Topical Studies

7 Pillars of Wisdom to Build Your Life Upon

Proverbs gives us practical advice and life-principles that show us how to live wisely in the fear of God. The book personifies wisdom as a woman who calls out to the naïve and simple, and in Proverbs 9:1 we find this intriguing statement: “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars.”

Why seven? Is this a random number, or is there a reason Solomon chose to mention the number seven? We know God loves numbers; He also loves a good mystery. It would be helpful if we could find a list of these “seven pillars” but unfortunately, God chose not to make it that easy. 

God does talk a lot about wisdom in Scripture, and several passages help us discover what these seven pillars might be. There are other possibilities; this is just one practical application, taken from God’s Word, that helps us build a house of wisdom.

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Are Christians Really "Once Saved, Always Saved"?

It's one of the biggest questions that Christians can face, and as such there are generations of arguments, research and books on the topic. When someone becomes a Christian, are they set for life - no matter what? And if so, what are we to do with people who leave or fade out of the faith?

Who Wrote Revelation?

Revelation is the last book in the Bible, and often, the last book people want to pick up and read. It's filled with mind-boggling imagery that can be frightening or hard to comprehend. But just who was the author behind this book? And once we establish that, can we parse out some of the meaning behind Revelation, to make it less intimidating?

Who Was James, Jesus' Brother?

Jesus came from a big family. Matthew 13:55-56 names Jesus’ brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas and mentions sisters (plural), so He had at least six siblings.

James is always named first when Jesus’ brothers are listed, which in his day likely meant that he was the eldest of the four. Known as James the Just and Old Camel Knees, James led the church at Jerusalem until his violent death in AD 62.

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5 Signs You May Be Controlled by a Spirit of Fear

You might feel terror when faced with a deadly threat. You may feel anxious about getting on stage to speak. These are natural feelings.

But you also might be controlled by a spirit of fear.

The term “spirit of fear” comes from 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (KJV). 

Sometimes, this fear can be difficult to recognize, and might manifest in different ways than one might expect. Below, we’ll explore five signs that you might be suffering under a spirit of fear.

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The Beautiful Context and Promise of Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I Know the Plans I Have for You"

God’s Word is full of wisdom and encouragement that guide Christians through life. Memorizing Scripture can serve as a powerful weapon against temptation, despair, and worldliness. However, learning verses in isolation, without context, can lead to misunderstanding and misapplying the virtues and lessons that God wants His people to possess and learn.

One important verse that Christians often quote is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This is a message of hope and a promise of a good future that is easy to cling to and repeat. But knowing the full context of the verse is quite interesting, and reveals the enormous scope of God’s will for mankind.

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5 Essential Reasons to Practice Sabbath

Sabbath once was a sacred and protected sacrament. A sabbath is defined as a day of religious observance and abstinence from work. Recently, my kids and I listened to “Farmer Boy” by Laura Ingels Wilder and were amazed by the strict description of how Sunday sabbath was observed during this time. Families spend the day enforcing no playing, talking, or doing much of anything. This level of strict observance of a Sabbath is hard to imagine in our modern world, where life keeps going at full speed 24/7.

Thankfully, we’ve embraced a more grace-filled approach to our seventh day of the week. This begs the question, “Is the concept of Sabbath still applicable to our modern lives?” Are there consequences for pushing ourselves to be “productive” seven days out of the week? Does going harder really mean we accomplish more? Should we protect sabbath as a part of our routine?  What do we gain when we schedule strategic pauses in our lives?

These are important and practical questions for every believer, as we now live in a culture that is obsessed with optimizing our time and productivity.

The fact is how we use our time has real consequences. Time is a finite commodity in our lives.

Intentional decisions about how we use our days is an important part of wise-living. We see this truth simply put in Psalm 90:12 which says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

God has real reasons for instructing and modeling for us the practice of taking a Sabbath that we would be wise to pay attention to. He created us with real limits and a real need for Him. Sabbath is just one way that we are reminded that God is our provider.

Time and time again, we see that in His economy, He does more with our obedience—even if in many ways that means we are doing less than others. When we follow God’s commands, he multiplies our time and resources. Let's look at six reasons Sabbath is essential:

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Is There a Deeper Biblical Meaning to My Nightmares?

In times of great stress and anxiety, many of us experience nightmares, and can wonder just what is going on. Is there a deeper meaning to these bad dreams, or is it just our body's natural response to stress? Let's take a look at Scripture and some other people in the Bible who had nightmares.

6 Reasons Why Trusting God Helps You Sleep Better

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Payne once said. These are also the times that can steal your sleep and stress you out.

If you’ve been laid off, had to close a business, lost a loved one, or are just trying to stay afloat financially or emotionally in a world that seems to be crashing through ‘new normals’ that are hard to handle—you might be finding it difficult to sleep.

