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Posts tagged ‘Wisdom’

Start Young.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Recommended Reading
Ephesians 6:4 ( )

King Solomon did not have access to modern research on child development. But several thousand years ago, he said something about children that modern research has validated. Today, child development experts suggest that the majority of a child’s personality is in place at a very young age. Solomon suggested something similar: A child’s foundational values will stick with him or her for the rest of the child’s life.

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Specifically, when talking about raising godly children, Solomon said to begin training them when they are young and the training will stay with them even when they are old. The Book of Proverbs is a collection of wisdom — wise sayings that reflect godly principles. Proverbs 22:6 doesn’t mean there will never be a child raised in a godly home that won’t walk away from God and stay away. Rather, it is an instruction and guide for parents: Build into your children at an early age godly principles and those principles will guide them as they grow older.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start young when training up your children. Trust that God will bless that training even when they are old.”

If you would train your children rightly, train them in the way they should go and not in the way they would.
J. C. Ryle

Jeremiah 37-39

By David Jeremiah.

Wisdom U.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7

Recommended Reading
Proverbs 1:1-7 ( )

Recently CBS News ran an interesting article on the problems of getting a Ph.D. According to the report, there are a dozen downsides to getting that coveted degree. For example, you might end up on food stamps. In the three years covered by the report, the number of Ph.Ds. who filed for food stamps more than tripled. It may also be hard to find a job. Between 2005 and 2009, America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees, but only 16,000 new professorships were created.

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If you’re working on your education, keep at it! We don’t want to discourage you. We need more and more Christians with higher and higher degrees, and we certainly need more Christian thinkers speaking into our culture. But the most important degree is from God‘s University of Wisdom.

Solomon understood the difference between intellect and wisdom. Our scholastic knowledge is of little value compared to the wisdom we attain when we study God’s textbook, the Bible. We can’t all earn a doctorate, but we can all enroll in Wisdom U.

Applying God’s standards to life’s choices is called wisdom; applying the world’s standards is called folly.
Woodrow Kroll, in Proverbs: The Pursuit of God’s Wisdom

Jeremiah 6-8

By David Jeremiah.

How Perspective Can Be a Leader’s Best Friend.


Imagerymajestic/Free Digital Photos

Last night I was reading in 1 Kings 12 as part of my daily reading plan. This pivotal moment in a new king’s reign is interesting to investigate.

I mean, we knew based upon a warning God gives to Solomon that the better part of the kingdom would be removed from the hands of his son. But how it happened is intriguing to me.

In the latter part of Solomon’s life, his great wisdom was not on display. In fact, I would argue that in the season his son, Rehoboam, was growing up, Solomon’s focus was on experiencing the pleasures of life.

Although I’m sure Rehoboam learned how to throw a crazy shindig, I don’t think Solomon was focused on raising his successor to understand how to lead a kingdom with wisdom. And we see this play out soon after Rehoboam takes the throne.

In 1 Kings 12, Jeroboam comes before Rehoboam representing all of Israel. He has one question: Will you work us as hard as your dad? Because if you do, we won’t serve you. But if you don’t, we will: “Your father made us carry a heavy burden. Reduce the hard work and lighten the heavy burden he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam had a critical decision to make—and it had nothing to do with what kind of party he would host. It had everything to do with whether or not he could create a following.

Rehoboam first went to some of the older leaders that served his father. He asked them for guidance in his response to Jeroboam. Then Rehoboam consulted his buddies.

The problem is, Rehoboam had no trust invested in the older leaders that served his father. Who knows what his perception of them might have been? It’s likely he was familiar with them since they were part of Solomon’s court. However, we don’t know what kind of relationship Rehoboam had with them. We only know he disregarded the advice of the leadership in favor of the advice of his buddies.

It’s a great leadership reminder for me today. Seeking guidance and advice from seasoned leaders is a wise move. They can see things I can’t see. They’ve experienced things I haven’t experienced. Their perspective is better than mine.

