Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gregarious Greetings in Christ!

I am not a naturally gregarious person. My friends don’t believe it, but I was actually painfully shy in high school. Up until the time I realized I needed Jesus in my life, I was not only painfully shy I was also a pretty shallow and self-focused person as well.

Walking with the Lord the past fifteen years has done a lot to change that aspect of my character, granted, but even today it can be a challenge to make new friends, especially when there is no one else around to make introductions. In instances where I am around people who are largely unknown to me I tend to be a wallflower, tagging close behind the people with whom I am most familiar.

Recently our pastor has been teaching on the ‘One Anothers’ of the Bible. You know, love one another, greet one another, and that one I dread … speak to one another. Well, after being challenged in how we greet one another (there was a lot of holy kissin’ going on that weekend!) I have been trying to discipline myself to become more outgoing, especially in a place where being gregarious should be second nature – church.

According to the MSN Encarta online dictionary ‘gregarious’ primarily means “friendly: very friendly and sociable.” Outgoing carries with it the idea of being confident in social situations. Oh. So. Not. Me. Seriously, that painfully shy, shallow and self-focused girl of my youth wasted a lot of opportunities to get to know some amazing people because she could not bring herself to engage people socially. Another meaning of the word describes communal living, especially organisms that tend to live in groups. But as I pondered the meanings, I was most struck by the Latin root of the word – grex – which means ‘flock’ and also provides the root for our word ‘congregate.’ Do you see where I am going with this?!

Shouldn’t we feel most comfortable in the places where we congregate or flock together? The Lord really hit this concept home to me a few years ago when we were first settling into our new church. Having lived with this sense of timidity for many years, I began to feel that it was time to muster up some courage. After all, if I truly believe that God has not given me a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) then I need to be living into the courage that comes with being a believer in Jesus Christ. So as we came to our new church home, I realized God was calling me to a new way of looking at relationships with others.

I recently shared at our annual Women’s retreat that early in my walk with Christ, I had a hard time getting past my past. This attitude compounded my natural tendency toward timidity and making new friends came much too hard. Then one day a few years ago God encouraged me to be bold by reminding me that in Christ I am a new creation. I began to believe that when in a room full of presumably Christian women, I need not feel ‘less-than’ others but I am completely equal in Christ; and that no other woman need feel ‘less than’ for the same reason. We are all equipped with the ability to be confident, gregarious, as we gather or ‘flock’ together in Christ.

Fast forward to this morning … We brought our breakfast at church to a table where some dear friends were seated. Across from us were two older women, obviously friends themselves, but very much alone otherwise. As we chatted with our own friends, our pastor’s words from the morning compelled me – speak to one another. I had already ‘greeted’ them, but now I turned to engage these two precious women at our table. I actually introduced myself!

At this point let me just say that when God wants us to learn a better way to operate in the body of Christ, He certainly shows off what He can change in us to make it happen. I was truly blessed to get to know these sweet saints in our body! After some captivating conversation we were able to exchange contact information to make plans to see one another outside of church – and lest you wonder if that is a biblical mandate or not, I hope we are going to be hearing about being ‘hospitable to one another’ (1 Peter 4:9) in a few weeks.

I am so grateful that God continues to mold and fashion me. I am so grateful that I did not have to stay in a state of shyness and timidity and I am truly thankful that I did not pass up an opportunity to get to know these amazing godly and encouraging women in our church! I really can’t wait to see what glorious treasures God has for these new friendships in the coming weeks.

‘Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.’ 1 Peter 1:22

With a holy kiss …

Blessings, Tina

Monday, August 23, 2010

Those aren't groceries, they're ingredients!

As the cashier scanned and bagged the items I had presented for purchase, I went about my business, swiping my debit card and transfering the packed bags to my cart. Suddenly the woman two customers behind me piped up, "Whatchya makin'?" "Fajitas," I replied. "I knew it," she exclaimed, "those aren't just grocieries, they're ingredients!" The Top Chef in me grinned from ear to ear.

