The Mind of Christ

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” – I Corinthians 2:9 NKJV

This scripture is referencing part of a penitent prayer to God by Isaiah in the Old Testament:

For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him. – Isaiah 64:4 NKJV

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians,  he is talking about Spiritual Wisdom – about how God reveals the things of God to us through the “Spirit of Truth”, through the “mind of Christ”.

And Spiritual Wisdom is different than knowledge. The Word of God tells us that knowledge puffs people up in their self righteousness and hypocrisy (as they think much of their own knowledge) – while wisdom humbles us before a righteous God.

In fact, this reference to Isaiah is wonderful in demonstrating that Spiritual Wisdom and the “Fear of God” are tightly integrated, because Isaiah chapters 63, 64, and 65 lay out truth about the judgement of God,  about the unworthiness of men, and about how repentance allows for the mercy of God.

Unworthiness of Man

I looked, but there  was no one to help, And I wondered That there  was no one to uphold; Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; And My own fury, it sustained Me. – Isaiah 63:5 NKJV

[The Lord acknowledges that none, not even one, was worthy – and that He alone would bring salvation, not the works of men.]

Rebellion against God

But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, And He fought against them. – Isaiah 63:10 NKJV

[Yes,  the Lord is an enemy of wickedness and fights against it. He chastens and disciplines the ones that He loves.]

Judgement

I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, Made them drunk in My fury, And brought down their strength to the earth.” – Isaiah 63:6 NKJV

[There is judgement and destruction for His enemies.]

Repentance

Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, And Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O Lord , are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name. O Lord , why have You made us stray from Your ways, And hardened our heart from Your fear? Return for Your servants’ sake, The tribes of Your inheritance. Your holy people have possessed it but a little while; Our adversaries have trodden down Your sanctuary. We have become like those of old, over whom You never ruled, Those who were never called by Your name.
Isaiah 63:16‭-‬19 NKJV

[We are the ones who know and love the Lord,  who aren’t acknowledged by Abrahams bloodline, but who are established by the Blood of the Lamb, and are called by His name. We are the children of God.]

Mercy of God

“I was sought by those who did not ask for  Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ To a nation that  was not called by My name. Thus says the Lord : “As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, For a blessing is in it,’ So will I do for My servants’ sake, That I may not destroy them all. “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall  be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord , And their offspring with them. “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.
Isaiah 65:1‭, ‬8‭-‬8‭, ‬17‭, ‬23‭-‬24 NKJV

[We are a new creation. Reborn as children of God. He has called us, touched us, taught us, and He sends us out. He hears us, guides us,  and loves us.]

Yes, Spiritual Wisdom comes from knowing and believing and understanding these things about God and about man. Yes, Spiritual Wisdom,  discernment and revelation – these things are from God. What “wise” man wouldn’t have foolishly told Abraham that he was wrong in going to slay his son upon an altar? What “wise” man wouldn’t have foolishly told Hosea he was wrong in choosing a prostitute as his wife? What “wise” man wouldn’t have foolishly called Christ a liar when he said that he would raise “this temple” in three days?

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. – I Corinthians 2:13‭-‬16 NKJV

Doubt and Fools

Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the  mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
Luke 24:9-12 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/luk.24.9-12.NKJV

Doubt.

As we head towards the end of March and towards the first day of April, we get ourselves ready and we expect people to try to trick us and deceive us. It is called April Fools Day, and it is a day that celebrates whether or not people can make someone else feel like a fool. It is a day when lies are subtlety crafted with the intent of leading someone into a trap, so it can be sprung it and revealed as a ruse with a proud,  “Got you!”

I wonder if this is how these men felt when these “silly women” came to them with a “tall tale” about Jesus and the tomb. They examined closely what the women were saying, and they decided that it made no sense to them, so they dismissed it as a trick, as a lie, as deception – even though there was no contradiction in their words and they had taken no effort to investigate for themselves.

Yes, this is how much of the world sees the Child of God. They see these “silly Christians” with their “tall tales” about creation, about a flood, about people miraculously healed, about a risen Savior.

Yes, us Christians have a pretty wild story that leaves no middle ground -we claim that God himself came in the flesh to live among imperfect man, to walk a blameless life of service and love and guidance forothers, to face rejection and scorn in return, to die the death andbear the punishment that evil men deserve, and to rise from the dead to heaven as an example of what lies ahead for those who believe. This is the type of story that either leaves us in doubt and disbelief, or leaves us believing, following, and putting our full trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.