Ultimately, the decision still falls with the leader. So you’ve got to be prepared to stand behind it. But when you gather advice and input, make sure your source is rooted in wisdom.

Written by Gina McClain

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children’s ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tenn. For the original article, visit

How to Influence People Spiritually.

Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Mel Lawrenz‘s book, Spiritual Influence: The Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012).

Our fallen world is in urgent need of people who are willing to serve God by helping people as spiritual influencers. You can be one of them. In your sphere of influence – your family, your workplace, your church, your neighborhood, and everywhere else you’re in relationships with others – you can influence people spiritually, joining God in His redemptive work. Here’s how:

Understand influence. Influence is a form of leadership in which you can become a channel God uses to help bring powerful and lasting change for the better to people who need it. When you spiritually influence people, you help meet their needs for faith, hope, and love, by showing them that they can have faith in God, hope for the future, and rely on God’s love for them.

Learn to follow. The way to successfully lead others is to follow Jesus Christ first. When you follow Jesus, He empowers you to lead others to Him – and the greatest gift a leader can give people is to teach them how to follow Jesus. If you make people dependent on yourself alone, you’re setting them up for disappointment, because as a fallible human being you’ll eventually fail them. But if you teach people to depend on Jesus, you’ll connect them with a perfectly reliable source of whatever they need.

Engage with God. You build your spiritual influence on the foundation of a connection with God, so aim to strengthen your relationship with God every day. Then you can see people and understand their potential and problems from the right perspective, and you can understand your role as a leader accurately. Incorporate worship and prayer into your life, making a habit of bowing to God’s greatness and goodness often. Ground your relationship with God in spiritual disciplines such as frequent Bible reading and meditation. Doing so motivates you to submit your will to God’s will, putting you in a position where God can best use you as a spiritual influencer.

Build integrity. You need to earn people’s trust in order to effectively influence them, and the way to do so is to model a lifestyle of integrity for them. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day so you have right motives for what you say and do, and to help you become a person who is more honest, humble, and self-controlled. Seek to bring coherence between your public and private life and between every aspect of your personality so that you behave with integrity in every situation.

Explore new horizons. Since the Holy Spirit is always leading people to explore new horizons, it’s essential to take the risks necessary to explore those horizons in the process of spiritually influencing people. You can inspire people by exploring new horizons, because everyone wants to discover something new and fresh.

Stream ideas. As ideas from God flow into your mind, you should let them flow out to others by communicating them regularly. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind daily. Make time to think deeply about the decisions you make and discuss with others the reason behind your decisions. Help others understand how biblical ideas about topics such as human purpose and dignity, community, peace, well-being, and justice can inform their lives.

Seize opportunities. Expect God to constantly bring you new opportunities to spiritually influence people. Discern if the opportunities you encounter are from God by considering whether or not they’re consistent with biblical values and God’s purposes for your life – and if so, say “yes” to God and take action.

Make things right. Invite God to use you as one of His instruments for making things right in this fallen world. Cooperate with God in His redemptive work by pursuing justice, mercy, and humility.

Speak into crises. People are especially open to spiritual influence from leaders who help them during crises. Do your best to be a caring presence for people as they go through crises, listening to them, speaking to them with wisdom and grace, praying for them, and giving them practical support as God leads you to do so.

Develop discernment. Accumulate the knowledge you need to be well-informed before making decisions, and pray for the ability to make decisions with good judgment.

Pursue wisdom. Seek wisdom from God rather than from any lesser source. Make a habit of reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible while asking the Holy Spirit to help you apply its wisdom to your life.

Receive power. Humble yourself before God, setting aside ambition for selfish power and instead asking God to let His power flow through your life as you serve others. In the process, God will use you to transform people’s lives for the better.

