You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2007.

Hello everyone… Just a review of the schedule changes coming up.

We will NOT meet on Holy Thursday, April 5th, but we will meet on the April 12th and then again on April 19th… two weeks back to back.

In May, I will be out of town on May 3rd, so we’ll meet the 2nd & 4th weeks in May: May 10th and May 24th.

In June, we’ll return to the 1st & 3rd Thursdays. I’m sorry for any confusion these changes might cause. Thanks for being so flexible. You are all in my prayers.

If you have a prayer need, don’t hesitate to add a comment to this post that we might pray with you from afar.

I had such an amazing experience this week about “virtual” prayer and “virtual” communities. We discovered on Tuesday/Wednesday that our cat, Tinkerbell, must have been hit by a car. She broke her back right leg, which doesn’t sound too bad for a human, but it’s really bad (think of a horse) for a cat. She is beloved and so we really agonized about the vet bill, which was astronomical. I was so depressed, on a whim, I googled: “prayers for pets” and don’t you know, there were several websites. I felt a little foolish telling my tale, but what happened was so heartwarming as I got a flood of personal messages from loving Christian people who have been through similar situations and wrote me loving and prayerful e-mails. It was great.

And so, I encourage you, if you don’t have time to get on the phone… drop your sister in Christ an email and let her know you’re praying. It can really make a difference.

Advertisements

I felt it was important to step back in our discussion of wisdom to investigate further the “fear of the Lord” which is both the “beginning of knowledge” and the “beginning of wisdom.”

Clearly, the Lord wants us to know wisdom. In Prov. 1:20, he says, “Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares…” and so forth. She is calling out to us… again and again. It is we, who are not listening, who are not discerning her call.

We are all at a tension point… with wisdom before us… calling out and behind, the enticements of the world. If we do not “consciously” choose wisdom, we are rejecting her by default and slip backwards into the world.

Even the secular world is interested in wisdom. An interesting definition appears here on a website about systems thinking. Here it says that information answers the questions of who, what, when & where, while knowledge is the application of information and answers the question, “how?” Understanding is the appreciation of “why?” but wisdom is “evaluated understanding.” Isn’t God calling us to “evaluative understanding?” But before you can move into this type of wisdom, you must pass through the other levels: you must GET information, knowledge, and understanding.

And apparently, the first place to “get” them, is in the Fear of the Lord. Let us remember that the Hebrew for Fear in this passage (transliterated) is “yirah” – piety or holy fear… or reverence. Other words that have been used in translating this verse (for understanding) are respect, devotion, awe, and honor.

Here is my question for you… What does “fear of the Lord” or “reverence for the Lord” look like for you? How do you know YOU are experiencing reverence? What does it feel like… smell like… sound like… look like?

For the rest of our session, we created poster images of what reverence might look like and then shared our posters. Although I cannot share them here… I have chosen a few graphic elements to give you a feeling for what was shared that night.

I am a speck in the Universe of GodOne person shared that she feels like a speck surrounded by a universe of God’s love.

Child on a SwingAnother person felt that her devotion was wrapped up in feelings of safety and warmth. She drew a picture of herself on a swing with Lord holding the ends.

Tears in her heartAlthough this picture does not capture fully, another person drew a picture of a heart filled on one-half with tears… but tears that changed colors from her early years of what she thought “fearing God” was to what she understands it to be now… full of colors. Her reverence for God has always been inside her heart.



Resting in the palm of God's handAnother sister shared her poster and safety was one aspect of her reverence of God.. along with a river of life, the devotion that a pet shows for her master, and many more images that reflect her expectation that God will take care of her.

Glory of natureOne sister shared her reverence of God in nature and symbolized it with an image of mountains… with a song in her heart, “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name…”

God's light shining down on usTwo of the women captured their reverence with the light of God shining down on them, filling almost the entire page with the rays of his Light.

We ended the evening with several scriptures:
Luke 1:50
2 Corinthians 7:1
Philipians 2:12
Ephesians 5:21
I Peter 2:17
I Peter 1:17
Exodus 20:20
Psalm 31:19

God created wisdom when the earth was made and only God can teach us the way to wisdom.

Prayer requests: for K’s workshop for Leading Kids to Jesus; for Irm’s daughter’s school issues; and for the visiting African girls from the Children of Zion Village.

Next meeting: Thursday, April 5th… continuing in Proverbs. Please email me if you need directions…
Note: Need a decision about meeting on May 3rd as I will be out of town.