I chuckled for a long way home. Then I got to thinking that this woman must also have an inner Top Chef. Somehow she recognized that this was not a mundane trip to the grocery store, but a deliberate attempt to create something special. I didn't share with her that I was also making salsa and guacamole and some kind of yummy dessert that involves ice cream and coconut. But she didn't need to know that to be able to see this was going to be no ordinary meal. I don't always cook this way, this day was special, a meal with friends.

Thinking about how carefully I selected my ingredients to prepare a special meal, I started to think about how I don't always prepare this well for my daily spiritual walk. I really admire people who do so. These are the true Top Chefs of God's kingdom. The ones who seem to have perfected their recipe for a healthy spiritual walk which usually includes fresh daily servings of a devotional and prayer time in the morning, some form of Scripture study and liberal servings of ... well, serving - acts of service to those around them.

I have to admit though that while I aspire to this level of excellence, I'm more like a Top Chef wanna-be. I often cook a little extra so that I won't have to spend time cooking for every meal. Sometimes I serve leftovers. (And let's face it, my dad's Turkey Chowder really does taste better the second time around!) Some days, instead of being able to have eggs for breakfast, I am only able to grab a quick bite of cereal or a granola bar. Other days I might be able to have fruit and toast with my eggs. And then there are the days that I'm craving an omelet, but as I prepare it, a piece of shell falls in and I have to struggle to fish it out.

All this to say that despite my best intentions, life is happening all around me. And while I may not get eggs and fruit everday I rarely, if ever, just skip eating all together, as you can tell by my girlish figure! Sometimes I eat that granola bar in the car - with my favorite hymns and praises songs playing in the background, or a chapter of the Bible on my iPod piped through the radio, sending up little bursts of praise and prayer while driving. On those days my spiritual tummy grumbles throughout the day, and I may have to have a more substantial meal later.

Other days I do get that omelet and I can linger over it, truly feasting on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, able to offer up a soliloquy of prayer that tastes sweet as the words fall off my tongue. When I'm done feasting my spiritual tummy feels stuffed, but like all good meals it lasts just long enough that I know I'll want my favorite snack for dinner - popcorn, cheese and apples - light but tasty.

Still other days I don't get my spiritual breakfast until I get to where I'm going for the day, such as the Tuesday morning women's gathering at church. That's like getting to eat out with someone else doing the cooking! A lot of days I play restaurant and have the privilege of preparing and serving up a meal. And when I am wandering around in a spirtual wilderness, I am keeping my eye out for the Manna that only God can provide.

I may never get to a place in my life where I nail down the exact "daily recommended servings," but as I say grace over each meal I hope to remember the words of our precious Jesus. "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." (John 6:29) The essential ingredient for every meal!

Bon Appetit!

Friday, August 13, 2010


My husband smiled at me this morning after I handed him a paragraph to read out of Francis Chan's Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. "Sounds like The Land Between," he responded, at which point I held up the other book I'm reading by Pastor Jeff Manion. "Double-dipping?" he asked. I just smiled back. My husband finds particular delight in this exchange because it is usually I who rolls my eyes at this peculiar habit of reading more than one book at a time.

It's probably not as peculiar a habit as I think it is. Many of you might be asking, "What's wrong with that?" To which I would point out some obvious draw-backs, such as how much it clutters the night stand, not to mention getting confused about which book contained which paricualr piece of wisdom. My poor ADD-addled brain hurts just thinking about it.

Your next question might be "So why are you doing it now?" Well, I just can't help myself. God has been speaking to my heart lately about some pretty weighty things, not the least of which is how we have been facing this particular season of our life. Yesterday I mentioned that Howie has been out of a job for about a year. That's a hard place to be, as some of you well know. And although our marriage is well-intact and we are both as committed as ever to sustaining it, it has not been without its struggles.

Recently, my own frustration level was so high that I had to admit to one of my pastors that my thoughts toward Howie lately had been of an imprecatory nature. "Imprecatory?" you ask. Think David's Psalms, where he calls down God's hand of judgment on his enemies. Some how I don't think Stormie O'Martian (The Power of a Praying Wife) would approve and frankly, I wasn't feeeling that great about it either.