Accept authority. Recognize that any real authority you may exercise when you’re trying to spiritually influence people comes only from God, as a gift – not from yourself or anything that you’ve done to deserve it. Be open-minded about others exercising spiritual influence, realizing that the Holy Spirit may use anyone at any time.

Promote truth. Help people ground their lives in the reality of biblical truth by communicating it confidently as you write and speak with people throughout each day.

Manage expectations. Offer people encouragement, support, and accountability as they try to live up to the expectations involved in fulfilling God’s callings for them. Do your best to exceed people’s reasonable expectations of you, and be graceful with others when they try to meet your expectations of them.

Persevere and plod. When you keep going in the face of adversity, stay faithful to God when you’re disappointed in life, and continue to live with integrity when you’re mistreated, you’ll inspire people to take their own faith seriously. Envision Jesus telling you when you get to heaven: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Let that motivate you to persevere every day.

Expect wounds. Don’t be surprised when other people wound you or you wound others; it’s inevitable in a fallen world. Whenever that happens, rely on God to reset your thoughts, words, and actions so you can pursue forgiveness and healing.

Deal with criticism. All leaders will be criticized sometimes, so don’t be shocked when it happens to you. Respond calmly rather than angrily. Ask God to teach you whatever He may want you to learn from constructive criticism, and to help you heal from destructive criticism.

Build past failure. Accept the fact that you, like all leaders, will sometimes fail. When you do, admit it and learn from it so you can emerge from it a stronger person and leader.

Sanctify ambition. Direct your ambition toward pursuing God’s purposes for your life and pray for the wisdom you need to stay focused on that without getting distracted by any lesser pursuits.

Adapted from Spiritual Influence: The Hidden Power Behind Leadership, copyright 2012 by Mel Lawrenz. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich.,

Mel Lawrenz trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years, having succeeded Stuart Briscoe, and now serves as Elmbrooks’s minister at large. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought (Marquette University) and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University.

By Whitney Hopler

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who has served as a contributing writer for many years. Visit her website at:  

Publication date: April 17, 2013

Prayer: The Leader’s Secret Weapon.

Everyone depends on a leader for answers. “Where do we go next?” “What’s our goal?” “Should we move ahead or wait?” It’s the leader who must make these decisions, sometimes choosing between the greater of two goods—the lesser of two evils.

Where does the leader go for help?

Effective leaders have learned this secret: They are not alone. When forced to make tough choices, they seek the counsel of One greater than themselves. They seek God‘s guidance.

Pray for Perspective. Competence, skill and intelligence are all important attributes of leadership, but there is one greater: faith. Truly great leaders believe in Someone greater than themselves, and they express that belief in regular times of reflection and devotion. By spending time alone with God, leaders gain perspective. They are reminded of what really matters—and what doesn’t.

Pray for Wisdom. Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible, was offered an incredible opportunity. God told Solomon he could ask for anything and receive it. Solomon asked for wisdom. As a result, he became the greatest king in the history of his nation. Great leaders pray not merely for specific needs: things such as better staff, more funding or greater resources. They pray for something more fundamental, the wisdom to make proper choices. They pray that God will make them people of insight, discernment and integrity.

Pray for Guidance. Even the most competent leaders ask for advice. Great leaders take their questions to God, asking for insight. They consult the Master Planner before announcing a new policy or strategy. They seek God’s direction for specific decisions and for major goals.

Pray for Strength. When it comes to facing adversity, there are two types of leaders: those who go it alone and those who succeed. For great leaders, prayer is not a way out; it is a way through. The strength that is derived from communication with God sustains them through times of adversity. Prayer is a vital part of their spiritual support system.

Abraham Lincoln said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.” What was true for Lincoln must be true for all of us.

Remember you are not alone. Make use of the most powerful weapon in the leader’s arsenal: prayer.

by Stan Toler

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The Skill of Living .