I just came across this in our devotion time this am, and thought it fit in nicely w/our discussion two mtgs ago about the fear of the Lord.

 Come, you children, listen to me;

I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Who is the man who desires life,

And loves many days, that he may see good?

Keep your tongue from evil,

And your lips from speaking deceit.

Depart from evil and do good;

Seek peace and pursue it.

Ps. 34:11-14

Our meeting brought some new faces. I just want to remind everyone again that this bible study is a low-stress affair. Come when you can… read here what you missed. Add your thoughts through the comments or just lurk. This is God’s time no matter how you slice it.

We began our wisdom study in earnest, having been introduced to wisdom first through the character of Abigail. we began a review of wisdom with Proverbs 1.

Wanting to get some introductory material together, I was intrigued to discover a few “facts” that I shared with the group. But before I share those, I want to remind you all that Solomon received wisdom because he asked for it. Throughout this process, we must remember, daily, to ask God for wisdom. God is faithful and He will deliver!

The Hebrew word for wisdom is in the feminine tense and as such, is translated throughout Proverbs as “she.” Some years ago, I know there were some gnostics who took the idea of a “holy feminine” or “Sophia” or “goddess worship” much further afield that I intend to go. But that’s not to say that the feminine isn’t important. Let us not fearfully throw the “baby out with the bath water.” We are women and we need to champion that which IS feminine in the bible and to continually find meaning. We must be willing to look outside the box… to think creatively… to fulfill our own destinies in Christ… like Abigail, choosing courage to act under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

In ancient cultures, wise men and women came from a group of people who had developed life skills. They were the precursors to our modern day social and natural scientists. They were observers of life… of people… of nature. Wisdom could be learned. Soon, these wise ones expanded their observations about life and began making observations about wisdom itself. It is in this spirit, that many of the proverbs were written. The literary form of the proverbs is a specific type called parallelism. Proverbs were intentionally created to succeed in a verbal society … to be spoken and remembered and passed down. The proverbs are really a “collection of a collection” of proverbs and should be read in groups topically. They might “save us from a lot of trouble” but remember, the better part of wisdom is knowing how to live in the “midst” of difficult circumstances. For more background on the Proverbs, see http://www.cresourcei.org/biblestudy/bbproverbs1.html

When I asked in what areas we were looking for wisdom, the resounding theme was relationships: children, husbands, extended family, colleagues at work, neighbors… the list went on. And in these relationships, we are looking for better decision-making, wise words, and insight.

In actuality, the first 8 chapters of Proverbs are the instructions and speeches that summarize the entire book. The proverbs themselves are the detail. In chapter one, the purposes for studying the Proverbs are laid out: wisdom, discipline, insight, prudence, right-living, fairness, knowledge, discretion, understanding, and the “fear of the Lord.”

We talked a lot about the “fear of the Lord” – this phrase has been around for a long time and we have all learned various interpretations of it. Some of the definitions include awe, reverence, and respect. I believe, this respect, or reverent acknowledgment of God … a sovereign God… is the beginning of wisdom. As little children before God, we have much to learn and we must remember that God is God… and there are no circumstances that are not under his will.

I was fascinated by verses 8 & 9 which referred to the “garland for the head” and the “chain about the neck” as symbols of instruction received. What is interesting to me is that these objects can symbolize victory and beauty, but if we rebel against the instruction, they can feel like the chains of a prisoner.

The next 10 verses leap into the warnings of enticement away from instruction. This is an important point. Clearly, wisdom has a high value and once we begin this journey, the enticements will come quickly. But what are the enticements for a 20th century middle class woman? One very good suggestion was “gossip.” Remember, if we are seeking wisdom in relationships, what better way to “ruin” that path than to twist those relationships through the wringer of gossip, backbiting, and judgment? We also discussed other enticements like the love of “stuff” and worldly pleasures or things the world advertise as important.

One question I did not remember to ask was, “What is the most powerful temptation in your life?” and as a follow-up, “What would you lose by yielding to it?” and “What would you GAIN by yielding to it?” Think on these things this week.

Our next meeting is March 15th. Email me if you need directions. We will continue in Proverbs 1:20-33. I plan to continue through Chapter 4 and then move to another character to apply what we’ve learned.

Prayer requests: For Mark’s mother, Dorothy; Kathleen’s daughter Kristina; Marcie’s daughter traveling; Chris’s husband’s retiring.
Praises: Marriage on an upswing for MaryC.