Posts Tagged ‘understanding’

Knowledge is acquired information. Intelligence is the ability to use that information to your advantage. Wisdom is learning not to destroying yourself or others in the process.” – Anonymous

In Greek mythology, there are tales of a sacred spring located in the land of Pieria, a region of ancient Macedonia. According to the myth, drinking the Pierian Spring waters would impart great knowledge and inspiration. Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744), one of the great English poets of the eighteenth century, popularized the mythological spring in his 1711 poem entitled An Essay on Criticism,

“A little learning is a dang’rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again”

Pope was expounding upon the danger of shallow learning (or knowledge). Merely sipping on information can be intoxicating as it will make you feel like you know a great deal more than you really do. However, drinking deeply has a sobering effect as you become more and more aware of your own ignorance.

Socrates (469-399 B.C.) the classical Greek philosopher once said, The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Ponder that for a moment. Actually, the point here is very simple; we really don’t know very much. And that my dear friend is why we must keep learning.

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – George Bernard Shaw

Some say that ignorance is the only true path to contentment. According to them, the more you know, the more you realize how happy you were being clueless. Okay, who has not reminisced a time or two about the idyllic days of our youth? So what happened? We grew up. Slowly, as our knowledge increased, we entered the sometimes dark and painful days of adult life. Truthfully, ignorance is NOT bliss – especially when it is used as an excuse to falsely justify apathy. Real joy and peace of mind is seldom found in blithe stupidity.

And then there are those who emphasize spiritual knowledge while shunning intellectual learning. They see the secular and the sacred as somehow mutually exclusive. As a practicing Christian, my faith in God does not require me to abandon practical learning. In life, there are problems to be solved and pitfalls to be avoided. Everyday knowledge is useful – if not vital – while we live in the physical world. But remember, our hopes must never hang upon finite human achievement. No matter the zeniths of mankind’s knowledge, I will always place my absolute trust in the infinite wisdom of the Divine Spirit – the Creator of all things.

But what happens when mankind’s ever increasing empirical, academic and scientific knowledge leads to runaway human arrogance? Can an inability to recognize the inadequacies of our imperfect mortal achievements lead to many dangers and even destruction?

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) once said, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – but so is a lot.” You know what? I think he was right. In an age of “info-mania” with most of humanity swept up in the vortex of intellectual and technological advancement, an increasing dependency on human knowledge alone can be very dangerous indeed. The prospects of an unchecked knowledge explosion in the hands of people who may have questionable motives or little regard for moral boundaries and restraint is frightening.  While the pursuit of knowledge can yield many blessings, its misuse can become a curse.  Quoting Einstein once again, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”  He made this observation more than 60 years ago.  I can only imagine what his reflections would be if he were alive today.

Just look around. We live in a time of extraordinary achievements – the information age – modern marvels. Many of these advancements have improved our quality of life immensely. I am certainly not anti-progress. But, what has the knowledge explosion really cost our nation and the world? Traditions and morality continue to fall by the wayside. Our once cherished values are almost meaningless. Vanity is now celebrated as a virtue. Religion is trampled underfoot. Self-absorption is a doctrine and perversions of every kind are the new norms.

The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief” – Sigmund Freud

John Bertram Phillips (1906 – 1982) was an English Bible scholar, translator, author and clergyman, perhaps best known for his translation of the scriptures – The New Testament in Modern English. Dr. Phillips sheds some keen insight in his rendering of a passage in the New Testament book of Romans. Here, the apostolic writer Paul is addressing the Christian community living in ancient Rome:

3-8 “As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all.  (Romans 12:3)

Hmmm. A well-balanced assessment of who we are. The ancient Greeks had an aphorism (concise statement) that you may have heard – “know thyself.”  The only way to really know ourselves is to know the one who made us. Learn the truth about God – who he really is and what really happened to his creation – and you will begin to know and understand who you really are.

I once read that the first diamond found in South Africa was picked up off the ground by a farm boy who took it home for his sisters to play with. He had no idea what it was. To him it was just another pretty stone. I wonder how many people are just like that little boy.  A treasure more valuable than a priceless diamond is within their grasp. The wisdom and knowledge of the Almighty Creator of this present reality is hidden in the sacred texts of scripture. And yet, that knowledge is seen as worthless by some due to a lack of understanding.

12 “But though men can do all these things, they don’t know where to find wisdom and understanding. 13 They not only don’t know how to get it, but, in fact, it is not to be found among the mortals. – (Job 28:12-13).

You can of course, in your arrogance, reject every word I have written today. But that doesn’t change a thing. There isn’t an opt-out clause in the bible. You are and you always will be subject to the truth. If God is all knowing than his knowledge is perfect.  He is therefore absolute truth. For that reason, what He chooses to reveal to humanity is the truth for all of mankind.   However, if ignorance is your bliss, enjoy yourself. But remember, Truth always triumphs in the end. There will come a day of reckoning.