That's why I went to my pastor and his wife. I wanted to know how a godly wife handles the type of frustration I was feeling. Thankfully, I have the kind of relationship that allows me to share this way and after a healthy dose of reality and wisdom, I am still able to look my pastor in the eye and say, "Wow, thanks!" Armed with some homework assignments and after Howie's own trip to see the pastor, I'm feeling a little bit better these days.

Then we both had an opportunity to attend a leadership conference where we heard the message that inspired the book, The Land Between. Or maybe the book inspired the message. In any event, Jeff Manion was speaking and we bought the book! If there is a message out there for someone stuck in transition, this is it. Since I was already reading Chan's book and I really need the message of Manion's book ~ yes...I am double-dipping!

Boy am I glad I am. Let me just share with you the two quotes that so spoke to my heart this morning.

From Chan:
"So, if you say you want the Holy Spirit, you must first honestly ask yourself if you want to do His will. Because if you do not genuinely want to know and do His will, why should you ask for His presence at all?" p. 51

and Manion:
"People often quote a common proverb in time of pain and tragedy: 'Time heals all wounds.' I do not find this statement to be necessarily true. Some people heal over time, while others become deeply embittered and acidic...While offering us a greenhouse for growth, the Land Between can also be a desert where our faith goes to die - if we let it. The habits of the heart that we foster in this space - our responses and reactions - will determine whether the Land Between results in spiritual life or spiritual death. We choose." p. 21

I came away from my reading this morning certain that my frame of mind can be the single best ally or my worst enemy in pursuit of godly character. By the way, one of my pastor's homework assignments for me was to wake up each morning and make two lists in my journal. One is a list of all the things I can praise God for, the other is all the things of which I am thankful for Howie.

Wanna do some double-dipping with me? Read these two verses: Romans 8:6 'For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace' and Romans 12:2 'And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.' I guess if I want to get through this tough time of transition in our lives, I really do need to guard my mind-set.

Which brings me back to double-dipping. I used to see it as a confusing and messy way to live. But in reality, when I'm egaged in it, it can be a delightful way to hear confirmation from God. Most importantly, I need to keep dipping daily, especially into His word. After all, this sheep's gotta eat too!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Little Piece of Heaven on Earth

This morning when I woke up I had a beautiful sight outside my front windows. A thick mist hung over the water while the sun came beating down around it. I could see the island across the way peeking out of the mist and the picture was just stunning. "Good Morning, Lord," I thought as I ran for my camera. I wanted to capture that sacred moment to savor later.

Summer has all but eluded us here in our fair little corner of Washington state. Just the other day my friends and I were speculating that Spring had skipped over Summer and gone straight to Fall as we found ourselves wrapped in sweaters and blankets in August! But this morning the sun was streaming in my front windows, so I decided to have some quiet time with the Lord in Nonna's old rocking chair right in the sunlight.

I never imagined the sacred time that I would have there today. But even as I prepare to share it with you, I'm feeling a little stingy with the memory of it. Even so, it is an important moment to put down in writing because, just as I wanted to savor the beautiful sight outside my window, it is a lesson for all of us to savor every unexpected blessing in our lives.

As I sat down with my journal and the Bible study I am just finishing, I looked at the topic of the week which is about God's calling on our lives. So my first words to my Lord were about the blessing of having had a lovely time with the Ladies Summer Study which met for the last time last evening. As I looked around the room at those ladies who had been consistent and finished well, I was struck by the personal relationships I've had with all but one of the women. Each woman there represented a study or ministry opportunity that God had led me to since moving here three years ago.

Each precious face marked a milestone of growth, certainly in my own walk, but also in their own. And the one woman whose face I am just coming to know represents the potential for another relationship and growth in the body of Christ. Remembering those faces and the realization that God had gathered those women for a special time this summer, the words spilled out, words of gratitude and thanksgiving for the gift of His faithfulness in my life. Words that acknowledged Him as the author of my life and ministry and words of repentance that until last night I had, at times, not been as grateful as I was at this moment.

