Proverbs 3:13-17 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels.
Wisdom is the main thing, the most important thing, nothing else is as important as wisdom is. Wisdom is foundational to good marriages, wise parents raise good kids, wise people manage their finances well, wise people get along with others, wise people keep God first in their lives.
There are not very many truly wise people around, because the price is to high for most. To receive wisdom there must be a very strong desire for wisdom, a strong hungering and thirsting for more and more wisdom. A casual interest for wisdom won’t work. If you aren’t consumed with getting wisdom you won’t.
To receive wisdom there must be a strong and consistent seeking of wisdom. Proverbs says to seek it like gold, silver, and treasure. Seeking is pro-active, that is we actively do something that is a proven way to acquire more wisdom. I like to say that seeking wisdom is like fishing. You want to catch fish so you, but it isn’t automatic that you will. A few people catch a lot of fish, and a lot of people catch a few fish. We are leaving for Alaska Friday morning to fish for Halibut and sockeye salmon.
The greatest source of wisdom is experience that is gained while in pursuit of wisdom.
Before I can leave for Alaska to go fishing this Friday I have a long list of things I need to get done. There are some things on the list that are under the category of “it would be nice to get that done before I leave”, and then there are those things that are super important and really ought to be done before I go, and then there are those things that have to get done or I can’t go. Obviously the sub-group on my Alaska to do list “things that must get done or I can’t go” have the highest priority, and I will focus on getting those checked off before moving to the others. Today it was interesting to me to note how much I was drawn to do the things that weren’t on the “have to or I am stuck home” list. Why would I spend time on things that don’t have to get done and ignore things that absolutely must get done. I do it all the time, why? It really is stupid, and nonsensical, but I do it anyway. I don’t know the answer for sure, but my guess is that the things that must get done, as I look at the list of them, aren’t very fun, or exciting, they all would easily be described by my Dad as chores. An aspect of the character trait of self-control is choosing to do what is most important, and must get done. I really want to go fishing in Alaska so I have a strong motivation that greatly helps my self control. In all of life a key principle of self control is reward. I am working at attaching a big reward to the most important activities in my life even if I have to manufacture the rewards so that I maintain focus on the things that really matter.
We camped last night at Idanha, and left this morning at 5:30 am and road 64 miles to home. I road into our driveway at 1:30 pm with a bunch of grandkids waiting and cheering for me as I pedaled the last 100 feet of the trip. I was surprised at the rush of emotion I felt as they yelled, “welcome home, grandpa”. It was nice to be home. Most of the 64 miles was downhill or level and there was no headwind, and because we left so early and then cut off at Mehama to a country side road that went through Scio we had very little traffic, a great last day ride. After I visited with kids, grandkids, and Patty I laid down in my nice, comfortable bed and took a nap. I then went down to my office and got caught up on all that took place while I was gone from my secretary, Jean, read and answered emails, and worked on my sermon. I preached tonight and I will in both services tomorrow. I had a real struggle with my voice tonight, and I am hoping that a good nights sleep will fix it for tomorrow.
One of the things I preached about tonight was how to have strength and energy when you get old. God gives strength to the weary, but there are a lot of weary Christians out in the world who don’t seem to be getting much of that strength and energy from God. I shared 5 keys to receiving that gift from God tonight. (1) Have a strong desire to do something with your life that matters, really matters, what Jesus calls fruit in John 15. God gives us His strength for a purpose, to bear fruit for Him, not just to be able to function and do what everybody else does. If you don’t aspire to bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit don’t expect God to give you His power. (2) Ask God for His strength, ask a lot, ask often, ask every time you feel tired, ask a hundred times a day. (3) Control your thinking. Don’t think, “I am tired”, because you will become more tired. There are dozens of verses in the Bible about God promising to give strength to the weary, memorize several of them, and as soon as a “I’m tired” thought pops into your head choose to set your mind on one of those verses and meditate on it. (4) Control your mouth. Don’t ever say, never, ever, absolutely never say, ” I am so tired”. If you weren’t, you will be now, and if you were it will now be 10 times worse. (5) Control your flesh. Get up and do something that matters. But, I am so tired, you say, get up and do something anyway, do not let how you feel dictate how you act or what you do. If you feel tired, exhausted even, and you get up and do something that will bear fruit, you won’t die, but you probably will start feeling better. I am not saying you shouldn’t rest, but rest systematically, and then do something great.
We are in Idanaha after a 75 mile ride over Santiago Pass. The traffic was unreal, a constant stream. It was so noisy with cars, trucks, semi’s constantly going by it was impossible to think. I am thankful that there were reasonably wide shoulders to ride on.
One of the interesting things that happened to all of us was having hallucinations. You look at the road ahead and you think, cool, the road is starting to go down, but when you drive on it you have to keep lowering your gears because it is so hard. All day long, every day it seems the road is going down but it is going up, or going up, and it is going down. I think it happens because we are looking at the road constantly, and we start to loose some perception. You can’t tell if the road is going up or down by looking, you tell by gravity. If it is hard, you are going up, and if it is easy you are going down.
Reminds me of Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The only way to know what is true is what God declares is true in the Bible. So many people have opinions, but they are only opinions, and probably wrong.
Very often on our bicycle trip of 3,200 miles down to the Grand Canyon, then up to Yellowstone, and then home, we are riding on roads with very little to no shoulder. In that case we ride right on top of the white line. The most important thing to remember is that cars, pickups, and big semi trucks pass relatively close, and we do not want to inadvertently swerve out into the traffic even a little bit. It requires that we pay attention and not have even a few seconds of mental lapse or it could very easily result in being hit by an motorhome driven by an old grandma. The constant noise of traffic passing us keeps us alert, and the very real consequence of drifting even a little bit keeps us on the straight and narrow, literally.
Hebrews 3:12 says, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away away from the living God.”
“Take care”, that means pay very close attention to yourself, your habits, your attitude so that you don’t drift away from God. I wonder how many people actually do this in any kind of pro-active way? Very few take this warning from God seriously. On the road on a bicycle we are inches from crisis and we know it, but in life we are “inches from crisis”, and we have no clue. So many people fall away from the living God, and it could have easily been prevented if there had been any “fear of drifting” away from God
We road 75 miles today, and tomorrow we are going to ride another 75 miles so we have ridden over 70 miles for the last 14 ride days, and 80 or more for 5 of those days with lots of uphill riding as Pader of it, and we are handling it quite well. Riding a bicycle for two months does get you in shape. We are in Redmond tonight, Idanha tomorrow night and then home!
I had a bee sting me on my upper lip a couple days ago, and today one hit the back collar of my coat and went down, and got me on the back. I stopped really fast and as Tom stopped behind me I yelled at him to quick smack me on the left shoulder and scratch hard, he did and tonight when I showered I shook out one dead bee from my shirt.
Probably the thing that is the greatest challenge for us most days is the wind. A head wind is worse than climbing a steep hill. Every night we check the weather report not to see if it is going to rain but to see what direction and speed the wind is going to blow. Today we had a relentless, all day long, strong head wind, so that we even had to pedal hard going downhill. One of the things we do to help is ride close behind each other, and rotate who rides in the front. We don’t go any faster, but we do get a break and a chance to use less energy for a while. While we are doing that we have to pay close attention so we don’t run into the person in front of us and cause them and possibly ourselves to crash.