Showing posts with the label experience

Confucius say...

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. People who work for peace in a peaceful way get the blessings that come from right living. (James 3:17-18) Right living is not always what we see modeled around us, is it? At times, we observe others and know their actions are going to create havoc. There are even times we can feel ourselves 'winding up' and know very well that the outcome of that 'wind up' will not fare well for us! Confucius once said, "By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." We often revert to imitation because it is the easiest, but I also know from my own personal growth, experience has played a big part in how I view and r

Make some sawdust

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” (John 8:31-32) There is nothing that frees an individual quite like God's truth. Truth is worthless if it is not embraced - trusted, put into practice, and worked out in one's life. We can 'know' all kinds of truth, but if we never use it, it is just knowledge. I 'know' a woodworking tool known as a router can be outfitted with a bit that can help me make dovetail joints. With the right jig, I can create wonder 'connections' for boxes, drawers, and shelving. I 'know' it can be done - I have never done it. I have knowledge, but I lack the practical application of what it is I know. When we treat God's truth as 'knowledge' and don't actually get to the point of practical application, we aren't going to

All things...

At times, we want to understand better what is really going on in our lives - because without 'knowing' a little bit more, we might just give up on the whole kit and caboodle. What a joy it is to come to the place where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is at work in our lives - doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. We "know" - we have come to recognize, understand completely, become so familiar with God and his ways that we don't question his plans or purposes. This comes to most of us through some form of experience - there is no substitute for seeing God's work in our lives - no substitute for the manifestation of his purpose - no substitution for just 'experiencing' God's protection as we 'go through' whatever it is we are going through right now. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to

Help me to get this one

We are often reminded of the importance of allowing the moral foundation of our lives to be rebuilt or "re-formed" by the hand of God, in order to affect the choices that ultimately work to form our reputation. Add to that the attribute of spiritual understanding and you have a recipe for a strong walk. This is definitely more than a personal interpretation of the things contained in the Word of God. It involves all our intellectual faculties for sure, but it also involves the power to discern - to really identify truth from fiction and then to embrace only truth, dismissing all fiction (deception) from our lives. So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will g

Deserts, Beaches, and Mountaintops

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.   ( Antoine de Saint-Exupery) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient.  And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.  Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5) I grew up in the desert of Arizona, very much before all the sprawling expanse of industry and growth took over much of the desert land around Phoenix. As a child, I'd spend hours and hours just poking sticks in holes to see what was in them, turning over rocks to see if I could find lizard eggs, and lazing under Palo

Inside your skin

Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.  (Frederick Buechner) I don't suppose we really understand the difference between empathizing and sympathizing with another until we find our way "inside their skin" for just a while. Some time back, we faced some challenges as a leadership team - kind of a "we" - "they" type of situation in which one group of staff didn't feel the other knew what it was like to work their job. In essence, we did a "walk in my shoes" kind of experiment, allowing each other to see just how crazy and totally awesome each person's job actually was. Crazy busy, insanely hard at times, but also very rewarding and tremendously satisfying. We were asking them to "get inside each other's skin" for just a sh

Experience his blessings

Oscar Wilde penned, "Experience is simply the names we give our mistakes."  So very true! We probably invented the great word "experience" to simply explain the many "mistakes" we made getting to where we are today!  We humans have a way of trying to make things appear as they are not - if we didn't the make-up and tummy tuck industry would be out of business!  Truth is sometimes not the most flattering - nor is it the most palatable. Albert Einstein told us that the only source of knowledge was through experience - you had to have gone through the experience to know if the knowledge was trustworthy. I like what Eleanor Roosevelt said, "People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built."  Those who stand in awe of the Eternal—who follow wherever He leads, committed in their hearts—experience His blessings! God will use your hard work to provide you food.  You will prosper in your labo

Study, instruction, and experience...we need them all

I often comment it has been a good day because I learned something new on that particular day.  In fact, I make it a point to learn something new - it keeps me challenged and I enjoy the learning (most of the time).  Ever had to learn a lesson you just didn't want to learn?  I have - too many times to count!  Those are the things which are tough to learn, but necessary if we are to grow up into strong and "survivable" creatures.  I had to learn to brush my teeth, or I'd realize they would all fall out from decay.  I had to learn to take showers on a regular basis, or I would have body odor even I wouldn't feel comfortable with! These were probably some of the easier lessons to learn in this life - the ones I can say I have mastered.  Then there are the tougher ones - like learning to keep my mouth shut at times when less words are better than more, or how to navigate risky relationship paths that need to be traversed, but which are pocked with all kinds of landmi

Get out the sifter

Have you ever been told you were a little too gullible?  In the most literal sense, we probably all start out a little too gullible, for the meaning of the word is that of being easily cheated or deceived.  We often call someone who is gullible a little too naive - they lack the experience, judgment, or information to make the right or "sound" decision.  Some of us have the experience, but lack the judgment, or even just don't have enough information to make the best decisions in the moment.  So, whenever this happens, we are literally being a little too gullible for our own good.   The gullible believe anything they’re told;   the prudent sift and weigh every word.  (Proverbs 14:15 MSG) The gullible believe anything they are told - why?  It could be because they have never experienced whatever it is they are being roped into, so it seems credible (believable) to them.  It could also be they don't have all the information about the circumstances, but based up

A new lamp

Have you ever had one of those moments when you know something and no one else in the group does?  You are almost chatting at the bit to get an opportunity to share it with someone, or perhaps you have been sworn to secrecy and cannot.  Either way, it is almost impossible to contain yourself. The information you possess is almost too big to be contained.  I think this is the way it is with what God gives us - it is almost too big for us to contain it! It leaves us feeling like we'd have to share it or we'd burst.  I like the analogy of heading off to the market one day in search of a new oil burning lamp for the homestead.  You have the anticipation of the journey - for you have a mission in mind.  You have the moment of exploration - for there are many lamps from which to choose.  You have the moment of choice - for just the right one has been selected.  You have the moment of expectation - for you can imagine the light it will bring to your home.  Then at last, you have the

Taste and See - mmmmmmm!

Can you explain "taste"?  Most of us would say some things "taste" sweet, others sour.  Maybe we'd describe some things as "yummy" and others as "yucky".  Either of these explanations would be correct, for taste is something we each "sense" in our own way, although we are all "built" with the same "sensations" in our taste buds.  It depends on WHAT we are tasting, WHEN we are tasting it, and WHAT ELSE we've been tasting just before we tasted whatever it is we are experiencing right now, doesn't it?  For example, a good cup of hot coffee tastes really good on a cold morning, or just as you are trying to get your eyes open.  But...have you ever had a cup of coffee in the morning after you have had a night of indulging on onions and garlic?  The "taste" of coffee is masked a little by what it was we experienced the night before.  Brush your teeth and use a little mouthwash!  The experience changes,

The Well Within

5  Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart;    a wise person draws from the well within.  (Proverbs 20:5) Knowing what is right and actually doing it are two entirely different things.  I know that it is right to drive the speed limit, but when I see all the other cars going 5-10 mph over the speed limit, it is much easier to "go with the flow" than to be dragging behind with cars swerving all around me.  When faced with a choice between what is right and what is clearly wrong, I should not be amazed at how freely we embrace the latter!  It is a common occurrence for us - it is part of our nature to choose the "wrong stuff", even when the "right stuff" is right there for the choosing. How do we know what is right?  Too many times, we rely upon our experience to help us determine what is "right" in a circumstance.  For instance, if we have experienced the pain of a throbbing thumb after crushing it under the blow of a hammer, we c