For months I have been questioning whether I was seeing His direction in my life, whether He was at work in guiding me toward deeper commitment to His work, and because my husband has been out of work for the better part of a year, I was beginning to wonder why He wasn't showing us where He wanted us. But all of those doubts and worries fell away this morning. As I realized how truly blessed I have been to be a part of His work right here where I am, and as I felt His loving arms embrace me and comfort me, I felt like His precious daughter, safe in the lap of her Daddy. I felt freedom to pour out my heart and my tears, to share with Him how much I love Him and want to be the daughter who runs to Him and grabs His hand and says, "Look, this is my Daddy!" And I buried my head in His chest and apologized for doubting Him and begged His forgiveness. And then in a final and sobering moment, I told Him that I never want to be the daughter who brings Him shame and embarassment. He just held me a little closer and let me cry until I was ready to crawl down and get on with my day.

This was a sacred moment indeed. I honestly don't know that I have ever felt this close to my Father God. But for a brief time I truly felt that the gap between heaven and earth was non-existent. I still have questions about what the next steps are on the path He has me on. And as I opened my book to work on my homework, I read the chapter title "Finding God in Unlikely Places." I laughed out loud as my tears turned to utter joy. How like my God to give me one last assurance as He turns to let His other daughters spend time in His lap! Although I still have questions, I certainly have no doubt that I am right where He wills.

Psalm 37:23-24
The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

Praying that you, too find God in unlikely places today!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Work in Progress (or "Thank God He's Not Done With Me Yet!")

Last night I wrote in my journal "Clearly, I am a work in progress! It seems to be two steps forward, one step back these days but progress is being made."

Early in my walk a sweet man in one of our small groups shared a favorite verse with me - "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." Philippians 1:6 I loved the idea that if God started something in me, He would see it through to the end. Not like me, who has been known to start a craft project and lay it aside for months or years even, only to come across it some time later and feel like an utter failure for having given it up before its completion.

Speaking of projects ... I'm nearly done with an organizing project that I hope will bring a little more order and peace to my life. For over a year our bedroom has been a repository for a lot of things that don't belong in a bedroom. Stacks of books and papers, empty suitcases, leftovers from the creation of wedding invitations - a craft project I am happy to say I finished in good time! This week I have been diligent to get everything put away in its place. After a little furniture moving, I am happy to report that the bedroom is now just that - a bedroom, nothing more or less. What a sense of accomplishment!

In the process of getting things put away and, for the most part, organized I came across several of my old journals. Since my early walk I have kept sermons notes, prayers, and the ramblings of a child of God trying to work out her salvation with fear and trembling. I started them in the days before discovering the blogosphere, which you should be mighty thankful for! It was interesting to read through some of them and realize just how faithful God has been to those things He has begun in me. In them I read some of the early insights I had from studying his word. I read prayer requests, some answered and some that I have prayed for without ceasing and haven't yet been answered. I read many joys and struggles I have had over the years, some long-forgotten and some so fresh and vivid that I was lost in the recounting of them.

What struck me the most was how the truth of one small Scripture verse was made so evident in the pages of those precious books. God is faithful to complete the works He begins in me. What encouragement for today when I look at the prayer requests I wrote a few days ago or think of my present circumstances, which don't necessarily make sense to me. How hopeful I feel knowing that the God of the universe has been and still is present and active in my life. And it even gives me hope that those projects that I've started ... and haven't finished ... aren't really failures in my life, but opportunites to take them up again and continue what I started. They are no longer unfinished projects, but works in progress, just like me!


Monday, April 19, 2010

To Live and Die Like Abraham

I've had the privilege of teaching the book of Genesis with my husband these past several months, starting back in September. One of the most poignant moments of this journey we've been on occurred during our study of the life of Abraham. It has never been lost on me that the picture of Abraham's obedience to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God, and God's faithfulness to stay Abraham's hand so that Jehovah-jireh Himself could provide the lamb to be slain, is a beautiful foreshadowing of Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world. However, little did we know that based on the starting date for the study, the holidays and observances that pre-empted class, and the natural rhythym of the lessons, we would study this lesson in depth during Holy week! Easter will never be the same to me ...

As we wrap up this portion of our study in Genesis, I am struck by what the Scriptures say about how Abraham lived his life. Hebrews 11 shares with us the depth of Abraham's faith. Throughout the New Testament we see that he was justified by his faith, just as we are today. We see in hindsight that God fulfilled His covenant to Abraham, through His son Jesus Christ, but Abraham did not live to see the fulness of the covenant, and yet he was called Abraham, the believer, a friend of God. I would love it if at the end of my life, it could be said of me - Tina, the believer, a friend of God.