How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
Proverbs 16:16

Recommended Reading
Proverbs 8:1-11  ( )

When we marvel at the work of an artisan or craftsman … when we are amazed at the performance of an athlete … when we are astounded at the performance of a musician … in every case we applaud their skill. Talent is involved, but skill is the result of talent refined through years of practice.

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In the Old Testament, such performers would have been described as wise, not skillful. That is because the Hebrew word for wisdom — hokmah — is actually the word for skill. We think of wisdom as being intangible, a hard-to-define quality that is mysteriously attained.

In fact, wisdom is simply skill — the kind of skill needed to make the high priest’s garments (Exodus 28:3), the fabrics for the tabernacle (Exodus 35:35), an idol (Isaiah 40:19), or to pilot a ship (Ezekiel 27:8). So what kind of skill does the Book of Proverbs talk about more than 100 times? Wisdom is the skill of living life from God’s perspective, a skill that is acquired by humility and reverence before Him (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).

The more we fear (reverence) the Lord, the more skillful at life we become.

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and they that lack the beginning have neither middle nor end.
John Bunyan

Deuteronomy 3-4

By David Jeremiah.

Words from the Wise: Daniel.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.
Daniel 2:20

Recommended Reading
Daniel 2:20-23 ( )

Check out these book titles: Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things … Why Smart People Do Stupid Things with Money … Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things … Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid … Why Smart Companies Do Dumb Things … Why Smart People Make Dumb Choices …. I guess there are so many books with similar titles because we identify with the subject. We like to think we’re smart, but sometimes we all do and say dumb things.

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Skip the aforementioned books and spend time instead in the Book of Daniel, and discover one of the wisest men of Scripture. His insights are as fresh today as when first penned. His understanding of the times is more relevant than ever.

Daniel trusted God for wisdom and always gave God the credit. As we study God’s Word — including oft-neglected books like Daniel — we’ll grow in wisdom, be less likely to do foolish things, and God will be increasingly glorified in our lives.

Daniel gave all the glory to God; he took none of it for himself. There is no limit to what God will do for the believer who will let God have all the glory.
Warren W. Wiersbe

Numbers 22-24, Numbers 25-26

By David Jeremiah.

Wisely Handling the Bible’s Wise Sayings.

Every culture seems to have its own unique, collected wisdom, pithy insights of the wise. Oftentimes, these tidbits of wisdom are preserved in the form of the proverb. We have proverbial sayings in American culture. I am thinking of sayings such as “A stitch in time saves nine” or “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

The Bible, of course, has an entire book of such pithy sayings — the book of Proverbs. However, this compilation of proverbial wisdom is different from all other such collections in that these sayings reflect not just human wisdom but divine wisdom, for these proverbs are inspired by God.

Still, we must be very careful in how we approach and implement these wise sayings. Simply because they are inspired does not mean that the biblical proverbs are like laws, imposing a universal obligation. Yet, some people treat them as if they were divine commandments. If we regard them in that way, we run into all kinds of trouble. Even divinely inspired proverbs do not necessarily apply to all life situations. Rather, they reflect insights that are generally true.

To illustrate this point, let me remind you of two of our own culture’s proverbs. First, we often say, “Look before you leap.” That is a valuable insight. But we have another proverb that seems to contradict it: “He who hesitates is lost.” If we tried to apply both of these proverbs at the same time and in the same way in every situation, we would be thoroughly confused. In many situations, wisdom dictates that we examine carefully where we should place our steps next so that we are not moving blindly. At the same time, we cannot be so paralyzed in our evaluation of the pros and cons of our next move that we hesitate too long before making a decision and lose opportunities when they present themselves to us.

Naturally, it does not really bother us to find seemingly contradictory proverbs in our own cultural wisdom. But when we discover them in the Bible, we find ourselves wrestling with questions about the trustworthiness of Scripture. Let me cite one well-known example. The book of Proverbs says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly” (26:4a). Then, in the very next verse, we read, “Answer a fool according to his folly” (26:5a). How can we follow these opposite instructions? How can both be statements of wisdom?

