Welcome to Leaving Laodicea

The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church
331:  The Stuff Life Throws at Us

331: The Stuff Life Throws at Us

Sometimes, life throws us a curveball.  Scripture tells us to expect “trials and tribulations” (James 1:2) and even “persecutions” (2 Tim. 3:12)— but what seems to knock us down the hardest are the things we don’t see coming, just the bad stuff that happens to fallen people living in a fallen world.

All people, both good and bad, sometimes get cancer, lose their jobs, or suffer from broken relationships.  No one is promised an easy road this side of heaven.  Which, if you think about it, should make heaven more appealing.  But often it doesn’t. Instead, we get overwhelmed and depressed by daily life.

Did you ever wonder why?  And have you ever wondered why your prayer life gets overwhelmed by the problems of life when it should be the other way around?  If so, this message is for you.  To find out more, keep listening.
 

read more
Are You a Wise Guy?

Are You a Wise Guy?

As we learned from our last study together, Solomon has some pointed words to say to the simple and to the impetuous young men. Remember?

To give prudence to the simple (and to give) to the young man knowledge and discretion (Prov. 1:4).

But he also has much to say to those who lived on the other end of the continuum: the wise, the learned, the men of understanding who seek wise, Godly counsel.  You see, Proverbs is a book given to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16) and is for all of us: the young, the old, the dedicated as well as the apathetic, the hot, the cold, and the lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-17), the theologically trained and the ones who only know one thing, “that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).  It’s for everyone.  And regardless of our sinful, broken past or our life of privilege and opulence, the wisdom of God revealed in the Proverbs calls each of us, no matter who we are, wherever we are, into a deeper relationship with Him.

And in the closing two verses of the preamble to this grand gift to us, Solomon lets the pendulum swing hard to the other side and turns his attention to the opposite of the simple and naive.  He now addresses the wise and astute, the ones who should know better, who do know better, and shows us how to understand the book we are now reading.

Let’s take a look at what Solomon had to say to those who live on the other side of the spiritual track.


The Wisdom of the Wise

In Proverbs 1:5-6 we read:

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles.

As you can see, Solomon is addressing two categories of people in this passage: a wise man and a man of understanding.  But who are these people and what about their character draws us to them?
 

read more
Four Verbs, Part Two

Four Verbs, Part Two

As we discussed yesterday, in digging deep into the preamble of Proverbs 1, we came across a few intriguing verbs: know, perceive, receive, and give and also the nouns associated with those verbs: wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, equity, knowledge and discretion.

In Proverbs 1:2-4 we again find:

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity
To give prudence to the simple (and to give) to the young man knowledge and discretion.

As a reminder, notice again the natural progression of action.  To know, then to perceive something, then to choose to personally receive and embrace what we now know and perceive, and finally to share, to give what we have now received to someone else.

We’ve already looked at the first three verbs.  Now let’s spend some time trying to see and understand what the Lord expects us to do with what we’ve now received from Him, in Christ, by grace.

And the answer to that question is found in one simple word: give.

But a few questions remain.  What are we to give to others?  And who are the others we are to give something to?


To Give

So what are we to do with what we have received from Him?  We are to give it away, we are to give our very lives to others.  This is the meaning of: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39).

Question:  But what are we to actually give to others?
Answer:  What we have received from Him: grace, love, understanding, hope, and wisdom.

Question:  And who are we to share and give His wisdom to?
Answer:  Everyone. But specially the “simple” and the “young man.”

Look again at Proverbs 1:4:  To give prudence to (who) the simple, to the (who) young man knowledge and discretion.
 

read more
330:  “Will You Meet With Me?” – God

330: “Will You Meet With Me?” – God

Our lives are busy, incredibly busy.  But the One who gets slighted when we fail at proper time management is usually the Lord.  Think about it.

We schedule a time with Him and stay up too late the night before and oversleep.  Who gets slighted?  Who gets stood up?  Our boss?  Nope.  Our friends?  No way.  Our spouse?  Not on your life. Then who?  The Lord.  The very One we say we love more than anyone.  How can that be?

Probably because we don’t enjoy our time with Him as much as we enjoy our time with our spouse or friend.  That’s why we choose them over Him.  And probably we don’t respect Him as much as we do our boss.  That’s why we choose pleasing our boss more than pleasing our Lord.