He is either a liar and we are fools for believing,  or He is who He says He is and the world is a fool for turning their backs on the true treasures of His teachings and guidance to chase after the dust and ashes of a worthless and meaningless life. His story leaves no room for waffling, for riding the fence.

So the question is do you believe it to be completely and utterly true?

If so, how is that knowledge going to impact your day? Does it make you eager to go out and share this “tall tale” with a world where many will see you as “silly” and “a fool”?

If you don’t believe that it’s true, have you investigated it for yourself just to make sure? Have you read the Bible and offered your life following in His teachings in order for Him to either prove Himself faithful and true or to prove otherwise?

With a claim that eternity and things greater than our physical existence (like our soul, or essence, our very being) is at stake – who is the fool,  the one who investigates the claims diligently, or the one who blindly dismisses what isn’t yet confirmed?

What is the greatest risk of someone willing to instigate – being labeled a fool? What is the greatest risk of someone not willing to investigate – facing eternal consequences?

Is there anything more worthy of our life focus than demonstrating God’s love by loving and serving others? Even if the wise man says that self sacrifice is foolish, can they not see the beauty in the math – that if by denying myself and helping others, they experience encouragement, love, and increase – and by my trusting in the Lord, I have gained in faith through any sufferings and self denial. For something that the wise man calls altruism and that we call the manifest love of Christ, explain to me how the costs outweigh the benefits?

Lord, help us to be willing to face the mocking perspective of others, willing to be a fool amongst wise men – willing to be one of those “silly folks” that love to talk about Jesus and things they can’t see, touch, or prove – willing to help those who have nothing to offer us in return – willing to offer love and mercy to those who offer mocking and hate and persecution in return. Lord,  show yourself victorious, reveal the beauty of your ways, lay conviction upon hearts, and draw us near so that we might see a revival of our purpose and meaning in this life. Lord, we aren’t just hoping for a some day, one day kind of God experience – Lord, we want to be your body, alive and at work in the world today. Help us, guide us,  lead us, use us – and prove to the world through your undeniable presence, your blessings eternal, the fruit of your spirit rising up as a beautiful aroma that others would long for in their own lives. Not so that others would mimic or honor or praise any of us – but so that they might get to know you. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

The fool’s heart and actions say, “There is no God”

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. 

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.  They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord ?  There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. 

You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge.  Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!

When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
Psalm 14:1-7 ESV
http://bible.com/59/psa.14.1-7.ESV

There was a time when I walked like a fool,  when I talked like a fool,  when I did foolish things because I did not understand,  because I did not seek after God. I didn’t care about anything nearly as much as I cared about myself. I wanted money,  power,  reputation,  honor from men,  control over the things around me, the ability to enjoy the pleasures of this world without limit, the ability to take and have what want rightfully mine. You see,  I want interested in justice. It wasn’t even about “just us”. It was about “just me”.

But all of that came with a cost. Because that matter that I was serving didn’t know anything about good gifts. Everything that I received eventually revealed an unexpected cost or consequence. That’s what happens when you wish to a genie for the things of this world that he can give you instead of serving the one true God who will give you eternal blessings. Do you realize these are two different masters? Do you know that only one has your loyalty?

You see, we started out serving that other master, but we have an opportunity for our lives to teach. Not everyone else has to be a fool. Not everyone else has to have a wasted youth. Not everyone else has to carry the same scars on their character that reveal the battles we have been through. Not everyone has to be a Paul.

Do you realize that because of Paul’s life example and teaching,  young Timothy’s life was much different? Do we realize that because of the faithful people around him,  Samuel’s life from the time that he was a boy was very different than the world? I wonder how often we don’t understand the impact that our turn from foolishness,  however early or late in our own lives might have on the lives of those around us?

You see,  we aren’t meant to walk and act like fools. And what could be more foolish than claiming with our mouths that we are a child of God,  but living like a child of hell.

If we come to the end of our lives and we have imitated a kind of godliness with some half hearted interest in religion and in escaping hell,  but we have continually denied the power that could make us a holy people set apart for His use, that could reconcile us day to day as we draw close to Him – will we have any defense against the one and only unpardonable sin,  to blaspheme the very Holy Spirit that seeks to save us from ruin?

