#001: Wisdom Isn’t Enough [Podcast]

1 Kings 3:5-13

God gave Solomon a reminder not to substitute wisdom or activity for a relationship with Him. Solomon’s priorities reveal a man with good intentions who forsook his own advice through compromise. Solomon literally wrote the book on wisdom but still blew it.

Why? Because wisdom isn’t enough. It also takes obedience.

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Apply the Wisdom of Creation to Your Struggles

The awesomeness of creation exists as more than beauty for us to observe.

In spite of the chaos in our culture, the world screams of order in its origin. Its predictable seasons and trustworthy laws of nature reveal wisdom in its design.

Apply the wisdom of creation to your struggles.

(Photo by http://www.ForestWander.com (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons)

The wisdom of creation we see is explained in the Bible we read. Wisdom played such an integral role in creation that the author of Proverbs 8 personifies it as a person present with God:

“Before the hills I was brought forth . . . When He established the heavens, I was there . . . When He marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was beside Him, as a master workman”—Proverbs 8:25–33

God’s wisdom displayed in the wonders we see also proves His wisdom in all areas of life.

Including the painful ones.

Eden and Gethsemane—Two Gardens and Two Choices

Two gardens, Eden and Gethsemane, provided the settings for two choices that brought opposite results. The Bible wildly contrasts these choices.

Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane

(Photo: The Garden of Gethsemane. Notice the city walls in the distance. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s choice to commit sin had the potential of bringing condemnation to everyone. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ’s decision to die for sins provided potential justification to everyone (Romans 5:18).

Adam never would have eaten the fruit had he known the consequences to himself and to his race. But he couldn’t see the results.

All he had was God’s Word and its warning. That’s all we have as well.

A Spiritual Juneteenth Offers You Freedom

Freedom from anything begins by knowing you are free. Juneteenth—a short version of “June 19th”—remains a state holiday in Texas. It remembers the day good news arrived.

you can have freedom

(Photo: Monkey Business Images, via Vivozoom)

But before this date in 1865, freedom had been a secret for two and a half years.

For many Christians, spiritual freedom is still a secret.

Finding the Dead Sea Scrolls Isn’t Enough

Our guide pointed from the road to a rocky outcropping on one of the distant hills. “This hike is definitely optional,” he warned. “But it’s worth it.”

Qumran Cave 4 interior

(Photo: The interior of Cave 4 at Qumran. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

A few of us brave souls followed, and for the first time in my life, I wished I had four legs.

Our guide scurried over the rocks like a lizard and stopped ahead, halfway up the hill, near the fissure in the rocks to which he had pointed. He turned and stood, arms crossed, one leg over the other, and waited for us. Finally I arrived.

“This is it,” he beamed.

Why the Wisdom of Solomon Isn’t Enough

Everybody likes to be an exception to the rule. No exceptions. This paradox seems especially true for individuals who are exceptional. Like Solomon.

(Photo: William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ, USA, via Wikimedia Commons)

“I have given you a wise and discerning heart,” God told Solomon, “so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you” (1 Kings 3:12). Talk about exceptional!

And yet Solomon became the exception to his own wisdom.

It started with two small compromises.

The Holy Spirit of Christmas Past [Podcast]

Luke 1:26-38

When God wants to impact our lives today, He uses His Holy Spirit.

Just as occurred that first Christmas, with the Holy Spirit “coming upon” Mary, so the Spirit of God has come upon believers today,  empowering them to respond as Mary did– with obedience and faith.

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Israel Tour Day 1—Caesarea and the Jezreel Valley

The first day of a tour is always fun because you get to meet the folks on your bus. What a great crew! We boarded the our buses today to head north from the area of Joppa/Tel Aviv to our first stop—Caesarea by the Sea.

The Apostle Peter made this same journey to share Christ with a Roman Centurion in Caesarea (see Acts 10:23-48). What took Peter two days of walking took us about thirty minutes.

At Caesarea, I felt the cool Mediterranean breezes that would have refreshed Paul as he emerged from his prison to make his defense before Agrippa (see Acts 25:1-27).

In the theater, Dr. Reg Grant gave a stirring monologue as King Agrippa, the arrogant ruler who was struck by God in the very theater where we sat (see Acts 12:21-23)!

Back in the bus and headed further north, the scenery reminded me how God designed the land of Israel to be strategic during biblical times. The mountains, valleys, oceans, and deserts forced travelers to journey only on certain routes. The most-used road was the International Highway that stretched from Syria in the north to Egypt in the south—the full length of Israel.

As the highway made its way across the broad Jezreel Valley, it entered a chokepoint at Mount Carmel alongside the city of Megiddo. During the times of the judges in Israel, the Hebrews failed to drive out the Canaanites who lived in Megiddo.

So what? Why not let the inhabitants live in this region since they wanted it so badly? The Lord knew why. Not taking control of Megiddo amounted to not locking one’s doors at night. It played a vital role in national security.

The failure of the Hebrews to drive out the inhabitants defied God’s command to resist the culture. Instead, God’s people tolerated the culture . . . and then eventually embraced it. Their compromise produced disastrous results, as the Lord had said, “Their gods will be a constant temptation to you” (Joshua 2:3, NLT).

It always seems easier to mingle with the culture than to oppose its influence—to find the middle ground rather than stand on our own. But God knows better, and so He commands us, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world”; “Flee sexual immorality”; “Do not covet.” God gives specific commands to protect us from experiencing a danger we cannot detect on the outside.

We must guard the critical points of entry into our hearts: church doctrine, music, television, the Internet, movies and marketing. No doubt, obedience comes at a hard price, but not as hard as the results of compromise.

As we consider our culture’s embrace today, we must also consider God’s words again: “They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”

Compromise is never worth its price.

Tomorrow, we enter the world of Jesus . . . around the Sea of Galilee!
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The Path to Blessing [Podcast]

Leviticus 26

God reminded the Hebrews that because He saved them from bondage, they owed complete allegiance to Him. Obedience brought blessing, while sin brought discipline for the purpose of restoration.

Following Christ’s example, we see the ultimate path to blessing. Today God has blessed all believers with every spiritual blessing, and He gives to us materially according to our needs and His will.

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Living Right in a World Gone Wrong [Podcast]

Leviticus 20

Culture pulls at our passions. How can we walk the right way?

The moral principles of holiness need to be guarded in an immoral world. Living our lives against the winds of culture does more than help us personally—it reveals God.

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Open Podcast in iTunes