“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and, knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
Wise, skilled living in the world requires (above all) a right understanding of God’s holiness and a reverent submission to His ways. Beloveds, I want to talk with you about a time in my life when I was desperate for God’s wisdom, as well as His grace and mercy.
But, first things, first. I have attended church since I was a child. I’m told I started singing in the church choir when I was so small that I stood on a chair so I could be seen and heard. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and was baptized when I was 12 years of age. Throughout my youth and most of my adult life, I attended Sunday School, morning and evening Sunday services; mid-week Bible study was required. In other words, I was well “churched.”
One might conclude that this level of what I now call ‘religiosity’ would be enough to help prevent tragic errors in judgement. Well, one would be sadly mistaken. Even worse than my lack of wisdom in decision-making was my inability and/or unwillingness to see that God wanted to change me and ultimately use my trials to mature me.
I will always be thankful for my beloved friend, Venessa. During a dinner conversation (24 years ago) I bemoaned the fact that after a few weeks of marriage, my (then) husband said: “this isn’t working; we should never have married.” Time and space will not allow me to share the details of this tragic situation. Critical to this writing is the fact that I very subtly blamed God. I asked my friend: “How could God let this happen to me? Why didn’t He stop me? Why didn’t He just tell me not to marry him?”
After placing her fork on the table and establishing direct eye contact with me, she said: “God told you. Either you weren’t listening; or, you heard Him and chose not to obey.” I was stunned, as well as hurt. That evening’s drive from the restaurant home was a quiet one. But, I knew Venessa well. I recognized her as a wise woman with attributes that I longed to possess. Attributes such as being full of mercy and good fruits, being willing and able to give practical advice, and unwavering in a stand on the truth of God’s Word.
Once I passed the points of shame and embarrassment, I could hear (really hear) her message. Over the following years, and to this moment in time, I continue asking for wisdom, and He continues to fulfill His promise to generously make it available to me.
Do I consider myself a wise woman today? I am a woman who is constantly seeking greater wisdom and understanding. And so can you. Take God’s word literally. Believe it, just because “it is written.” He promises: “If you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” Proverbs 2:1-5.
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My name is Thelma Bright Murray-Jones. I recently celebrated my 65th birthday. It was a particularly joyful occasion because a mere four years prior to March, 2016, I counted each day as a gift. I never expected to celebrate 65 years of life. Obviously, God had other plans. Who is Thelma Bright Murray-Jones? A woman seeking knowledge of and relationship with the God who will transform my life, and yours!