Monday, February 12, 2018

Wisdom

Who wants the treasure of wisdom? 

"Happy is the man who has found wisdom. Even more happy is the man who lives in wisdom, for he perceives its abundance." These are words from a sermon by Saint Bernard.

And here are three ways he shares "for wisdom to abound in you":
     First, "if you confess your sins";
     Second, "if you give thanks and praise";
     Third, "and if your speech is edifying."

This morning I was struck by this reading entitled "On the Search for Wisdom". How simple it seems to abound in wisdom if we follow St. Bernard's instructions rooted in the Word of God.

1 John 1: 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
James 5: 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

So, sisters and brothers, let us quickly confess our sins that we may be forgiven, cleansed and healed. What I do spontaneously is cry out, "Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner!" I believe it's one of the most powerful prayers ever.

     Psalm 106:1 Praise you the Lord. O give thanks to the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever. 
    1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances;...His praise shall be continually be in my mouth.
     Psalm 100:4 I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart; I will enter his courts with praise.

Truly we can enter the Lord's holy presence through praise and thanksgiving. Let us resolve that this become a daily habit in our lives. Is this not where we wish to dwell forever--in the house of our Lord? And so, I cry out also, "Praise you, Lord, thank you..." and just let that spontaneously flow.

     Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

This instruction is a helpful reminder that we have the power to bless or curse with our mouths--to build up or to tear down. Let us choose to be blessings to each other--to speak life!
A Prayer
Lord Jesus, we ask you for the grace to abound in wisdom. Give us your merciful grace to humbly confess our sins knowing we are forgiven by you and knowing you have paid the price for our sins. Give us a wellspring of thanksgiving flowing from our hearts for all the good you have done for us and a song of eternal praise ever on our lips. Bless our mouths that we may have enlightened conscientiousness and self control to speak words that are life-giving and edifying to one another. Amen.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Still Small Voice

I awoke with an eagerness to sit in the presence of the Lord and a sense that nothing was more important. The curtains were pulled open as the morning sun rose and I marveled at His faithfulness.

sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

An old familiar song was still resounding in my mind. One that we sang at a good friend's funeral recently--Surround Us Lord. Quietly I sang the song as the sun rose further; its rays bursting upon the horizon. "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people..." And I felt surrounded by His presence.

Thankfulness welled up inside for his presence and his protection.

Yes, nothing is more important than to hear his voice. So I quieted myself to hear that still small voice. Not in a strong heavy wind, nor an earthquake or fire, but in a tiny whispering sound. 1 Kings 11-12

Sometimes there's a sense of urgency to "Seek the Lord while he may be found. Call to him while he is still near." Another song's refrain resounding through my mind in the early morning hour. And the verse continued on "Today is the day and now the proper hour, to forsake your sinful ways and turn to the Lord." Isaiah 55: 6-9

Cry out for mercy, if you cannot hear. "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

That tiny whisper of his voice within my soul's like sugar--the more I eat it, the more I crave it. Of course, sugar is not very good for us. But the Lord is good all the time and His Word delicious to our souls! Let us taste the sweetness of his Word--devour it, chew on it, ruminate like a cow chews its cud. The more we do that, the more we hunger and thirst for oneness with Him. 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1: 1 Jesus is the Word.

Give us, Lord, the desire to seek you first each new day. To sit quietly in your presence and listen for your still small voice. Then, Lord, give us courage and strength to act on it for you have the words of everlasting life.