Then I read what Genesis 25:8 says about Father Abraham. "Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life." Oh to die like Abraham! I'm really digging the 'ripe old age' part ... at 45, I am well on my way to that! Okay so Abraham lived to be 175, but I do have a great-grandma that lived to be 104. She was a godly woman whose favorite song was 'The Old Rugged Cross.' I have a legacy that gives me a good start.

It's the 'satisfied with life' part that I can't seem to wrap my head around. I struggle with this daily. I always think, "If only I could spend all day in my Bible without the disruptions of cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry." I would love it if I could just go through my days basking in the Word of God, spending time with other believers and friends of God who, in the words of my particular friend, satisfy the soul. And call me crazy but I really don't mind when the Spirit moves and church goes a lot longer than an hour!

But the pace of our culture these days does not permit such luxurious pursuit of God. I often think that our's is the only day and age in which we have allowed ourselves to be so distracted by the busyness of life. Then I was re-reading A.W. Tozer's epic classic on the very topic The Pursuit of God - The Human Thirst for the Divine and realized that, as the author of Ecclesiastes so eloquently put it: "There is nothing new under the sun."

Tozer writes: Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart.

Did you know that Tozer wrote these haunting words in a day where life really was much simpler than ours? No cell phones, no computers, no Costco, no Day-timers, PDA's, iPods, or 24/7 grocery stores. He wrote this in 1948, before most of the United States had established commercially licensed television stations!

The sad truth of Tozer's assertion is that people seek to fulfill the longing of their hearts with religion, when relationship best meets the need. How much more true today? Scripture tells us that "he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty" (Proverbs 28:19) and that "the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away." (James 1:11) This is why the apostle Paul exhorts the people of the church at Colossae to set their minds on 'the things above.' He warns that an earthly mindset amounts to idolatry. Certainly many of the activities, possessions and people we choose to pursue can be false idols in our lives.

Abraham certainly had his share of vain pursuits. He sojourned in Egypt when God wanted him in Canaan. He listened to Sarah when she suggested that he go in to Hagar and 'help' God along in His provision of the promised son. And twice he tried to save his own skin by passing his wife off as his sister, which resulted in some tense moments with the kings who tried to take her as their own! But in the end, it is said that Abraham "did not waver in His unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was also able to perform."

Do you believe that God is able to perform what He has promised? It isn't easy working out our salvation on this earth. We face daily temptation to pursue material wealth and luxurious lifestyles. We are told that we need certain products and possessions to be truly satsified and that we deserve to pursue acquiring them. But today, even as in 1948, possessions and a wealthy lifestyle do not satisfy the longing of our hearts, because only God can fulfill the deepest desire of our hearts, to love and to be loved, without fear of losing the object of our love.

The psalmist described his thirst for God in a season of feeling parched. "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." (42:1-2) Do you thirst for God? Then pursue Him! Jesus promised that those who drink of the water He would give them, "shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." (John 4:14)

Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Funny, I don't think he knew what Jesus would also preach one day on the Mount of Olives, not far from where Abraham laid Isaac on an altar and stretched out his hand to slay his son. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied."

Oh to live and to die like Abraham!

Blessings, Tina

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . reproof . . .

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man (or woman) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I count this as one of my life verses. It is a key to my understanding of the gifts God has given me to serve Him in the body of Christ. Why, then, am I so surprised when I get hit over the head with a passage of Scripture and realize where I need to adjust my thinking or behavior?

Today my friend Diane was teaching the women out of James 2:1-13. As she eloquently unpacked this passage, our table discussion focused on the tendency of our culture to look down on the poor and elevate the rich, but my thoughts started taking me to a slightly different place. Yes, it still had to do with the disparity between rich and poor, but it wasn't about my behavior toward one class or the other but really to all classes.

It dawned on me that I have a hang up about my own perceived social status that has prevented me from doing something that I know I need to practice. I have been reluctant to open my home to others because I am afraid that THEY will look down on ME because we live in a rental home that is not as pristine and modern as some of the homes we have been invited to by others in the church.