Yet these are the times you can sleep better than you ever have as you trust God wholeheartedly to provide.

Yes, God wants us to be productive and to have a good work ethic. He tells us in His Word that we are not to be people who are lazy and won’t put in a good day’s work (Proverbs 6:9-11). But if you haven’t been able to work (or sleep) due to circumstances beyond your control (or anyone’s control), you have a God who comes through for you even as you sleep.

God’s Word says in the Psalms that we are wasting our time getting up before the crack of dawn and going to sleep past midnight, toiling and striving to make things happen because the God of the Universe “gives to His beloved even in his sleep” (Psalm 127:2, NASB).

The next time you can’t sleep because you think you have to work through (or worry through) the night, remember that God has a way of working it out if you just rest in Him...literally.

God commands us to rest. And by trusting Him to provide, we are not only being obedient, but we can keep our bodies healthy and refreshed by getting a good night’s sleep.

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How Do "the Heavens Declare the Glory of God"?

Psalm 19 is one of my favorite Psalms to read, pray, and meditate on. It is full of striking truth and beautiful praises to the Lord. The words of this passage captivate and comfort its readers. The very first verse in Psalm 19 takes our attention.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

This verse is profound, indeed, but what exactly does it mean? King David wrote the powerful words found in this chapter; it contains words that cause our minds to wonder and our hearts to consider what we really come to know about God from this Psalm.

When David wrote the beginning of this Psalm, I can imagine him looking around, admiring the grandiosity of nature – the clear blue sky, the array of colors, and the vast night sky filled with hundreds and hundreds of glistening stars. What David meant in this verse is that the creation of God, the beauty and awe of nature, shows us the work of God and the existence of God. Nature unashamedly proclaims that God is real and He is our Creator.

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3 Simple Ways to Ask God to Transform Your Heart

God always loves to hear from us. Even a short prayer can be a wonderful way for us to reconnect with him and focus our hearts. But sometimes, even when we ask God for things, His answer may be "no." But there is one thing he will never say no to, and that is when we pray for our own hearts. Here are three things you can pray for God to do to your heart.

How Can We Have Peace in the Midst of Coronavirus Chaos?

It’s times like these that our faith is put to the test. We are forced to practice what we preach or throw up our hands and join the complaining, the doomsday talking, the fear, the chaos. What if we could walk through this difficult struggle with peace? 

There is a way.

But it’s not easy. The reality we face is tough. Parents are forced to make tough decisions about working hours and schooling children. The peer pressure to keep kids stimulated and educated is hot and heavy. The countless daytime schedules circulating social media is overwhelming. The grocery stores can’t keep up with the demand – and some are stockpiling everything they can think of, just in case. This leaves many without. We are living in a situation we’ve never found ourselves in before. The challenges are bigger than we know how to handle. 

But there is one thing we can do. 

Photo credit: Unsplash/Ümit Bulut

Yearning for Peace: The Human Heart and Memorial Day

One day, as the prophet Isaiah wrote, men will "beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, [and] neither shall they learn war anymore." Until then, however, we honor those who fought our wars and sacrificed for a peace—transitory though it is—that is also a precious reflection of the peace which is to come.

Does Jesus Tell the Rich Young Ruler Only the Poor Can Be Saved?

What exactly is Jesus saying to this young man? The Bible teaches “blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), but do we have to be financially poor as well? Surely if this man wanted to follow Jesus, he could do so wealthy or poor, right? Let’s take a closer look at what Jesus means.

Is "Pride Goes before the Fall" in the Bible?

Chances are you’ve heard someone say, “pride goes before the fall.” But what exactly does that mean? And where did the phrase come from?

As it turns out, the phrase originates in the Bible, from Proverbs 16:18, which says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before the fall.”

The popular expression is somewhat different than the verse, but they carry the same basic message: pride is dangerous. But why? What was the Biblical author trying to tell us? 

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What Does Jesus Mean by "Blessed Are the Meek" in Matthew 5:5?

The Beatitudes are radical and difficult to apply to our lives. God never promised that following Jesus would be easy, but we are assured a full life and an eternal inheritance when we pursue Christ. Like anything worth pursuing, meekness will cost us. But as we work for the glory of the Lord, He grows and matures our hearts.

Is Cursing Really That Big of a Sin?

We all will justify our words when it comes to cursing, cussing, speaking profanity, letting zingers go, whatever it is you call the use of words when we are angry, sad, trying to be funny, or just speaking in regular conversation.

However, what seems like inconsequential words are actually sins, creating gateways for further, more dangerous sins to be committed. From Jesus to the apostles to Moses, cursing is conveyed in the Scriptures as a big deal to God and an indicator of a carnal-minded person.

But how big of a sin is cursing?

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