You see, man would look at each others words to make a decision, a measurement,  a judgement, about the wisdom or foolishness of a man.

But God judges our hearts, because the tongues of wicked men are full of lies and deceit and their slippery words will attempt to hide their true desires.

We cannot fool God about who our real master is. I just wonder if we examine the example of our life’s actions closely enough to reveal who it is most of us truly serve – or if we have been trickled by our slick words and thoughts justifying our own wicked ways.

Our life example is either creating situations where others might learn from our faithfulness and live a life like Samuel and Timothy where there is abundant life throughout – or our life example may leave them with ways years before they seek the Lord and become fruitful and useful to the Lord – or maybe their whole lives are wasted, lost in fruitlessness.

Do we care enough to live differently?

Are we tired of playing the fool?

May we have the eyes,  ears,  and hearts to receive the Lord’s wisdom,  and the understanding to apply it in our lives today. Don’t let it be stolen away from us,  but let us cling to your guidance today and see our lives changed,  and let us find comfort in knowing that tools and opportunities are being stripped from the hands of the enemy by the faithful example of our lives,  visible to all. Help us to rest in your strength,  Lord, so that we will remain humble and not proud even as you refine our lives to be more like you. In your authority, crush the enemy beneath our feet, and rebuke him, Lord, for standing in the way of the needy and the oppressed and the afflicted and the meek and the mourning. Come, Holy Spirit,  come, and fill our lives with your righteous and holy and loving nature. And we wait expectantly and cry out,  come Lord Jesus,  come,  and deliver your people from this world of foolishness and wickedness. Amen.

Lean and weak or fat and strong?

I read this and it continues to remind me that I’m just a fellow sheep and not the shepherd,  not the teacher, I’m a student – at best I’m a messenger and servant. I hope we can remain lean and weak (dependent upon God), not fat and strong (pridefully confident in ourselves), friends.

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God : Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.  “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : As I live, declares the Lord God , surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : Thus says the Lord God , Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. 

“For thus says the Lord God : Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God . I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. 

“As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God : Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? 

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord , will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord ; I have spoken.
Ezekiel 34:2-24 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ezk.34.2-24.ESV

My ears really perk up and my pulse quickens a bit at hearing this and having to check myself: “I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.”

Who loves discipline?

http://bible.com/59/pro.12.1.ESV
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.

The worldly man says, “It is better to ask forgiveness than permission” and “let’s fill our lives with pleasure and riches and taking from those whom we can, there is no punishment ahead, there is only taking and acquiring and growing in power and influence and authority over other men”.

Buy the wise man, the man with his mind set upon spiritual things, the one who sees the patterns and movements and can discern the work of good and evil in men’s hearts – he knows that wisdom comes through correction,  that change and refinement tales place in the hands of the master potter,  who fashions vessels for His use,  to be filled and overflowing with his Holy Spirit.

Continue reading “Who loves discipline?”

Father knows best

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http://bible.com/116/isa.55.8-9.nlt
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord .
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Yes, we are a prideful and rebellious generation.

Yes, there are few who seek to follow the narrow path.

Yes, we are a cold and hard hearted generation of religious zealots.

Continue reading “Father knows best”

Do I need wise counsel? Or do I think that I am wise counsel?

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Proverbs 24:6 NLT
So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.

Proverbs 15:22 NLT
Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.

Proverbs 11:14 NLT
Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.

Proverbs 24:3-4 NLT
A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

What kind of house are we building for the Lord? We are to be a dwelling place for the very Holy Spirit of the Lord. The Word is not talking about building a physical house,  but of things spiritual and unseen. He is not giving us construction advice for a building what will be torn down and destroyed by rot and rust or fire,  but the Word gives us instruction in those things that are eternal and spiritual. 

Continue reading “Do I need wise counsel? Or do I think that I am wise counsel?”

What a know it all!

Oh,  how I used to be a know it all.

In fact, many might misunderstand why I share each day,  thinking that I’m proudly displaying how much I know. But you see, what I share is what I am being taught – so these daily journals are a chronicle odd how much I need to learn and apply,  not a pile of trophies to be displayed.

PRO 1:7, 22-23, 32-33 ESV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. 
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? 
If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. 
For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them;  but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

Continue reading “What a know it all!”