Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Wisdom of God

The Wisdom of God is necessarily as unbounded as His existence and intellect, so this post is more just a brief look at a few points than a study that really does justice to the subject.
Having the wisdom of God is essential as believers because we are called to manifest this manifold wisdom not only to the world, but to all the spiritual rulers in the heavenly places. Eph 3:8-11, “This grace is given to me (who am less than the least of all saints) to preach the gospel of the unsearchable riches of Christ among the nations, and to bring to light what is the fellowship of the mystery which from eternity has been hidden in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; so that now to the rulers and powers in the heavenlies might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord…”

Not only is the church to manifest wisdom, but it is to manifest manifold wisdom, or wisdom in every facet and area of interaction between itself as a body and the outside world. Of all the wonderful plans which Christ has for His Church this is probably the one of which His Church most often falls short.

Since it is God’s desire that we should walk in His wisdom, I would like to look at a few things that could be called hallmarks of His Wisdom, things that we can look at to see if we are making wise choices.

Zophar tells us in Job 11:6 that sound wisdom is manifold, or double. One of the key elements of God’s wisdom is that it works not only for a short term solution, but for an eternal goal. Earthly wisdom is often very shortsighted and involves a buy now pay later mentality.

James gives us several practical attributes to test our “wise” ideas against in James 3:17, “But the wisdom that is from above is first truly pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

Firstly it is pure, anything that seems like a good idea, but is tainted by any impurity of any kind will eventually be tarnished, whatever temporary good may result will be destroyed by the impurity.
Secondly it is peaceable, much that happens in churches is manifestly not of the wisdom of God, because of its combatative nature. God is angry with the wicked and yet can still draw near to them with an offer of peace should they be willing to submit, and we should learn from Him.

It is gentle. Telling someone the truth is necessary, but gentleness can make the difference between the person receiving or rejecting the truth. Wisdom is not only what we say but how we say it. People may reject the Word of God anyway, but we don’t want to give them an excuse to do so by our rough manner. Wisdom gives people what they need to hear in the way that is most likely to make them able to receive it.

It is easy to be entreated. It is genuinely interested in the best for people and when asked puts forth the real and lasting solutions to their problems without a condescension.

It is full of mercy and good fruits. One of the most amazing aspects of God’s wisdom is His ability to restore men like David and Peter and use them to such a degree that not only is mercy vindicated, but also His wisdom in restoring them. It is far wiser to be able to restore someone who has been a recipient of care, ministry, and training then to totally cast them aside.

It is without partiality. Whenever people use prejudices to determine their choices they inevitably not only wrong the ones they overlook, but they also wrong themselves. God responds to people as they respond to Him, not based on their ethnic group, age, gender or any other outward appearance that we choose.

It is without hypocrisy. God’s wisdom is what it is. There is no guile in God, no trickiness. He may not reveal everything, because we cannot fathom it, but He does not manipulate or deceive.

God’s wisdom works. It is always justified by the good fruit it produces. It not only achieves results in a situation, but it lays down the character of God into the life of the one who follows it. His Wisdom declared that He would send apostles and prophets to be martyrs (Luke 11:49-51). This would work several things at once. It would provide a witness to the unbelieving, who would become more culpable in God’s sight. It would provide an opportunity for His followers to lay down their lives that others might know of salvation even as He had given His life for the salvation of mankind. Lastly it would cause men like Saul to be touched and turn from a persecutor to a preacher and spread the message farther and faster than men like Stephen could ever have taken it had he not laid his life down. Truly the foolishness of God is wiser than men!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back in Malawi

I arrived back in Malawi on Saturday. My first recollection as I disembarked from the plane was how hot it is here. Sure South Africa was a lot hotter than Erie was, because the seasons are polar opposites, but neither compared to the raw heat coming off of the pavement as I walked towards the immigration building. When it starts raining it should cool off a little, but until then a fan helps a lot (actually as I write this it has started raining and gotten much cooler) . Sunday my parents were in Dedza ministering at a church there, I was holding down the fort here. While I was doing that I got the wifi network setup, which should make things easier for us here. After a little niggle I managed to get the internet connection shared too. This all simplifies backing up files without using a flashdisk to move stuff around.
Conditions in Malawi are around normal, we have electric outages every other night. We also are having a diesel shortage, dad got the pickup filled up the day before I arrived back, but he spent 8 hours finding a station that had it and waiting in line to get it. Our new pickup is running well. The old one is awaiting replacement of its springs (4th time this year) and brakes. Dad was going to drive down to Luchenza (1 ½ hours SE) to deliver some tin for a church, but the trip has had to be postponed.
Mom has finished ironing a lot of the clothes we buy in bales and then distribute for Christmas. Yesterday I spent most of the morning dividing 50 kg bags of beans into 1kg packets for distribution (this will be a reccuring task for the next few months especially in the lead up to Christmas). Today I partially sorted out a printer problem (a little bit of tape was on the copper circuit preventing the printer from recognizing its presence), only to run into a second one (the cartridge ran out of ink halfway through the 3rd page anyway).
This Sunday I will be ministering in one church in Luchenza, while dad ministers in another one in the area. That’s a pretty brief summary of this last week and what is coming up this week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Blog from JFK

I should be in Malawi by now, but here I am. How did this happen?
I left Buffalo on Jetblue at around 5:50, and arrived at JFK minus one luggage item. It had apparently been searched by TSA, probably because it had several cans of food in it. I went to the baggage claim section and talked to them, the missing bag came in on the next flight and I had it in my hands at 9:35am and headed to the South African Airways Terminal. I thought I would just make it since the flight only left at 11:35 and I was there by 9:45 (actually sine Jet blue had given me a $30 voucher I felt pretty good about the whole thing at this point). However SAA shuts their check in at 9:30, and the lady (wo)manning the check-in had apparently come close to perfecting Nietzsche’s virtue of courage in turning away from the face of human misery. Neither my letter from Jetblue, nor the fact that missing this flight would make me miss my Malawi connection and have to wait until the next flight on Saturday, nor even my best “Lightning McQueen” Kachow-Kachow smile and charm could get me on the plane.
During the second attempt to try to get Jetblue to help me somehow, following the refusal of SAA. By the time I tried a few things SAA had closed their ticket booth, which is only open 7-10:35, so I had to wait until the next morning to sort out the tickets.
About the only good thing I feel about saying about Jetblue right now is that they have free wifi in their terminal which is how this gets out.
I tried to phone some of my siblings so they could contact the people in South Africa and my parents in Malawi concerning what had happened.
I kept on getting answering machines and voice mail, each of which cost me a dollar in change and sometimes didn’t take the message. I bought a five dollar phone card and contacted one of my sister-in-laws who was able to email people. I then found out that Jetblue has free wifi all throughout their terminal and used it to email people myself.
Spent the rest of the day (remember I got here at 7:15am) wandering around, found a set of shops and food court at Terminal 4, spent the night there. I got a decent amount of sleep but felt pretty stiff because I was using my laptop case as a pillow.
This morning I got my ticket changed, but since Tuesday is the one day SAA does not fly out of JFK I will be here until Thursday morning. I am currently sipping coffee and recharging my laptop, if I were stuck with other people I would probably rent a baggage locker and go see some of New York, but sightseeing alone isn’t a lot of fun. On the plus side I am reading a Church history book a friend of mine loaned me and I am making good progress on it 
I am looking forward to leaving, but not to another night sleeping on the benches here.