The wise and discerning person

Wisdom is a reality-based phenomenon. To be wise is to know reality, to discern it. A discerning person notices things, attends to things, picks up on things.

Wisdomforlife

“In the literature of Scripture, wisdom is, broadly speaking, the knowledge of God’s world and the knack of fitting oneself into it.

The wise person knows creation. He knows its boundaries and limits, understands its laws and rhythms, discerns its times and seasons, respects its great dynamics. He understands that creation possesses its own integrity and significance quite apart from his claim on it, and quite apart from any possibility that creation will make him happy.

The wise person gives in to creation, and he gives in to God, and he does the first because he does the second. He knows that the earth is the Lords, and so the fullness thereof. He knows that wisdom itself is the Lord’s. He knows some of the deep grains and textures of the world because he knows some of the ways and habits of its maker.

In the biblical view, the wise…

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Jesus, the Law and You (part I)

How should we relate to the Old Testament Law?
Should we use it as a guide for our behavior?
Are we required to obey the Law in the same way as Old Testament believers were required?

Wisdomforlife

  • How should we apply the content of the Old Testament to our lives today?
  • More specifically, how should we relate to the Old Testament Law?
  • Should we use it as a guide for our behavior?
  • Are we required to obey the Law in the same way as Old Testament believers were required?

The New Testament reminds us that, “we are not under the law but under grace” (Roman 6:14). Should we (on this basis) conclude that the law no longer has authority over believers? If we reach this conclusion,  how does it harmonize with Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount?

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any…

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Where can we find security and safety?

2Where can we find security and safety in a vulnerable and uncertain world?

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge” (Psalm 62:1-2, 5-7).

Take note of the metaphors of security (rock, fortress, mighty rock), and the repetition of the word “alone.” God certainly uses other people in ways that offer comfort and security but God is the only unchangeable source of certainty. He is the only all-sufficient One! Our sufficiency must be in Him! (v. 10) (cf. Psalm 46:1-3; Psalm 59:16-17)

God is strong and loving

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong and that you, O Lord, are loving.” (Psalm 62:10-11).

How do we make this truth about God our experience? 

Practice Psalm 62:8 – “Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

“Trust in your strong and loving God at all times.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 – with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding). Pour out your hearts to Him: for God is our refuge.

When you feel vulnerable or anxious, or when you feel misunderstood or misrepresented – pour out your heart to Him.

The Psalms help you do this! (cf. Psalm 42:1-6; Psalm 63:1-8). They lead you to the God who is your rock and refuge (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 5:7).

in a vulnerable and uncertain world?

Steve Cornell

Posted in Comfort, Faith, feeling hopeless, God, God's Heart, God's Love, God's power, God's Protection, Hope?, Suffering, Trials, Weather, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre-marriage

Resources for making the marriage decision

via Pre-marriage

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Love must be earned

suggestion box handle with careWhen severe dysfunctions or significant disruptions are part of one’s upbringing, they cast a long shadow over adult life.

Minimizing or dismissing the effects of these experiences based on spiritual changes is not wise. Being a new creature in Christ, for example, does not erase the impact of a troubled upbringing. Superficial cliches like “forgive and forget” or “just put the past behind you” are equally naive and misdirected.

Consider the experience of Lindy (not her actual name)

One of the things Lindy learned from her Father was that love is earned.

Good behavior merited favor. Disobedience, or even non-conformity to his beliefs, earned his anger and distance. It was all about performance. If she displayed to others what he thought to be right and good, then she would receive approval from her dad. As long as she pretended to be the obedient, respectful child, she was accepted. She grew up in hypocrisy, not knowing her Father’s love. He was absent emotionally, and to this day, Lindy does not know him, though she still clearly hears his disapproval.

Lindy learned that many of her choices displeased her dad. According to him, she did not eat, dress, or date appropriately. Rather than gaining what her heart craved, she lost hope of ever being loved for who she was. She turned to other male relationships seeking affirmation and acceptance. During this phase of her life, the connection with her Father severed completely.

Lindy became a people-pleasing, empty, broken mess. All her male relationships further splintered her soul. When she could not bear the self-deception any longer, she enrolled at a Bible College in one last-ditch effort to ease the overwhelming pain in her heart. Perhaps total abandonment to God would grant her release from her consuming turmoil and please her Father. If she embraced God, perhaps the emptiness of her heart would fade away.

In college, she began to slowly see the layers of her deception and her troubled mind. Lindy became determined to submit entirely to God’s hold on her life. When she finally stopped running, she met a stable, godly guy and married him believing her past would become a distant memory … distant, perhaps but not forgotten.

For the next seventeen years of marriage, however, Lindy was baffled by unexplainable outbursts of anger and almost continual discontentment. What could be missing? She was married to a loving, supportive husband, was heavily involved in youth ministry, had four beautiful children.

Unable to pinpoint the cause of her unrest, Lindy finally broke. She hit a wall and admitted failure…personal, marital, parental, social, and to her dismay, even spiritual. She felt attacked on all fronts. Everything she was trying so hard to keep in balance came crashing down…simultaneously. Depression consumed her for the next three years. Could her problems still be traced to the deep void she felt from her distant Father?

Lindy told me her story when she was in her forties. She lived for years without understanding why she felt and acted as she did. I encounter people all the time who identify. They grew up in homes void of functionally healthy relationships. Many of them are skeptical about the possibility of good relationships because their past taught them not to be vulnerable, transparent, and trusting – three essentials to good relationships.

These people cycle through unexpected waves of sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability, and anger. Many of them do not understand why they battle these emotions. They are also unaware of ways that they multiply pain from their past because suppression and denial played a significant role during their troubled childhood.

It’s difficult being honest about the influences that have shaped our lives. And revisiting the past comes with risks. The journey could lead to wallowing in self-pity or feeding resentment. Such responses, however, only give the past victory over the present. Understanding our past must lead to freedom from the hold it has on our lives.

For the rest of Lindy’s story and a closer look at ways the past effects the future in more real-life stories, check out my book, “The 18-Year Factor: How our upbringing affects our lives and relationships.”

Steve Cornell

Posted in 18 Year factor, Child Abuse, Childhood trauma, Fathers, Love, Parenting, Parenting teens, Wisdom | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Path to legalism

The links below will help you understand and teach about the danger of legalism.

Steve Cornell

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Total Depravity?

A truncated vision of humanity can result from the wrong starting point for a doctrine of total depravity. This then easily leads to over-renunciation.

via Total Depravity?

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