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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Letters To My Son: The Way of Wisdom

The Way of Wisdom

Dear Misael,
              I have been thinking a lot about what I should write to you about and the words “The Way of Wisdom” kept ringing in my ears and believe or not it was in Hebrew (haderek hokmah) which is found in Proverbs 14:11 “I have taught you in the way of wisdom. I have led you in straight paths.” The book of Proverbs is the book of Wisdom in the Bible.  Salomon wrote it (Proverbs 1:1), and much of it directed to his son. He is known as the wisest man in the Bible not because of his own doing, but because he asked God to give him wisdom and God granted it to Him (2 Chronicles 1:10).  Yet he wasn’t perfect and made many mistakes. In fact, the Bible says that his heart wasn’t devoted to God like his father David’s had been: “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” (1 Kings 11:4-NIV) In fact, this act was foolish and Salomon did not follow his own advice.
            Wisdom is the God-given skill or ability to make right decisions when presented with various choices, whether they are morally right or wrong.  Sometimes making a decision involves making a choice between what is right and wrong, but in such case it is not too hard to determine which is the path to take.  But sometimes situations are presented that are not morally right or wrong (read how Salomon dealt with a difficult situation and made a wise decision in 1 Kings 3) and wisdom is necessary.  In the Old Testament the word “Hokmah” is used for the men who were very given wisdom or skill by the Holy Spirit for building the Tabernacle (Exodus 28:3, 31:3).  In the New Testament the word “Sophia” is used for Wisdom.  A person who has wisdom is very cunning; he or she is very keen in observing behavior, opportunities, and choices and is able to make the best decision for the best desired outcome.
        Proverbs 1:7 says that it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom.  In other 
words, when you understand who God is, and you fill your life with his knowledge, then you will be able to make “skillful” decisions.


Note: These letters have been edited.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Will Justice Come?


In light of current events I post this poem I wrote many years ago; a forthcoming ebook "Poems For The Journey"

Will Justice Come?
Isaiah 32:1-8

A man in ragged clothes is in a corner standing
Begging for money for a piece of bread
Another comes out of a restaurant laughing
Passing by him; he has been well fed

A woman sobs seating in her living room
Bruises on her body, her nose bleeding
A man singing out of tune
Feeling brave after the beating

A child wakes up trembling
Begging the man she loves not to hurt her
The abuse she has been remembering
If only she could say it louder

A young man taken into custody
The coroners has identified the bodies
It all happened as a rhapsody
In a cell he will have new buddies

A woman looks out her window
Wishing tomorrow she’ll have a better mood
Lonely and sad as a widow
A year has passed and there she has stood

Physically and emotionally drained
An old man walks through the door
He’s been fired for the job he was trained
He is too old to serve any more

A young mother is counting her pennies
Hoping to have enough money
To buy her children some tennis
Where is the man that called her honey?

This is the world where we live today
Injustice is around every corner
Will justice come some day?
Will it ever be better?

Look up and pray to the King
He’s coming to reign in righteousness
There will be justice for all human beings
Will you be ready to face his Holiness?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Shattered Dreams, Faith and Hope

I have written elsewhere that I don't believe in resolutions. So this post offers some thoughts about the past year and some expectations for the "new" one.  I am not strict on the concept of new vs. past year. I don't see time in this manner, especially when it comes to what God does in our lives.  

2010 brought some shattered dreams.  I have borrowed this term from Larry Crab's book with  same title.  This book has offered some insights as to why God has permitted some things to happen in our lives.  People often think that God will grant us what we "dream" or want but this isn't necessarily so.  I've had many desires, needs and "dreams" that were not materialized.  I don't blame God nor do I think He owes them to me.  I know one thing though, my shattered "dreams" have brought me to the understanding that my joy should be in God, in seeking him, in knowing him, in serving him. That should be my priority this year.   Among the shattered "dreams" God has restored my hope in Him. 

I am thankful for some of the outcomes from these experiences. Here are some of the the outcomes of my shattered dreams:

1. Finding God.  
In order to find God we have to be stripped away from everything that takes us captive.  It may be our jobs (or lack thereof), our desires, our dreams or even a person.  When we start experiencing these trials then we call upon God.  We realize that we can't hold on to anything in this world. That our sole trust should be in God.  When God becomes our focus then we will experience joy even in the midst of trials.   Crab says in Shattered Dreams:  "But it's in the pain that we discover our desire for God, and it's in the frustration of that desire that we come to realize how sturdy it is....To whom shall we go? Moving toward anything else we might desire is idolatry and foolishness.  Only God has the life our souls desperately need.  We come to really believe that."  (p. 87)

This is exactly the path I have taken this year. God has become more real.  I see the Scriptures differently as if my eyes have been opened and now I see a different perspective. In turn, I see people differently.  I don't claim perfection, it is a work in progress. And often I want to regress. 

2. Finding Faith and Hope.
I am learning that my faith and hope is not in a person but in God.  Interestingly, I have been reading and studying up on Hebrews 11.  Many of the man and women of God in the past never got their dreams fulfilled. But their hope was not in this Earth. Verse 39 says: "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." (NIV) 

3. Finding better relationships.
As a result of the trials experienced, my relationship with my wife has improved.  I see her differently.  I realize that God has truly blessed me by having partner like her in my life for over 20 years.  There is so much that I have learned through her.  Then my son has also played a part as well. He is now left to study in DC and in not having him around I have understood what it means to love a son, especially when you have to let him go.  It is so exciting to see him becoming a man on his  own and see how God has brought a special person into his life.  

4.  Finding a community of faith.  
We joined a new church last year. We have some really wonderful people that I can't imagine not  having them be part of our lives.  I am not speaking generic here.  There are some specific people that have brought a special blessing to our lives. Of different ages. You know who you are.  We have reconnected with others as well and God has blessed us even more. You know who you are.  And God continues to bring others to be part of our journey.


But I also expect God to help me in the plans for this year.  Some of there are:
1. Our two trips to Latin America with Women For World Health that specializes in medical aid to those who have no means.  One will be in April and the other one in August.  This should be exciting.
2. Ministering to young people who yearn for God.
3. _______________(Many other things that God will fill as we move along)
4.  Learning and re-learning what I shared already.