Wisdom

“Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.” Proverbs 3:13-18

In Hebrew the word wisdom means to separate between good and bad, right and wrong.

Situations that call for Godly Wisdom

Frequently we are confronted with situations that call for wisdom. We must make the split second decision between good and bad, right and wrong. Often this choice is clear. However, many times it is not.

  • The law enforcement officer who must make a decision when to fire his weapon.
  • The parent who must decide on how far to go when spanking his child.
  • The spouse who must decide how long to stay with a man that she loves but abuses her.

 

Do we have Godly Wisdom?

These situations directly from the headlines of today calls for wisdom.   And while in hindsight we can easily and clearly say what course of action we would take. How can we ensure that the Godly wisdom to separate between good and bad, right and wrong, left and right, up and down is in our lives when the time comes for us?

  • To give compassion to a person who is trying my last nerve.
  • To give money again to a person who has squandered my money before.
  • To give trust to a person who has proven unworthy of it.

These are not happy circumstances but “Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.

How do we obtain Godly Wisdom?

Therefore the question is how do we find godly wisdom?

In the 3rd Chapter of 1st Kings we find Two harlots had been arguing over an infant—both claiming custody of the boy.

The women bring their dispute to young King Solomon, and this is how he comes to a solution:

“Bring me a sword,” the young king commanded. “Divide the child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other,” the king said.

Then one of women cried out: “O my lord, give her the living child. Do not kill him!”

The other woman coldly replied, “Divide it.”

With that, the king returned the child to his rightful mother. The woman who was willing to give her son away to another instead of having him killed.

The Godly Wisdom of King Solomon

This oft-repeated account is used to exemplify the famous wisdom of King Solomon.

After the incident involving the two women, First Kings 3:28 tells us “…all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment”

Even today, Solomon’s wisdom is renowned the world over. Much of it is summed up in the book of Proverbs. Many verses there are finely polished nuggets of truth: “Iron sharpens iron”—“Go to the ant, you sluggard”—“A soft answer turns away wrath”—“A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself”—“Train up a child in the way he should go”—“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

God makes available to all of us wisdom, to do His will. And to live lives that will be a testament to the Lord’s presence in our lives.

So how do we acquire the “wisdom of Solomon”? It is by learning and applying Solomon’s individual proverbs? Or is by studying and emulating the life of Solomon? Or does wisdom comes to us as we get older?

Four focus for Wisdom

Solomon was wise and we can be wise also by focusing on these four things:

  1. Know that true wisdom comes from God.

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart” I Kings 4:29.

Solomon was wise only because God gave him wisdom. It was God’s wisdom, God’s understanding, and God’s heart that Solomon exercised on behalf of God’s people. We can be wise when we seek wisdom in God not in man.

2. We find and gain wisdom when we fear the Lord and obey His commandments.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Psalm 111:10

God’s commands are so full of wisdom that if we just follow them our lives will be filled wisdom because we are living as God wanted us to do.

 3. Wisdom is not presence without God’s guidance.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

The Lord wants us to be happy and to do His will. And while it may appear that some are prospering without Him. True happiness and wellness are only possible with the Lord’s guidance.

  1. We must ask God for wisdom.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. James 1: 5

It is that simple, if we need wisdom all we have to do is ask, in prayer.

Final Thoughts: Separation between good and bad

In Hebrew the word wisdom means to separate between good and bad, right and wrong.   As we seek God’s wisdom Psalms 143:10 gives us a platform for reflection and prayer: “Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”

Seek wisdom and you will find The Lord.

 ©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland │

Marben Bland is a professional speaker, writer and business strategist. Specializing in assisting business with the acquisition of human and financial capital along with the strategies required to succeed in the marketplace. Find more post at www.marbenbland.com

 

 

 

Gossip

The word gossip translated into Hebrew is defined as “one who reveals secrets; one who goes about as a talebearer or scandal-monger.”

Paul in Romans 1:29-32 reveals the sinful nature and lawlessness of mankind; stating how God poured out His wrath on those who rejected His laws.

Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness and sin, of greed and hate, envy, murder, fighting, lying, bitterness, and gossip.