Again, just as in the example I gave above, the answer depends on the situation. There are certain circumstances when it is not wise to answer a fool according to his folly, but there are other circumstances when it is wise to answer a fool according to his folly. Proverbs 26:4 says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself” (emphasis added). If someone is speaking foolishness, it is generally not wise to try to talk to him. Such a discussion will go nowhere, and the one who tries to carry on the discussion with the fool is in danger of falling into the same foolishness. In other words, there are circumstances when we are better off saying nothing.

At other times, however, it can be helpful to answer a fool according to his folly. Proverbs 26:5says, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (emphasis added). Although it was made an art form by the ancient Greek philosophers, the Hebrews understood and in biblical teaching sometimes used one of the most effective ways of arguing with another person. I am referring to the reductio ad absurdum, which reduces the other person’s argument to absurdity. By means of this technique, it is possible to show a person the necessary, logical conclusion that flows out of his argument, and so demonstrate that his premises lead ultimately to an absurd conclusion. So, when a person has a foolish premise and gives a foolish argument, it can at times be very effective to answer the fool according to his folly. You step over onto his territory and say, “Okay, I’ll take your position for argument’s sake, and I’m going to take it to its logical conclusion and show you the foolishness of it.”

So, the book of Proverbs is concerned to give us practical guidelines for daily experience. It is a neglected t treasure of the Old Testament, with untold riches lying in wait in its pages to guide our lives. It holds real, concrete advice that comes from the mind of God Himself. If we want wisdom, this is the fountain from which to drink. He who is foolish will neglect this fountain. He who is hungry for God’s wisdom will drink deeply from it. We need to listen to the wisdom of God so that we can cut through the many distractions and confusions of modern life. But, as with the entirety of the Word of God, we need to be zealous to learn how to handle the book of Proverbs properly.

{ Day 365 }.

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God—Proverbs 2:1-5

Search the Scriptures and look for new insights into the ways of God with His people. Study the history of revivals. Wisdom and errors are easier to perceive with the luxury that hindsight affords. Encourage people to rejoice in that, whether or not they have personally been manifestly touched by the Spirit, God is visiting the body in general. Let us not be so individualistic in our thinking. May we all trust the Lord to give us our personal portion in any visitation and be glad for what He is doing in others. This attitude puts us in the best possible condition to be able to receive what God does have for us as individuals.


Thank You, Father, for all that You are doing in my life. I commit my life to searching Your Word and Your presence for new revelation from You. I want to be fully engaged in Your destiny for my life. I want to be counted worthy of manifesting Your marvelous love to others. I am Yours, Lord. Use me in any way You choose—now and forever.

Encourage people to rejoice in that, whether or
not they have personally been manifestly
touched by the Spirit, God is visiting
the body in general.


Brain power…

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever been at one of those dinners where the questions of “who’s the feeler” and “who’s the thinker” comes up? You’re with a bunch of people and somebody answers, “Well, she’s the feeler, and I’m the thinker.” Someone else says, “I’m the emotional one, and he’s the more logical one.” The whole thinking and feeling question is a very, very important one for how we operate in life.

God gave us this brain, this mind, as a gift. What we find is that we’re under-using this brain we have. Neuroscience has told us many things about all the potential and all the power our brains and our minds have.

I work a lot with leaders, successful people, and organizations. When I do, I study those with success to learn what I might do to help other people become more successful. One of the things I have discovered is that successful people use their entire brains – the feeling parts and the thinking parts. They’re not just limited to one aspect of their brain.

One of the keys to being a successful person is using your entire mind.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of a sound and growing mind. Help me not to be only a thinker or a feeler, but one who uses all the miraculous areas of my mind, heart, and soul. Amen.

Devotion: Would you consider yourself primarily a feeler or thinker?.

By John Townsend, Crystal Cathedral Guest Pastor.

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