It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.” – John Locke

As a follower of the Liberator Jesus and a believer in the only wise God, the path before me is now certain. I have resigned the perfunctory practice of mere religion so that I can live my life in true freedom under God’s Amazing Grace. My knowledge grows with each passing day. His Divine Spirit enables me to see his principles and precepts in pure focus. His wisdom is now my goal; for it is by wisdom that I know how and when to apply the knowledge he has caused me to understand.

7“Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! And with your wisdom, develop common sense and good judgment (understanding).” (Proverbs 4:7)

May we pray? Almighty God, “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; Cause me to understand wherein I have erred” (Job 6:24) and please Lord, “Give me understanding, and I shall live” (Psalm 119:144) and help me to grow each day in wisdom even as I learn to walk in your ways. (Psalm 111:10). Amen

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
InsightToday, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  So is a lot.

– Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) –

Perhaps Albert Einstein was right. Some say that ignorance is bliss. The less you know, the less you are responsible for. And I suppose there is some truth to this philosophy. But stupidity an absolution does not make. Try telling a law enforcement officer that you did not know you were supposed to stop at that intersection. He or she might be sympathetic but most often their sympathy will be followed by this reminder, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

But Albert Einstein also suggests that possessing mass amounts of knowledge is also dangerous. Now this begs the question “is it possible to be too smart?” Can someone be “too clever for their own good?” And what does that mean?

Glad you asked. Too much knowledge can lead to overconfidence. Cockiness can harm you or at least work against you. Worse is when you believe that you know something you really don’t. That will get you in trouble. I suppose we have all met someone that we thought was just a bit “too big for his/her britches”. Don’t you fall prey to thinking more highly of yourself than you should. It has its own way of catching up with you.

John Bertram Phillips or, J. B. Phillips was an English Bible scholar, translator, author and clergyman. He is most noted for his version of The New Testament in Modern English. Dr. Phillips sheds keen insight on a passage in the New Testament book of Romans:

3-8 “As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all.  (Romans 12:3)

It seems so many could use a dose of the good doctor J.B. Phillips medicine these days. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is to develop a correct understanding of who God is, what he does for us and how he has uniquely gifted us. Having the right kind of knowledge is essential.

Knowledge is power. – Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) –

 

There is no disputing the fact that knowledge is power. But what happens when we have too much power? The historian and moralist John Lord Acton (1834–1902), expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

I am glad Lord Acton didn’t say great men are always bad. He did say ALMOST always. And if world history is any indication, he was right. Knowledge and its accompanying power have produced some very maniacal people. Only God can handle an absolute. Unrestricted power when held by one whom also possesses complete truth, justice, love, etc. (i.e. God) will work out just fine.

In the first official English edition of the Bible (the King James Version), Proverbs 24:5 is translated, A wise man is strong, a man of knowledge increases strength”.   In other words a wise man, because he is a man of knowledge, is a powerful man.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

– Socrates (469 – 399 BC) –

Ponder that. Actually, the point here is simple; we don’t know every answer to every question and there is so much that we still don’t understand. Only God is all knowing. He is absolute truth and His word is the truth revealed for mankind. When we humbly accept these facts, we are ready to learn and, we are on our way to true wisdom.

10 “The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.   All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom”. – (Psalm 110:10)

And the book of Job gives this insight:

20 “From where then does Wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? 28 …to man He said, behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord—that is Wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding”. (Job 28:20, 28 Amplified Bible)

Reverence means respect. It also means worship and devotion. In the bible, the word fear is often used to express reverence and devotion to God. True wisdom begins when we are in awe of the God who made us and then, because we hold Him in the highest regard, we obey the things he teaches us.

No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding.

– Plato (427 – 347 BC) –

So, having the right knowledge is essential because knowledge is power. Not our power; the power of God within us. Once you know that you really don’t know as much as you think you know and you turn to God in reverence – that is the beginning of wisdom. But you can’t progress from wisdom to true knowledge without understanding.

7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding”.  (Proverbs 4:7 NKJ)

You might be thinking, “Understanding of what?” How about the purposes of life or, of our relationship to God who is our Father? Not to mention all of the other divinely inspired principles found in the Bible. Get it? There is so much to understand.

I once read that the first diamond found in South Africa was picked up off the ground by a farm boy who took it home for his sisters to play with. He had no idea what it was. To him it was just another stone.

I wonder how many people are just like that little boy. Holding a treasure in their hands (God’s Word) yet not knowing its value due to a lack of understanding.

12 “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. (Job 28:12-13).