…..They were fully aware of God’s death penalty for these crimes; yet, they went right ahead and did them anyway and encouraged others to do them, too.

Despite God’s warnings, Christians are plagued by gossip either by hearing it, speaking it, or being a victim of it.

Gossip is dangerous to Christians. While in worship, we are honest and tender with each other. During these vulnerable moments, we share the raw details of our lives. Gossipers, will use the tender information that was shared and reveal it to others. These intimate items should not be shared. It’s no one’s business!

The reputation of Christians, especially those who are in leadership is ripe for the gossip mill.   Sadly, I have experienced the grinding assaults firsthand; when unbelievable things were said about my character. Yet they, found eager ears to rest upon and spread.

However, Jesus does not want us to feel sorry for ourselves when we are the center of gossip.   As he said in Luke 9:23, “Anyone who wants to follow me must put aside his own desires and conveniences and carry his cross with him every day and keep close to me!

Therefore, while God despises gossip; He also has great disdain for those of us who cannot put aside our “own desires and conveniences”. For as Jesus demands…. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.

So take up your cross and do not gossip. Don’t speak it or hear it. Refrain from all participation of this weak minded act. Yes! Only a weak minded person can be persuaded to victimize another Christian with unproven chatter. Remember, when you become a victim of gossip (and one day you most likely will be); know that God has your back.

All Christians, should find peace in knowing, it is only God’s reputation that truly counts and it is stellar. It is never about us. The only judgment that counts is from The Lord and if we are living right and keeping His commands all the Gossip in the world that is spread about us does not matter.

Because the only words that matter is: “Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant.”  

 

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland │

Marben Bland is a business strategist, professional speaker, and thought leader. Specializing in assisting business with the acquisition of human and financial capital along with the strategies required to succeed in the marketplace.

You Are Important to God

As humans, we are in a constant search for importance. The desire to feel important is primal. The feelings of importance can help keep us stay on the straight and narrow to do the ordinary. The feelings of importance can give us the power and confidence to do the extraordinary.   In all of life’s enterprises, we need to feel important.

What makes you feel important?                                                                           

Research has shown that there are many things that make us feel important. Here is a list of some of the things that bring importance to our lives.

  • Health
  • Work (your position, your profession and the money made as a result)
  • Food
  • Faith
  • Money (and the things it can buy)
  • Family (including children)
  • Sexual Gratification
  • Education
  • Sleep

You are important to God

While it may be hard to fathom, we are important to our all-powerful, all knowing, all important God. But…why? Why would God, who is everything, believe that an inadequate, insignificant, and incorrigible individual like me is important?

Well, the prophet Isaiah tell us: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”   Isaiah 55:8

The Bible gives us several examples why God believe we are important. Here are a few more scriptures for you to hold close to your heart if you doubt God’s thoughts about your importance.

You Are Important To God:

  1. So, He created you in His image.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

You are God’s highest creation. Unlike any of the other things He made, God made you to look like Him.

2. Therefore, He cares for you and knows all about you.

 “Aren’t two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. Even the hairs on your head are counted. 31 So don’t be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31Contemporary English Version (CEV)

God thinks that we are so important that He providentially cares for our needs. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

3. He gave his only son to die for your sins.

 God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. John 3:16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

As Romans 3:23 tells us we are all lost and in need of salvation, God sent His son to Earth to save us because He know “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Let’s get our importance from God

In this world it is sometimes easy for us to think that no one cares about us. That we are not important, and that our lives do not matter. However, always remember, we are important to God:

Because He made us in his own image,

  • Because He knows all about us
  • Because He sent Jesus to die for our sins

Our importance in life does not come from material or social status our importance in this life and the hereafter comes from God. So get to know God, become His friend, give Him your life and watch your importance grow….. Why?. Because we are important to God.

 

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland │

Marben Bland is a professional speaker, writer and business strategist. Specializing in assisting business with the acquisition of human and financial capital along with the strategies required to succeed in the marketplace.

We Come Crying to God

Let’s face it the news this summer has been bad.  Almost every day, at home and abroad the reports have been a constant drum beat of:

War,

Disease,

Suicide

And Shootings.

