere in the middle, in most cases.

One of the greatest examples I have of this “phenomenon” is my daughters.  When they try to involve me in their “spats”, my older daughter will place the blame squarely on the shoulders of her sister and vice versa.  When I break their stories down, I find, in most cases, there is truth in both stories and half-truths in both.  The truth lies in the middle.

So, if this is the case, what should I do with this knowledge?  It has taken me a long time, and I still have times I fail miserably, but what I have learned is to get both sides of a story.  Before I make accusations, I try to listen to everyone involved, and if possible, I will get the facts from objective witnesses to what took place.  I try not to judge without having heard both sides of the story.  Generally, when I wait and get the facts instead of reacting to one side of the story, I am able to reasonably determine the truth and make wise judgments.

By contrast, when I fail to take into account both sides of a story, I tend to make hasty judgments, and in every case where I have made a hasty judgment, someone has ended up hurt.  So, in all cases, I would do well to remember these wise words from Proverbs and get the whole story before deciding what’s true or false.

Until Next Time,