knowledge

“That night, God appeared to Solomon. God said, ‘What do you want from me? Ask.’” [2 Chronicles 1:8, MSG]

Wow. Anything? What would you ask for if God gave you freedom to request something from him?

World peace? A million dollars? A friend to finally seek God’s grace and love? Discernment? To be the most famous person ever?

There are a lot of Haitians looking for the letter ‘T’ on Prestige beer bottles right in a contest to get a free car. Would you ask for a car?

“Solomon answered, ‘You were extravagantly generous with David my father, and now you have made me king in his place. Establish, God, the words you spoke to my father, for you’ve given me a staggering task, ruling this mob of people. Yes, give me wisdom and knowledge as I come and go among this people – for who on his own is capable of leading these, your glorious people?’ God answered Solomon, ‘This is what has come out of your heart: You didn’t grasp for money, wealth, fame, and the doom of your enemies; you didn’t even ask for a long life. You asked for wisdom and knowledge so you could govern well my people over whom I’ve made you king. Because of this, you get what you asked for – wisdom and knowledge. And I’m presenting you the rest as a bonus – money, wealth and fame beyond anything the kings before you or after you had or will have.’” [2 Chronicles 1:11-12, MSG]

Solomon could have asked for anything. But God recognized Solomon’s heart when he didn’t ask for something frivolous. He wanted to honor God.

There is something here we can learn from when Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge. How many times today have you, sometimes subconsciously, asked God for something?

Perhaps, help me not strangle this co-worker, or maybe your kids? How about for a car to get out of your way because you are in a hurry? What about asking for more time in your day with a loved one who doesn’t have much longer to be in this world, or even that you find yourself too ‘busy’ to be with those you love? Maybe it is patience you ask for? Careful on that one, God tends to give you situations to grow your patience instead of actually just bestowing it on you.

I ask a lot for God’s voice to be clear and discernment to be what God needs me to be for those around me. I’ve also asked for wisdom, because who has enough really? We can always use more wisdom, but never once have I asked for knowledge. I’d never really thought about it until I read Solomon’s request a few months ago. Possibly, it is because I have a significant amount of faith in the Lord I serve, coupled with a relative easiness at the mysterious parts of God.

Solomon wanted wisdom and knowledge to lead well. I wonder at those who lead around me, if they frequently ask for wisdom and knowledge. In the areas I lead, I know I haven’t…and I cannot possibly be the only one who hasn’t asked.

Solomon didn’t lead perfectly, but he started out with his heart in the right place. None of us could ever lead perfectly, we all sin after all, but what characteristics of leadership could we commit to improving ourselves? Maybe it is wisdom and knowledge, but maybe it is in hearing the voice of God and discerning where the Holy Spirit would have you lead people.

Let today be a day you commit to having your heart in the right place…and if I end up failing today, in the uncanny tradition of David and Solomon…God will still love me tomorrow.

 

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wisdom

When was the last time you had no clue as to what to say to someone? No words. No answers. No problem solving. No wisdom. Just legitimate loss for what to say.

I was having this conversation with a friend tonight when afterward I got into my car and the lyrics playing as soon as the sound came on were: “When you don’t know what to say…just say Jesus.”

Just pause for a second and let that sink into your thoughts.

Sometimes wisdom does come into play. Out of all the things God felt we needed to pass on in a written form from one generation to the next…there are books in the Bible completely focused on wisdom.

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” [1 Kings 3:5-9]

First we have to acknowledge that Solomon was asleep. In a unconscious, dream state…and not only is he mature and articulate, but he is asking for wisdom and discernment.

In a dream. Where he refers to himself as a child.

God does not very often show up and give the opportunity for us to ask for anything we want, then provide it based on the fact we are ah-mazing. Many of us wish that more than anything…but then again, would we be smart enough to ask for wisdom? Or would it be something frivolous?

I know several people that would ask for a car, iPad or vacation. But I also know several teens that would ask for food for the hungry, homes for the homeless and release of the oppressed.

However, my favorite part of that scripture is that Solomon wanted a ‘discerning heart’ to ‘distinguish between right and wrong.’ That is either an incredibly wise thing to ask for…or experience talking. Discernment goes beyond wisdom. It is knowing what is of God and what is not of God. We should all be asking God for more discernment based on the world we live in.

Wisdom is not about knowing everything. No one likes a no-it-all. It’s about knowing where you end, and God begins and the difference between the two. It is also about prayer and presence. Wisdom is one thing, but it is not a replacement for talking with God and having a community around you to affirm discernment.

And when you really don’t know what to say…just say Jesus.

temper

I have a temper. There I confessed…we can be done here, right?

Probably not.

I have been slapped for my hateful words.

I have manipulated others to get my own way when I’ve been angry.

I have been justifiably called a bitch when my temper flys.

I have incited angry words in others based on how I blew up at them.

I have punched concrete walls.

I’m pretty sure at some point I’ve broken something.

And at this point…some are thinking, ‘What is she? Jeckel and Hyde? She is always laughing!’

But I’ve not always been the person I am now. Everything above all happen during what I like to call BC. ‘Before Christ’ in my life.

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There are times when my anger sneaks in subtle ways. For instance, when Duke lost earlier tonight…there was a hand slap on the table with a loud ‘Ahhhh! Seriously?!?!?!?’ Then an immediate, ‘I am being ridiculous. Get it together, now.’

After Jesus flooded my soul…I quickly saw what effect my temper had on others. Not to mention how incredibly selfish and manipulative it was toward others. Nor did it allow me to listen to someone else and see their perspective.

Embarrassed…I was incredibly embarrassed when I saw how childish losing my temper really was.

Here is some wisdom I have gained from James:

‘Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.’ [James 1:19-20]

My tenancy to lose my temper is about me and my selfish wants. I am hurt. I am defensive. I’m not being heard. I’m not being treated fairly. See a trend there? I make it all about me. And it’s not about me…it’s about pointing to God and his Kingdom.

Obviously, I am not perfect AND I’m a redhead AND I’m half German…so I still struggle to keep a lid on my temper.

But I find when I can put the other person first (admittedly not always) and really listen, then I communicate better and see both sides. I set my desires aside, be quick to listen and slow to speak…and normally I can get my anger to dissolve.

No matter what I do though, basketball drives me crazy sometimes…oh, and injustice seriously pisses me off. That WILL get my blood boiling…no matter how much I try to listen! And somehow I think God’s with me on that one.