David in Psalm 34:17 reminds us: “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”

In times like these we need a Savior

In times like these we need an Anchor

Be very sure

Be very sure

That your anchor holds and grips the solid rock

That rock is Jesus

Yes, He is the one

The word of God tells us in John 15:7

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

  Father, today your righteous servants come to you with a cry for help. 

 We come crying for peace from War.

 From the ethnic violence in South Sudan to the War in Ukraine; innocent children are dying. The old are being neglected and homes have been destroyed.  We ask for your wisdom to stop the fighting and to bring the combatants to your peace.   

We come crying for healing from Disease.

 Your children in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria are contracting, suffering and dying from Ebola.   We ask you to cure the sick and protect the medical teams that are doing your will.  

 We come crying for comfort in the aftermath of Suicide. 

 Father, we are frightened, surprised, and concerned; because we have learned that suicide is the 10th leading causes of death in this nation.  While we are in shock of the numerous suicides, Lord we ask that you give us a genial heart; so we don’t cause any additional harm to each other.  Send a release Father!  So those that are burdened find relief and no longer desire to take the very life that you have given them. 

We come crying to stop the Shooting.

Lord we see the cycle of shootings spreading like wildfire in our country; and while we are grieved by the violence we know that it will not end until we turn our prayers to you and ask for:

  •  Better Education    
  •  Responsible Parenting
  • Sufficient Paying Jobs

 We pray for courage to become missionaries in these plagued cities.

We need your boldness:

  • To spread your word,
  • To provide your help
  • And to your love to your people.

So they will know that there’s still hope and their lives can still be changed.

Let’s face it the news this summer has been bad and Father, that is why we have come crying, Crying to you.

Jesus Never Criticizes

As the summer comes to a close, I am rereading the classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. This timeless text by Dale Carnegie has proven to be the roadmap for effective people leadership, since 1936.

“Never criticize” is the first principle of Carnegie’s fundamental techniques in handling people. Carnegie says “Criticism is futile. It puts a person on the defensive and makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous. It wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”

Carnegie’s distain of criticism has a biblical foundation. Paul in Romans 14:13 advises Let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.” (The Amplified Bible).

Carnegie’s chapter on criticism along with Paul’s words in Romans caused me to start praying, apologizing, explaining and changing the way I deal with people. However, as a long time criticizer, always quick to judge, and find fault, condemn or establish blame, breaking this long time habit has proven to be difficult; yet, not impossible.

This introspection has led me to develop three principals that will head-off my urge to be a critic. I present them in this post with the hope that they will do the same for you.

1. Smile A Lot

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:16

Criticism put you in a negative mood; causing you to be cynical about even the most subline things. Your attitude is your reality check. Smiling is a great way to keep yourself in a positive mood. In addition, research shows smiling can improve your health, stress level, and lowers your blood pressure which may lead to a healthier, longer life.

Try This Smile Test: Now, try to think of something negative; but, don’t lose your smile. Was it hard? When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life Is Good!” Smiling will help us stay away from the negative feelings that can lead to criticism.

2. Encourage People

….encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1st Thessalonians 5:11

Life is tough. Situations, finances, and people can get us down. Encouragement in the form of a friendly word or compliment can turn a negative situation into a positive experience.

In my travels I have the opportunity to interact with service sector professionals in airports, hotels, rental car counters and restaurants. These are jobs that are ripe for criticism; because of poor service, high prices, and the general crummy things that can happen during travel.   Carnegie and the Scriptures have transformed my thinking regarding these travel dilemmas. Instead of dwelling in the lowness of criticism inherited in these quandaries; I look for ways to encourage and support the professionals assigned to the task of finding solutions, and performing services while babysitting the traveling public.   Think about it. The airline gate attendant has no control over the weather that has delayed the flight. However, on a daily basis they are confronted by disgusted passengers that respond as if they do. So, to prevent myself from being that guy, I pay attention to the gate attendant and their work ethics; that way, I can sincerely compliment and encourage them.   Try it and you will be amazed by how your actions not only made the service professional feel better; but, it motivated them to perform better.

