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Headlong into Danger

By |2023-10-22T02:33:27-04:00October 22nd, 2023|

In 1892, a resident with cholera accidentally transmitted the disease via the Elbe River to Hamburg, Germany’s entire water supply. Within weeks, ten thousand citizens died. Eight years earlier, German microbiologist Robert Koch had made a discovery: cholera was waterborne. Koch’s revelation prodded officials in large European cities to invest in filtration systems to protect their water. Hamburg authorities, however, had done nothing. Citing costs and alleging dubious science, they’d ignored clear warnings while their city careened toward catastrophe.

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about those of us who see trouble yet refuse to act. “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precaution” (27:12 NLT). When God helps us see danger ahead, it’s common sense to take action to address the danger. We wisely change course (v. 11). Or we ready ourselves with appropriate precautions that He provides. But we do something. To do nothing is sheer lunacy. We can all fail to miss the warning signs, however, and careen toward disaster. “The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (v. 12 nlt).

In Scripture and in the life of Jesus, God shows us the path to follow and warns us of trouble we’ll surely face. If we’re foolish, we’ll barrel ahead, headlong into danger. Instead, as He leads us by His grace, may we heed His wisdom and change course. Winn Collier

Elegant Design

By |2023-10-01T02:33:04-04:00October 1st, 2023|

An international research team has created a flapping-wing drone that mimics the movements of a particular bird—the swift. Swifts can fly up to 90 miles per hour and are able to hover, plunge, turn quickly, and stop suddenly. The ornithopter drone, however, is still inferior to the bird. One researcher said birds “have multiple sets of muscles which enable them to fly incredibly fast, fold their wings, twist, open feather slots and save energy.” He admitted that his team’s efforts were still only able to replicate about “10 percent of biological flight.”

God has given the creatures in our world all kinds of amazing abilities. Observing them and reflecting on their know-how can be a source of wisdom for us. The ants teach us about gathering resources, rock badgers show us the value of dependable shelter, and locusts teach us there’s strength in numbers (Proverbs 30:25–27).

The Bible tells us that “[God] founded the world by his wisdom” (Jeremiah 10:12), and at the end of each step in the creation process, He confirmed that what He had done was “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 25, 31). The same God who created birds to “fly above the earth across the vault of the sky” (v. 20), has given us the ability to combine His wisdom with our own reasoning. Today, consider how you might learn from His elegant designs in the natural world.

Deep Waters

By |2023-07-14T02:33:22-04:00July 14th, 2023|

When Bill Pinkney sailed solo around the world in 1992—taking the hard route around the perilous Great Southern Capes—he did it for a higher purpose. His voyage was to inspire and educate children. That included students at his former inner-city Chicago elementary school. His goal? To show how far they could go by studying hard and making a commitment—the word he chose in naming his boat. When Bill takes schoolkids on the water in Commitment, he says, “They’ve got that tiller in their hand and they learn about control, self-control, they learn about teamwork . . . all the basics that one needs in life to be successful.”

Pinkney’s words paint a portrait of Solomon’s wisdom. “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5). He invited others to examine their life goals. Otherwise, “it is a trap,” said Solomon, “to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows” (v. 25).

In contrast, William Pinkney had a clear purpose that eventually inspired 30,000 students across the U.S. to learn from his journey. He became the first African American inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame. “Kids were watching,” he said. With similar purpose, let’s set our course by the deep counsel of God’s instructions to us.

A Wise Builder

By |2021-06-07T09:06:06-04:00June 7th, 2021|

Sojourner Truth, whose birth name was Isabella Baumfree, was born a slave in 1797 in Esopus, New York. Though nearly all of her children were sold as slaves, she escaped to freedom in 1826 with one daughter and lived with a family who paid the money for her freedom. Instead of allowing an unjust system to keep her family apart, she took legal action to regain her small son Peter—an amazing feat for an African-American woman in that day. Knowing she couldn’t raise her children without God’s help, she became a believer in Christ and later changed her name to Sojourner Truth to show that her life was built on the foundation of God’s truth.

King Solomon, the writer of Proverbs 14:1, declares, “The wise woman builds her house.” In contrast, one without wisdom “tears hers down.” This building metaphor shows the wisdom God provides to those willing to listen. How does one build a house with wisdom? By saying “only what is helpful for building others up” (Ephesians 4:29; see also 1 Thessalonians 5:11). How does one tear down? Proverbs 14 gives the answer: “A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride” (v. 3).

Sojourner had a “secure fortress” (v. 26) in a turbulent time, thanks to the wisdom of God. You may never have to rescue your children from an injustice. But you can build your house on the same foundation Sojourner did—the wisdom of God.

Missing: Wisdom

By |2020-10-11T09:06:05-04:00October 11th, 2020|

Two-year-old Kenneth went missing. Yet within three minutes of his mom’s 9-1-1 call, an emergency worker found him just two blocks from home at the county fair. His mom had promised he could go later that day with his grandpa. But he’d driven his toy tractor there, and parked it at his favorite ride. When the boy was safely home, his dad wisely removed the toy’s battery. 

Kenneth was actually rather smart to get where he wanted to go, but two-year-olds are missing another key quality: wisdom. And as adults we sometimes lack it too. Solomon, who’d been appointed king by his father David (1 Kings 2), admitted he felt like a child. God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (3:5). He replied, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. . . . So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (vv. 7–9). God gave Solomon “a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” (4:29). 

Where can we get the wisdom we need? Solomon said the beginning of wisdom is a “fear” or awe of God (Proverbs 9:10). So we can start by asking Him to teach us about Himself and to give us wisdom beyond our own.

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