Monday, August 3, 2015

Being Smart

Good morning,

I have dear friends who refer to me jokingly as "Dr. Hood", which is "redonkulous" (to quote Shrek), because I have not earned a doctoral degree, nor (lol!) have I been bestowed an honorary one.  I guess these friends have conferred that honorary degree status on me ... makes me shake my head (smh) in amusement.

At any rate, what does it mean to be smart?  Some of you know that my part-time employment, now that I'm "semi-retired", involves delivering staff development to K-12 teachers in the area of gifted education.  Did you know that there is no accepted, agreed-upon definition of "gifted"?  There is a federal definition, but the 50 states are not obliged to accept it.  Furthermore, in American public education, there are only 4 states that mandate and fully-fund gifted education for the identified children in their states.

To further muddy the waters, no secular definitions of "smart" make any reference to God at all.  In fact, the opposite is often true.  Children are often taught, in high school, that belief in God is "ignorant" - - - that a person cannot be an intellectual and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior.  Even children from "Christian families" are not immune.  When they hear these lies from their teachers and their peers who come from non-Christian families agree, the pressure is enormous to slough off their Christian upbringing and forsake their faith.  The situation has become so hostile to Christianity that many Christian parents have made the decision to remove their children from the public schools.

Yesterday, though, a beam of bright light appeared to encourage me about this ever-darkening situation.  Yesterday, I was reminded that God is still present in the public schools, at least in those in my community.  My church partners with a middle school near our church campus.  The school's principal invited the staff and our church outreach team to join together for a prayer walk through the school last night, before the students arrived this morning for the first day of school.  It was encouraging to unite in prayer with several staff members last evening.  Our church will continue to minister to the faculty, staff and students of this anointed school throughout the school year.  What a blessing!

In 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (NKJV), the apostle Paul is teaching the Corinthians the difference between being wise and being foolish.

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Have you ever argued with an avowed agnostic or atheist?  It is very difficult to convince him.  It is as if they have been blinded by the satanic lies they've embraced.  Unfortunately, they think the same of us who believe the gospel.  But, look at what the Bible says:  to those who are in the process of eternally perishing/dying, the message of Jesus Christ and His gospel of the cross sound like foolishness.  On the converse, to those of us who are being saved (vs. 18), walking the Christian walk after our conversion, the gospel is the very essence of the power of God.  We SEE its power.  We have experienced its transformative effects.  Those of us who belong to Christ understand the meaning of true wisdom.

In the Christian worldview, all wisdom and knowledge come from God the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  His Holy Spirit teaches us all things that God would have us to know about the mysteries of life, and how to live in this present age, as well as how to prepare for an eternity with our Triune God.  We believe and affirm that this is what it means to "be smart".  True giftedness comes from God, our Creator, who forms us in our mother's womb with our own genetic code: that beautiful package of abilities custom-tailored to each of us.  Then, when we encounter Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Master, He through the Holy Spirit endows us with spiritual gifts - - - gifts that go beyond what we received at our physical conception.  When we begin with this foundational understanding of giftedness, we can move on in Jesus Christ to become the people He created us to be.  We can, by imitating Jesus Christ, grow deeper "in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and all the people" (Luke 2:52).

Heavenly Father, reveal to us eternal truths from Your Word, so that we may be equipped with the gifts necessary to demonstrate the beautiful, liberating Truth of your Son's gospel to this lost, dying world.  In Jesus' name, amen.

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