So I am still making a distinction between classes, by my own behavior. Instead of offering the best seat to a particular class, I am offering a seat to neither class, and being disobedient to the word of God which calls for me to be hospitable. It isn't that I haven't had people into my home since we've lived here. It's that I have been very guarded about whom I have invited, and under what circumstances.

In any case, the root sin is pride. I have been too proud to open my home for fear I won't be acceptable to the body of Christ. I have been too proud to welcome genuine believers into my home because I don't have faith in them to see my home for what it is ~ a blessing from the Lord. Truly it is, for I have a lovely view of Mt. Rainier on the sound AND for less than $1000 a month! The story of how we came to live here was penned by a magnificent God.

I am deeply humbled to realize that this has been my attitude for two whole years. As much shame as I feel in coming to that realization, I feel compelled to write about it. I have had many conversations lately about authentic fellowship, genuine love in the body, and just plain vulnerablility. If I can't admit that my thinking has been this skewed, confess it as sin, and move on to begin the practice of hospitality anew ~ well I might as well hang up my crown before I ever have a chance to cast it at the feet of my Savior, because He will surely have to say 'I never knew you.'

You know Scripture also says 'Pride goes before a fall.' Well, during our table discussion I had also gone on and on about how when we moved here I laid aside my fears about making new friends to insert myself in this particular body like I never had before, determined to be accepting and assuming that I would be acceptable because I was among fellow believers. I had people convinced that I was naturally gregarious, assuming that I had never felt social discomfort. I now see that I was only going so far to be accepting and wasn't really giving people a chance to accept me.

I think one thing that draws people to the church is the need to feel acceptable at some level. I also think few people ever truly feel that way. Isn't it great to know that our Savior accepts us as we are? He only asks that we accept His saving work on the cross as the sacrifice for our sin. He turns our filthy, blackened, stone-hard hearts into pristine hearts of flesh. Then He takes up residence there to rule in them for eternity.

The prophet Jeremiah tells us that the heart is deceitful above all else and desperately sick. But the Lord says that He searches our hearts and tests our minds. If only we cooperate, through the conviction of His word, His people and His Spirit, we will find ourselves adequate, equipped for every good work. Am I ever thankful for conviction today!

I have a plaque on my wall that hung in our former house that says simply 'Sanctuary' with the verse Mark 6:31 'Come away to a secret place and rest for awhile.' I'm making it my prayer that my home would be perceived this way ~ especially by me! I think I'll ask Diane and her family over for dinner!

Blessings, Tina

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wisdom From Above

My morning reading today was in Genesis chapters one through three. It is interesting that when I studied this passage back in September, there were parts of it that I focused on for our lesson and now as I read it in the midst of doing other studies, I see some things with different eyes.

For example, it says in Genesis 3:6 that Eve saw that the tree (its fruit) was desirable to make one wise. At least she perceived that knowing good and evil was wisdom.

I think God knew much better. He had closed their eyes to everything but good. And when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, their eyes were opened . . . they now knew good and evil, and shame. Where is the wisdom in that?

I didn't ponder the wisdom aspect much when I studied it before, but now as I am studying James in our Tuesday morning class, I think of it in light of James 1:5 which says "If any of you lacks wisdom, ask of God . . ." Eve had a face to face relationship with God! She could have asked for His wisdom, but sought to find it on her own.

How like Eve we are still! We look to the world's wisdom and our eyes are opened to so much evil, thinly disguised as wisdom, wealth, and good. We often wait to seek God and His word as a last resort.

James tells us that when we ask God, He will give to us "generously and without reproach." He won't say, "What, you dummy, you can't figure this one out on your own?" No, instead He is waiting to pour out His wisdom generously.

But He warns us not to doubt Him (v. 6) because our doubt will toss us about like the waves in the wind. His desire is that we would trust His word, in which is found the truth. In James 3:17 it says this wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable (willing to yield), full of mercy and good fruits, without hypocrisy.

This is the kind of wisdom I long for.

Lord, may I strive always to seek YOUR wisdom in every situation. Help me to be willing to yield to Your truth, to Your ways that I might sow seeds of righteousness in peace!