If any of this sounds familiar, there is a change that needs to take place.  And to find out more about that change, keep listening.
 

read more
Four Verbs, Part One

Four Verbs, Part One

As we dig deeper into the Proverbs we quickly come across a few arresting verbs: know, perceive, receive, and give.  And, of course, we see the corresponding nouns associated with each of these verbs. In Proverbs 1:2-4 we find:

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity
To give prudence to the simple (and to give) to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Notice, if you will, the natural progression of action.  To know, then to perceive something, then to choose to personally receive and embrace what we now know and perceive, and finally to share, to give what we have now received to someone else.

But what does it mean to perceive something or someone, maybe a new truth or a deeper understanding of a known truth?  And how does someone then receive that true or understanding to themselves that they have just perceived?  What does that process look like?  And how does that exchange actually happen?  And finally, ultimately, to whom do we give what we have received? And what specifically do we give them?

The answer is found in the nouns connected with our actions, our verbs.

But let’s begin by looking at the four verbs.
 

read more
Wisdom is a Choice, So Choose Wisely

Wisdom is a Choice, So Choose Wisely

From the account in 1 Kings we find little to shed light on the specific details of that momentous event.  What we do see is Solomon overwhelmed with the responsibility of leading the kingdom he inherited from his father David and recognizing he is but “a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in” (1 Kings 3:7).  Then, in a marvelous way, God grants his request and gives him, not only a “wise and understanding heart” (1 Kings 3:12), but also throws in what Solomon didn’t ask for, “both riches and honor” (1 Kings 3:13) simply because He wanted to.

And from then on we see Solomon acting, sometimes, in the wisdom God gave him and, at other times, living like a rich, spoiled brat making “dumb as a brick” decisions for himself, his family, and the nation God trusted him to lead.

But how is that possible?  How can a man given the very wisdom of God make dumb, lousy, selfish decisions?  Didn’t God make Solomon a wise man when He gave him His wisdom?  Didn’t God just zap him, like He did Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road, and turn him into something he wasn’t before?  Or maybe God simply enhanced the wisdom Solomon already possessed?  Maybe Solomon was already a wise man and God just gave him the 2.0 update?  Plus, when God gives you or me His wisdom, does that mean everything we do or say is wise and from God?  And if not, why?  How can we, like Solomon, be given the wisdom of God and then go around making lame, stupid decisions?  How is that even possible?


Solomon Was Not a Wise Man

Let’s nip this one in the bud right out of the gate.  Solomon was not an inherently wise man.  He was not one whose very nature oozed wisdom.  How could he be?  The decisions and choices he made as a father, husband and king are anything but wise and they reflect his true nature.  When Solomon relied on the wisdom of God, he made incredibly wise decisions— some of which we still marvel at today.  But when left to himself Solomon, like you and me, made decisions and choices according to his own nature, according to what he was made of on the inside.  And for Solomon, his nature was anything but wise.

Just think, how wise was it as a husband to have 300 wives and 700 concubines?  How wise was that?  Think of the infighting within his own family.  Think of how used and rejected his wives felt, not to mention the concubines.  And this selfish, unwise decision to marry so many women wasn’t a momentary lapse of reason for Solomon.  It wasn’t something he did and regretted later, vowing to never make the same mistake again.  This pattern of thinking was habitual, ingrained, and occurred over a 1,000 times.

Then you have the children.  Hatred, jealousy, bigotry, and bitterness was the rule of the day, so much so that the kingdom was irreparably torn in two after Solomon’s death by two of his own children.  What does this show us about Solomon’s nature and core values regarding his responsibilities of being a father?  Where’s the wisdom in any of this?
 

read more
329:  How to Approach the Lord

329: How to Approach the Lord

The Scriptures talk much about how to approach the Lord or how to “come into His presence” (Ps. 95:2).  From the words to Moses at the burning bush:  “Do not draw near this place.  Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5), to the invitation from Christ:  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28)— we see examples of how to come near to the Holy One.

But there’s one place in Scripture that reveals more about how to approach the Lord than any other.  And that is found in Psalm 100.  Or, as Spurgeon called it, “the ol’ one hundred.”

So join with me as we discover what it means to “Come before His presence with singing” and to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise” (Ps. 100:2, 4).  I think you’ll be surprised.  Why?  Because it doesn’t mean what you think it means.
 

read more
328:  Your True Nature = Your First Thought

328: Your True Nature = Your First Thought

Believe it or not, your first thought about something is a telling indicator of your core nature.  It’s your knee-jerk reaction that shows what you are made of and who you belong to— the god of this world or the One you claim as your Lord.

Ask yourself this:  When you’re faced with a problem or an inconvenience, what’s your first thought?