3. Look for Opportunities to Coach

 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” Hebrews 10:24-25

By now, I am certain many of you have wondered if and when is criticism acceptable. “How can I point out things that people are doing wrong?”   You do it by coaching. Theologian Robert E. Logan says the goal of coaching is to help someone succeed. And what is success? Logan defines it as finding out what God wants you to do and then, do it. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Finally, Logan reminds us that a person’s success is directly tied to finding out what works God has prepared for them.

So, how do I coach someone? The best coaches only offer their advice to those who have asked for it; and those that have given permission to receive it. The Bible has many examples of great coaching:

  • Barnabas and Paul
  • Paul and Timothy
  • Ruth and Naomi
  • Boaz and Ruth

We can help people succeed by offering our wisdom, experience, and knowledge; which, is much more powerful and engaging than simply, criticizing.

Jesus Never Criticized. He Coached and Loved

Jesus is the ultimate coach. He was asked by God to coach man. Part of his coaching was to be born on earth in a humble manner. Jesus asked his disciples to follow him; while he coached them and prepared them for God’s work. He coached the masses by healing the sick. He coaches us with His love when we are downtrodden. His parables were teachings by way of coaching. Jesus never criticized us; even when he hung on the cross. God shows us through Jesus that the difference between criticism and coaching is love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Jesus did not die on the cross so we could criticize each other. Jesus died for us to live our lives abundantly. He wants us to have a cheerful face and be encouraging one another. We should build up one another with positive coaching and love. People who live an abundant life should know how to win friends and influence people not for themselves, but for the kingdom of God. Because the people of God never criticize!

 

 

The Consequences of Ferguson

 “…and the Lord God clothed Adam and his wife with garments made from the skins of animals.” Genesis 3:21 (Living Bible – TLB)

Scripture tells us in Romans 6:23 that, “The wages of sin is death.”

The very first death occurred on the same day as the very first sin. It was the death of an innocent animal that God used its skin as a covering for the nakedness’s of the now newly aware Adam and Eve.

Much about what happed in Ferguson is still to be understood. Evidence needs to collected, leads must be investigated and people need to calm down. However, if trends continue it appears that some skins will need to be handed out.

  • Skins – For the police and the way they have handled the situation
  • Skins – For the media, covering the situation as if it were a rock concert instead of a human tragedy and a plea for justice and harmony
  • Skins – For the rioters who have made the situation worst by adding violence upon violence
  • Skins – For a nation still unable to come to terms with the difficulties and issues of race
  • Skins – For me, because I have failed to speak more about these issues within this blog

Shortly after receiving their skins Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. Man’s relationship with God continued to decline so much so that God brought fire and flood to cleanse the Earth of our sins.

Scripture tells us in Romans 6:23 that, “the wages of sin is death,” however, the text continues to say….”but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Despite our sins God is ready to remove our skins thru His free gift called forgiveness. The consequences of Ferguson require justice, caring and compassion.   The consequences of Ferguson require, the restoration of integrity, and the balm of healing. The consequences of Ferguson require the love of Jesus Christ and requires each of us to follow God’s commandment, “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) God expects that of us and the consequences of Ferguson demand that we respond affirmatively.

Don’t You Worry About A Thing

Worry and fear are closely related in fact I would suggest that they are the same. We worry because we have a fear of something happening to someone or something that we care about or love.

  • I worry about the wellbeing of my son, my daughter-in law and grandchildren
  • I worry about the health of my mother
  • I worry about the anemic hitting of my baseball team the Atlanta Braves

Worry because of the fear it generates can adversely affect us in so many ways:

  • The fear caused by worry can paralyze us: Creating conditions that make it impossible to make even routine choices.
  • The fear caused by worry can defeat us:Allowing us to give up on not only our dreams but on the people who count on us for encouragement and support.
  • The fear caused by worry can embitter us:Souring us on life and all the goodness it can bring.

God Wants to Liberate Us from Worry and Fear

Esther had every reason to worry and to fear. The Persian King Xerxes chose the beautiful Esther after the previous queen was deposed because of her disobedience. In Esther’s rise to power she had hidden an explosive secrete that could lead to her death. She was a Jew.

God’s Liberation of Esther

Haman was the second in command to the King Xerxes in his position it was expected that all in the Persian Empire would bow to show respect. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, refused to bow to Haman this so enraged Haman that he issued an order sentencing all Jews to death.

