Monday, February 10, 2014

Filling the Rooms of My House

A few months ago, my girls and I had finished up a series we'd been doing for our breakfast time devotions and I wasn't yet sure what to do next. My oldest suggested one of her "Bible books" that was her favorite when she was about 2 or 3:

I'm pretty sure I picked it up at a yard sale (surprise, surprise) when she was a baby - but it was still way above her age level when she first started asking me to read it to her several years ago. I think she just liked the pictures and the characters. There's Joy and Smiley, who represent those who are searching for wisdom and trying to act accordingly. There's Mr. Wisdom, who represents wisdom and is ready to teach all who will hear him. Big and Bigger represent rewards and consequences as the result of wise and foolish actions. And then there's Mr. Bad Attitude, who represents those who reject wisdom. He's unteachable and always does things his own way. My daughter especially identified with Mr. Bad Attitude at that age and found his actions in the comic pictures quite humorous.

Each page of the book has a topical heading, a comic-type picture, and a paragraph summarizing/paraphrasing several verses from the Bible book of Proverbs that have to do with that topic. The wisdom of these proverbs were often way over my daughter's head back then but I remember trying my darndest to bring it down to her toddler age level. It was very challenging but I am a firm believer that reading and discussing scripture is NEVER a waste. God said so himself in Isaiah 55:10-11, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Now, several years later, when my daughter and one of her sisters are certainly old enough to understand, she has recommended this book for our morning devotions. And I'm happy to oblige, (although I skip the paraphrased paragraph and get right to the actual scripture). It would take us a too long to go through the 250+ page book cover to cover so we read and discuss it a couple of times a week between other things.

I've always loved the book of Proverbs. As long as I can remember reading the Bible of my own will and on my own time, Proverbs has been a staple of mine. Part of my testimony is how God has led me to make wise choices during times in my life when many of my peers were making foolish ones. God and His grace get full credit here. He spared me from living a life full of regret and I know it is in part because of the truths in Proverbs that have nestled deep within my heart, even at a young age. I recently stumbled across this MUST READ by Sally Clarkson about how God's voice always led her to pursue a different and opposite path than many. It really resonated with me because it takes wisdom to hear that voice and discern where God's Spirit is leading you.

I don't know the plans God has for my children but I sure as heck want them to lead lives marked by Godly wisdom. Part of the beauty of Proverbs is that it was advice written from a parent to a child. It's meant for us to read and apply to ourselves but also to teach our children.  I pray out loud with my girls daily, asking God to give me wisdom and give them wisdom. I remind them that God promises us in James 1:5 that "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." YOU HAVE A GUARANTEE TO BE GIVEN GENEROUS AMOUNTS OF WISDOM FROM GOD WHEN YOU ASK FOR IT!!! No strings attached! What an amazing promise!! Take full advantage of that. Daily.

There was one specific nugget of wisdom I came across in Proverbs not too long ago that really stuck out at me:
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” -Proverbs 24:3

I mentioned recently that I want to trend back to sharing more spiritual treasures in this blog. I love to fill my home with second-hand stuff that I go hunting for or simply stumble upon when I least expect it. It's a super-fun hobby and a creative outlet for me. But those physical things are not the real foundation my house is built on. My search for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge is of utmost importance. Those are the real precious and pleasant riches that I seek to fill the rooms of my house with.

So how do I do that?  Proverbs again shares the key in chapter 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Fear of the Lord is awe and reverence - not a scared fear. It's recognizing and respecting God as the Holy One, compared to me, a sinner. That is a starting point, together with a growing knowledge of Him. Not just knowing about God, but knowing Him personally. These are both accomplished in part by reading His Word. Getting my head and heart in The Book. I go treasure hunting for wisdom, understanding and knowledge in the Bible - God's Worth. It's Living. It's Truth. It's SO GOOD!

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