Is it, how does this problem affect me?
Or, is it how does this problem affect my family, or others, or the ones I love?

Is your first thought about you? Or is it about the welfare of others?

Your answer may be a key indicator as to your true nature.  And your true nature is the single, most important indicator as to whether or not you’re saved.  Confused?  Maybe a bit angry?  Good.  Then keep listening to find out what you need to do.
 

read more
Jesus is Our Wisdom

Jesus is Our Wisdom

We discovered yesterday, from 1 Corinthians 1:30, that Jesus “became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”  This verse clearly shows us Jesus Christ is, in Himself, the wisdom from God.  Jesus is all wisdom, complete in Himself, and if we desire more wisdom from the Father (James 1:5), He answers by revealing more of His Son to us.  We ask for wisdom, we get Jesus.  We look for wisdom, we see it in Jesus.  We want to know wisdom (Prov. 1:2), we must know Jesus, and none other.

The wisdom from God is found in only one person— and His name is Jesus.


To Know and Perceive Wisdom and Understanding

But the Proverbs begin by telling us the grand purpose of this book is “to know (yada) wisdom and instruction, (and) to perceive the words of understanding (Prov. 1:2).  What does that mean?

Wisdom, as we know, is “the ability to discern or judge what is right, true, and lasting” and instruction means more than teaching or exhortation.  Instruction is “discipline, chastening, and correction, with the imagery of a father disciplining his son that he loves.”  Which brings us to the last half of this verse, “to perceive the words of understanding” (Prov. 1:2).

To perceive means “to discern, consider, understand, to be attentive or pay attention to.”  And “words of understanding” mean “words or speech of comprehension, discernment, righteous actions, with a strong moral and religious connotation.”  In other words, “to perceive the words of understanding” is not something to be mentally perceived or discerned, but to follow through with righteous actions, works, or deeds of strong moral and religious connotations that bring about God’s wisdom and the ability to choose what is right, true and lasting.  Do you see what the Lord is saying to us?

The purpose of Proverbs is for us to know (yada) by experience, or by doing, in an intimate, passionate way, the wisdom of God, or Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), and possess the ability to discern and choose what is right and Godly in any given circumstance.  The New Testament would call this sanctification (1 Thess. 4:13), having the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), or “walking in the Spirit, and not according to the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

Its purpose is for us to know wisdom, the wisdom found only in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), and to be “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).
 

read more
How to Become a “Wise Guy”

How to Become a “Wise Guy”

In Proverbs 1:2 we’ve discovered one of the great goals of the book of Proverbs is to allow us to know, in an intimate and experiential sense, both wisdom and instruction.  We’ve already looked at what the word know means in this passage in yesterday’s post.  But what about wisdom?  And instruction?

Wisdom is defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment, or the quality of being wise.  It’s the ability to discern or judge what is right, true, and lasting.”  Wisdom is not the mere accumulation of facts about someone or something, it’s the ability to properly apply those facts in a given situation to determine the right and God-honoring outcome.  Wisdom is manifested when a person can see the circumstances they face and match them with truth they know, God’s Word, and then plot a course of action based on the truth and not on the urgency of the situation.

Instruction, surprisingly, is not primarily defined as teaching or exhortation, as we would expect.  Instruction (muwcar) is defined as discipline, chastening, and correction, with the imagery of a father disciplining his son.  So the book of Proverbs is designed to help us know (yada) by doing, to learn by experience, in an intimate, personal way, the ability to discern what is right, true, and lasting versus choosing the cheap trinkets and toys our culture offers.  And we are to learn the wisdom of God by discipline, correction and chastening.  After all, the Lord disciplines the ones He loves (Heb. 12:6).


How to Get Wisdom

And that’s a question we all ask, isn’t it?  How do we get wisdom?  There are several verses that speak to this desire.  The most well-known is found in James:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8).

As we can see, wisdom is given to anyone who asks, just as long as they ask in faith.  For if they doubt when they ask, they shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Why?  Because they are “double-minded” and “unstable” in all their ways.
 

read more

Come Join Us!

Subscribe-Leaving-Loadicea

Something About Us

This is a collection of the many questions I have struggled with and the answers I have found regarding the relationship between authentic faith in Christ and much of what is portrayed today as Biblical Christianity.  Especially with the coming darkness looming over all of us, including the church.

Come with me.  It should be a wild ride!

To find out more about us and what we believe, just continue reading…

Sit down and let's talk.

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”

Revelation 3:15-17

Come Join Us

Come and join us as we discover the joy of Leaving Laodicea behind.