Mordecai came to Queen Esther with a dangerous but vital mission: She had to save the Jews from death. Out of worry and fear Esther wanted to deny the facts about Haman’s edict. Her fear was focused on the fact that she would be killed if she approached the King without first being summoned. On that basis she denied Mordecai’s urgent request for help.

Mordecai responded to Esther’s fears with a statement that can serve to motivate all of us in times of fear and worry. ”Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 (The Message)

For Such A Time As This

In our lives we all face moments like Esther that were made:

A father,

A mother,

A son,

A friend

Or even a baseball fan

For such a time as this.”

And what is “such a time as this”

Such a time as this is:

When as a parent we are faced with a crisis with a child

Such a time as this is:

When as a son we are faced with the aging of a parent

Such a time as this is:

When as a friend we are faced with the death of someone close to us

In such a time as this: We can take comfort that our faith in God will make it possible for us not to worry about a thing.

Three Ways to Not Worry About A Thing

Faced “with a time such as this” Esther turned to God with three faith based actions giving her confidence “to not worry about a thing” as she takes on the seemly impossible dilemma of saving the Jews.   When we are faced “with a time as this” worry, fear, and despair can paralyze us however, if we follow Esther’s faith based actions we can also “not worry about a thing” when we encounter the dilemma’s our lives.

1. Acknowledging that Nothing Happens Without God

At the moment Esther decided to accept the responsibility of saving the Jews, she realized that without God it would not be possible. She sent word to Mordecai to initiate a series of actions to acknowledge, praise, and encourage God to help rescue the Jews.

2. Acknowledging the Power of Intercession

Esther knew that only the king could save the Jews, as Queen her charm and influence were critical in making this happen. However, Esther’s charm offensive depended on access to the king, and there lies the problem. The king only saw people who he summoned to see him. Anyone approaching the King’s court without being invited was doomed to die. While Esther clearly knew she needed God’s help she also knew she needed others to intercede with God in prayer not only for her safety, but also for the safety of all the Jews.

Intercession is when you bring somebody before Jesus not for your own needs but out of concern for that person. When you pray for somebody else’s needs, that’s intercession.

Look at Esther’s request for intersession: “Esther sent back her answer to Mordecai: “Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even though it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.” Mordecai left and carried out Esther’s instructions. (Esther 4:15-17 The Message)

3. Acknowledging God In Victory

With skill, cunning, and smarts Esther got the king to reverse the decree requiring the killing of all the Jews. Haman the official closest to the king and the person who persuaded the king to approve the decree was executed by order of the king. He was replaced as chief confident to the king by Mordecai, Esther’s cousin and the man who refusal to bow Haman, which was the chief cause for the order sentencing all Jews to death.

Despite these positive developments, trouble still loomed; those who hated the Jews did not obey the reversal of the decree. On the day the disregarded order was to take effect the Jews were attacked. The attackers were overpowered by the previously unlikely combination of Jews and the king’s army, which that only a few months before was plotting to kill them.

Only God could make this turn of events possible. Mordecai, now in charge of the day-to-day running of Persian, realized this and persuaded King Xerxes to acknowledge God with fasting, thanksgiving and prayer in a tradition called Purim.

Therefore, because of everything written in this letter and because of all that they had been through, the Jews agreed to continue. It became a tradition for them, their children, and all future converts to remember these two days every year on the specified dates set down in the letter. These days are to be remembered and kept by every single generation, every last family, every province and city. These days of Purim must never be neglected among the Jews; the memory of them must never die out among their descendants.(Esther 10:28-29 The Message)

What are you doing: To not worry about a thing?

1. What are you doing to acknowledge God in everything you do?

2. Are you regularly engaging in intercessory prayer?

3. Do you have a consistent habit of thanking and praising God for His achievements?

The Bottom Line: Live life without worry

God wants us to live extraordinary lives in service to Him and His people. We cannot live out the great purposes He has for us if we are crippled by worry, fear and doubt. Esther has given us the blueprint for taking on the great issues of our lives when we:

  • Acknowledge God
  • Pray for Others
  • Thank God for His Blessings

With God we can accomplish great things because with God we “Don’t have to worry about a thing”