As believers we need to pursue understanding. We need to look at the Scriptures with an eye on understanding them and especially understanding how they apply to our lives. We must rise above a perfunctory practice of religion so that we can live a life of obedience to His perfect will. Remember, “In all your getting, get understanding

Let’s pray, Lord, “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; Cause me to understand wherein I have erred” (Job 6:24) and Lord, “Give me understanding, and I shall live” (Psalm 119:144).

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.

 

This may surprise you.

God is not interested in how much we can do for Him. I don’t remember when, but somewhere along the pathway of my years I became enlightened with this important truth.

Let me say it again: God is not interested in how much we can accomplish for Him. (Or about how much “stuff” we can cram into our day – but we’ll save that for another lesson)

Think about it, God created the world in 7 days with just a few words of his power. I hardly think “getting things done” is an issue for Him.

Watching some of my fellow Pilgrims, you’d never know this truth existed. If you ask me, their lives are way too full of activity. Listen, I fully comprehend how a schedule that is bursting at the seams with day-to-day undertakings can cause anxiety. However, it is amazing to me how some Christians can’t see the folly in being all “stressed out” and then claiming their stress is a result of doing the Lord’s work. What happened to:

3“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is kept on You, because he trusts in You”  Isaiah 26:3 New Life Version

Busier is NOT necessarily better. Doing lots of Good things is not the same as doing your GOD thing.

So what have I learned?

God wants two things from me:

  1. Do only what He asks.
  2. And do it only when He wants it done.

The rest of the time I am free to Love Him, to love others and to learn to love myself (remember, we cannot love others if we do not love ourselves). As a result, I am able to live more fully in His Joy and I am at liberty to exist as the unique vessel that the master potter is sculpting.

Do you know what God wants the most from you?

YOU!

Get it? Just as you are, God wants you.

Life with Him is a partnership and a journey. “In Him”, we fulfill His purposes through our lives.

I would like to issue a challenge.

I challenge you to embrace who you are in Christ. (Forget anyone else.)

I challenge you to do all the “peculiar” stuff that defines you. (By the way, peculiar is synonymous with weird! Ha-ha.)

I challenge you to be true to yourself and to stop listening to the voices coming from the world around you claiming to know what is “right” for you!

And, I challenge you to trust that little voice inside of you (the voice of your spirit) that ever whispers to your soul. You are filled with the Holy Spirit of God Himself. He will show you everything (including what is right for you). If you need to make changes – He will let you know. And remember, His teaching voice is calm, life giving and encouraging.

Are you up for the challenge?  I hope so.

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.

 

7-8a “Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen”. – 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a – J.B. Phillips New Testament –

I think I’m in Love.

Really!

I LOVE everything I have learned about unconditional (divine, agape) love.

  • LOVE has no limit to what it can endure.
  • LOVE has a never ending capacity to TRUST.
  • LOVE has HOPE that never becomes hopeless.
  • LOVE will stare you down and outlast every attack.

Unconditional LOVE cannot and will not fail.

Did you hear me?

Unconditional love never fails. It never heads off to the divorce court (Human lust and fleeting infatuations do), it never cheats on the object of its affection, and it can withstand the abuse of those who in their ignorance often hurt us so deeply with their fiery darts (words and deeds).

When everything in your life is crumbling into rubble at your feet, unconditional LOVE will still be standing with you. In fact, it’s the only thing that will stand the test of time.

8b “For if there are prophecies they will be fulfilled and done with, if there are “tongues” the need for them will disappear, if there is knowledge it will be swallowed up in truth. For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete, and when the complete comes, that is the end of the incomplete. 11 When I was a little child I talked and felt and thought like a little child. Now that I am a man my childish speech and feeling and thought have no further significance for me. 12 At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God now knows me! 13 In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love”.  1 Corinthians 13:8b-13 – J.B. Phillips New Testament –

Stay with me now and we’ll digest these verses together:

  • Prophecies will end in their ultimate fulfillment
  • Tongues will become unnecessary, and
  • Our finite human knowledge will be absorbed by THE truth

THE truth?

Yes. THE TRUTH. Jesus said I am the Way, THE TRUTH and the Life. The sum total of all human knowledge (i.e.: what we believe to be “true”) is incomplete. Jesus is our completion. And if we are complete in him, when he returns, the age of incomplete will end.

It’s time for us to grow up. Put the childish ways behind us (unless you would rather continue to live in childish insignificance). We may only see things as splintered and puzzling reflections at the moment. Our grasp of the truth is often fractional – at best. But the time is closer now than ever to when we will know God as fully as He already knows us!

Faith is important. Hope is essential. Both pale next to the awesome, divine power of Unconditional LOVE!

More Love. More Power. More of the spirit and nature of God in my life.

What more can I say?

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
and the founder of Living faith Christian Fellowship, Inc. 
The intellectual property published above is © 1995 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.
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