Tuesday, April 23 2024 - 11:25 AM

Sharing Scripture — February 24, 2024

Wisdom for Righteous Living

 

For use: February 18 – 24, 2024
Texts: Psalm 90; 95:7-11; 119:1-16; 128; 141; John 3:16

 

“We all know the old stereotypes,” begins an article in arstechnica.com, “men don’t ask for directions (and) no one reads the manual.” Research shows that this stereotype is actually true. Indeed, the URL for the article is “men need to read the manual (and) plug stuff in”!

A survey of 75,000 Gadget Helpline callers revealed that 64 percent of men (as opposed to 24 percent of women) hadn’t read the manual for their gadget before calling the tech service. They speculate that several more weren’t honest about their failure to check the manual due to embarrassment. (Another discovery revealed that 12 percent of men and 7 percent of women had neglected to plug in or turn on their device before calling.)

Security software developer AVG analyzed their own service call data, and their global security strategist Larry Bridwell speculates that men don’t read manuals because they “feel that they are more in control of what they do.” They found that most men tended to be “exceptionally confident in their own security prowess,” (that article’s URL includes the phrase “men think they rock”!). Unfortunately, though, a third of all men and women alike experienced identity theft.

The moral of the story is that it pays to know your true technical abilities, and read the manual, regardless!

The same is true when it comes to the scriptures. The gospel message is so simple a child can understand it, but lest we think we know it all, that message is so deep that we’ll study the plan of salvation throughout eternity (Acts of the Apostles, p. 273). The best way to live righteous lives today is to follow Psalm 119:11 and infuse God’s word into our hearts now.

We often think of Proverbs as the definitive book of wisdom, but the psalmists also give us good counsel on wise living. Psalm 103:14-16 reminds us of the brief nature of our earthly existence, but our time here doesn’t need to be filled with toil and misery. We can have true peace when we love God’s law, and nothing can defeat us (Psalm 119:165, New Century Version).

On the other hand, the Psalms show us the foolishness of following the way of the wicked. The psalmist prays in Psalm 141:6 for God to throw immoral leaders over cliffs so that their followers will see God’s wisdom. When evildoers fall into their own traps, the wise will pass by in safety (verse 10).

When we immerse ourselves in God’s wisdom by reading the manual and plugging into the power of God’s Spirit, we can live righteous lives in the midst of this broken world.

 

For Reflection

 

Connecting: How confident do you feel when approaching a new project? Do you tend to dive in headfirst, or do you take time to research everything you can find on the topic?

Sharing: The Bible is viewed by some as a codebook—a list of rules to live by—and others see it as a casebook—a collection of stories that teach about God’s loving interactions with humanity. Which view do you lean toward?

  1. Obviously it’s a codebook; God’s laws are explicitly listed in the Old Testament, and are implied throughout scripture
  2. Jesus told parables to illustrate how God deals with different situations, so it’s a casebook
  3. It’s both, but it leans toward the codes—the stories only show how the codes are applied
  4. It’s both, but it leans toward the cases—the laws are often bent or ignored depending on the situation
  5. It’s a codebook when I need to be reminded of God’s law, and it’s a casebook when a Bible story applies to my current situation
  6. Other:

Applying: What is the best way to help someone who is constantly getting into trouble due to their own foolishness? Can you quote scripture to them? Should you point out that they keep doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result? Where does prayer come into play?

Valuing: Where do you best learn life’s lessons? Do you gain wisdom from reading the scriptures? Or do you learn best from experience—including your own mistakes and the mistakes of others? If there is some area in your life where you recognize your need for wisdom, make this a matter of prayer in the next few days.

~ Chuck Burkeen


New Release:

As One Who Serves

 

Our newest resource, As One Who Serves: Perspectives on Adventist Mission & Ministry to Members, Families, and Communities is now available!

Much has been written about how the ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church can be more effective. There is a continued need for new approaches to ministry, guided by new and rigorous research. This volume honors the contributions of Monte Sahlin, who has dedicated his career to ministry and research spanning more than fifty years. The research, tributes, and other information presented in this book were each submitted by those who worked closely with Monte Sahlin during his career or were strongly influenced by his research, his many books, articles, presentations and blog posts and focuses on areas where Monte Sahlin has made significant related contributions:

  • Pastoral Ministry, Evangelism and Church Growth
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This book is organized around important topics offering new and important insights for those in ministry within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, highlighting recent research and inspiring continued scholarship.

You can obtain this special volume in paperback or for Kindle by visiting Amazon.

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