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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

The depth of our worship often determines the level of our wisdom. Solomon is considered to have been the wisest and wealthiest of all the kings of the ancient world. He had wealth in the form of money (gold), land, and cattle. But it wasn’t earthly holdings that Solomon clung to as his security. After all, he wrote in Ecclesiastes that he had spared nothing in his want of pleasure, and found all of it to be worthless in attaining fulfillment.

What was it then that was foundational for his greatness? Solomon says that the beginning, the foundation, the footings for all knowledge was the fear of the Lord. A better rendering of fear hear would be, as Gill says, a filial fear, a reverential devotion to his Heavenly Father. In a word, the beginning of knowledge is worship.

After all, worship is giving our allegiance to that which we hold in highest esteem.  Our human tendency is to worship that which we perceive with our senses. We worship what we can hold, what we can hear, what we can taste. We don’t need to name our objects of worship. We show by our actions what is the most important. Relationships, Religion and Riches are the top three. But Solomon had all three of those and came up empty, just as many of us do.

Knowledge is made up of facts, figures and information. Wisdom is the ability to act according to the knowledge you have. If your knowledge is faulty, your wisdom is inevitably so as well. In the same way, if your knowledge of God is shallow, your worship will be shallow.

Some would say that there is knowledge and wisdom that is apart from God, that we need to separate the ‘religious from the political’, but Solomon tells us that the beginning of any knowledge is actively worshipping the God of the Universe.

Others may say, “I’ve asked God for wisdom and got nothin’!” But my question is how well do you know the Father? The closer we are to the author, the more we understand the book. James tells us in his letter to the church that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God and he will give it to us.

If you are looking for answers to life’s difficulties start with renewing your relationship with the one who invented the idea of relationships. If you want to know the meaning of life, begin with getting to know the giver of life. If you are looking for direction, seek the one who laid the four corners of the earth. Apart from him there is no true wisdom. Learning to worship him is the best way to gain wisdom.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for being the source of all wisdom. I pray for those of us who are going through difficult times with our families, businesses, finances or relationships. I ask that you would help us to grow in our worship of you so that we may have wisdom to face today’s challenges. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

My God, I want to do what you want. Your teachings are in my heart.” Psalm 40:8 (NCV)

We say we want God’s will to be done. We say we want good to triumph and evil to be defeated. But what is it that keeps those things from happening in our personal lives? I’m not talking about the world economy, or solving the political upheaval in far-off lands. I’m talking about the inner turmoil that goes on in our own little circle of influence, the world that makes up our families, our churches and our communities.

Passion plays a huge part in our success or struggle. What makes our hearts burn with passion?

Attitude is another big part to the puzzle. When things don’t go as planned I have two options available to me. I can get angry, bitter and resentful and do my best to retaliate and get justice for my cause or I can work within the system to bring change and accept the results.

Passion is the power, the energy behind our success. Attitude is the rudder that steers us through the storms of life. If our passion is for God and his ways then everything we desire will be within his will. Do you love to sing? Sing! Do you love to write? Write! Do you love to garden, build, and serve the needs of others? Look at the things you desire and measure them against God’s word.

If our passion is for ourselves then even if we get what we want materialistically, we won’t be satisfied. It was true with King Solomon when he looked out over his kingdom. He had everything he wanted. He says in Ecclesiastes he didn’t keep himself from one desire. Vacation homes, women, money, all the toys in the world didn’t bring him happiness. It’s still true today. People who win the lottery often end up bankrupt within a few years as well as divorced or relationally destroyed!

Cultivate passion through God’s word. Let the guidance of Holy Scripture direct your thoughts and emotions. Seek the counsel of Godly men and women around you during the questionable times. Don’t let earthly passion override Godly passion.

Then, let an attitude of love steer your thoughts, words and actions in the midst of this chaos called life. The balance in your bank account shouldn’t direct your desire to serve God and people. The reaction of the legal system, your spouse, your boss or your friends shouldn’t direct your response to anything at all! Our attitude should be the attitude of Christ which always showed love and compassion to those in need. Jesus was far more disappointed in ‘religious people’ than those who struggle with life.

A passion driven by God. An attitude of love and mercy. Two key ingredients to winning in life!

PRAYER: Father God. I want so badly to follow you but there are so many things that call for my passions. Forgive me for the times I allow the passions and desires of this world to overcome me. Forgive me for the times I’ve cultivated hate and judgment instead of love. Empower me by your Spirit to be passionate about you and merciful and loving to others. In Jesus name, Amen.

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