Ecclesiastes 4:13
Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.

So there's a bit of scripture above...

I told my beautiful wife that I felt that God wanted me to dig deeper; to take in and understand what I read in His Word, rather than just read it in volume. I had begun to read chapters and chapters in each sitting, and rather than learn from God, I was just building my own ego up, thinking, "I sure do read the Bible a lot."

So a few days ago, in an attempt to be obedient, I sat down and dug deeply into this one, single, verse. I re-read it in different versions of the Bible. I researched the Hebrew word that "admonished" was translated from. I took a very analytical look at it. Then, the following day, God taught me more in an instant than hours study, and research, and analysis taught me on my own.

Thank you, Father, that You guide us with your Holy Spirit. The result is so much more than a religion to follow. It's like You're taking my hand and teaching me how to make it. Help me be that kind of father too.

So the payoff... here's what God had me learn from His Word, and from Him:
Yes, we are fools in the deepest sense if we are too hard-headed to humble ourselves and learn from others' admonishment. If you think you're so smart that you shouldn't learn from reproof, you're an idiot.

That said, we're amiss if we do what so many modern Christians (and ancient Pharisees) have done and weaponize the Word. We can't take a passage like this, and point it at another believer saying, "look at YOU." The fact is, that if I offer someone counsel and they're unwilling to hear it, I probably need to consider whether or not I'm delivering it with grace and humility. I also need to remember what God has to say about pointing out the splinter in another person's eye...

God, thank You for teaching me. I know that it's a slow process. Please help me to grow in the area of offering grace toward others. Help me be ready to receive reproof with a humble spirit, and not to be so quick to give reproof to others. Forgive me for the mess that I am. Help me to get it more right tomorrow.

From the Heart and Mind of:

   Alan K. Manning



Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

  • Just a question:
When you read Matthew 7:7 (above), or scripture about God opening the windows of heaven and pouring out blessings, do you get excited?

In a way, I want to say "yes, get excited."  After all, our Heavenly Father knows how to take good care of His kids.  For those of us in the faith, we shouldn't at all be shocked when (or if, yeah, i said if) God blesses our socks off... even financially.  But is that what you want?  Is that what you're hungry for?

Let me encourage you that if you've begun looking into Christianity as a get-rich-quick scheme, you're better off with one of those multi-level-marketing companies.  I think Donald Trump started a good one recently.  Jesus has assured us that in this world we will endure trials.  We may have tons of blessings too, but Christianity isn't about finding a Genie in a bottle, it's about taking up your cross and following Christ.

So notice above that I followed Matthew 7:7 with Matthew 6:33. It might be good to scroll back up and read them together a couple of times.  YES, Jesus did say to seek... but WHAT did He say to seek?  I'm sure I can find "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" in the Bible, but where does it say "Blessed are those who really really want a Cadillac."?  Sometimes we hear that God will provide all of our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus, and our ears jump to "glorious riches" instead of "needs."  I'm just saying...
  • A prayer:
Father, fill my mouth and my heart with "thank you" instead of "I want."  You've already given so much... Your Son.  Help me to seek YOU first.  Let me thirst for you.  God forgive me for my greed.  I'm not at all worthy of what you've already given me.  Salvation.  My family.  A great job.  Who am I to ask for more?  Father, teach me to be a giver, and a cheerful giver.  And when You do bless me, I'll be careful to give You the glory.

From the Heart and Mind of:

Alan K. Manning


Roman's 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • A few thoughts:

Wow. If you can read that without saying, "wow", you need to read it again. Sometimes I start getting this arrogant attitude that judges others. I'll look down at them. What right do I have? If I am good, my goodness comes from God's Spirit within me, not from me.

And how miserable and unworthy I am. Don't get me wrong. Since God saved me, He's not only washed away my past sin, but taken away many of my most base desires. He's changed me from the inside out. Much of my self-centered nature is completely changed. Thank God.

But if I had to stand before God today... and if He judged me on who I am... EVEN THE CHANGED ME... I'd have no hope. My righteousness is as filthy rags. I'm so glad that God isn't expecting for me to EARN His love. And I write this today with a humble spirit, knowing that it is only because of Christ's sacrifice described in Romans 5:8 that I am in good standing with an Almighty and Righteous God.

But I am not always this humble. I really do judge all to often. I'm like the pharisee in the eighteenth chapter of Luke -- Jesus said to be like the tax collector.

  • A prayer:

God, thank you for bringing me to Your Word again; and to this verse. Thank you for reminding me that I didn't earn my way into salvation, but that You saw me at my worst, and loved me then -- enough to give Your Son. Help me not to judge. Fill me with Your love, which is not proud. Transform me. Renew my mind. Thank You again for Your grace.

From the Heart and Mind of:

Alan K. Manning