About jculler1972

My husband is the retired pastor of St. Paul's Free Lutheran Church in Leitersburg, Maryland. I have two grown daughters, three grandchildren and am retired after a career in Purchasing. I have published articles in The Lutheran Ambassador, Lutheran Witness, and Lutheran Digest. My Bible study on the Book of Acts was published in 2016 by the Women's Missionary Federation of the AFLC(Association of Free Lutheran Churches).

Wisdom and Patience

According to the Bible, patience is another quality associated with wisdom. The book of Proverbs tells us:

“A person’s wisdom yields patience;
    it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11

Reacting quickly usually means reacting badly–probably because our default setting is sin. It’s not easy to overlook an offense. Our first impulse is to strike back or defend ourselves. We speak in anger and without understanding (another key element of wisdom) We may say hurtful things that we don’t really mean. Where does this leave us? In a state of pain and conflict. On the other hand, when we are patient, take our time, think things over, it is easier to listen and forgive. We may even come to the conclusion that we also need forgiveness!

Sometimes we’re impatient, not because we’re angry but because we’re anxious. We’re in a difficult situation and we want things to change. We begin to doubt God’s plan. This is not wise either, because:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 1:7

Fear here does not really mean to be afraid, but to give God the proper honor and respect due to Him. It means to be humble because God knows best. We can trust Him and can rest in the knowledge that He will work all things out for our good.

St. Augustine said that “patience is the companion of wisdom.” It leads to peace. Peace with God, with ourselves and with others. Isn’t that the wisest way to live?

For more about patience see these posts:

Waiting Requires Patience

Have Patience

Patiently Waiting?

Luke: Stories of Mission and Mercy by David Murray–Book Review

Each of these 50 devotions by Pastor David Murray provides a chance to hear God’s story as written in the Scriptures and then respond, imagining how His story might change your story and the story of others. As part of a series — StoryChanger Devotionals–this volume leads the reader through the book of Luke chronologically.

Well written and Biblical, the readings are short, but meaty. At the end of each one there is a summary, a reflection question and a prayer, which may lead you into journaling or further contemplation of the text. I particularly enjoyed taking a fresh look at many of the parables of Jesus.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. A great resource for individual study. I look forward to trying others in this series.

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

https://www.crossway.org/books/luke-tpb-4/

For more book reviews see these posts:

Bold: Moving Forward in Faith not Fear by Sean Feucht–Book Review

From Strength to Strength by Arthur C. Brooks–Book Review

Where the Children Take Us by Zain E. Asher–Book Review

Charles Spurgeon on Wisdom

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”

Charles Spurgeon

For more quotes by Charles Spurgeon see these posts:

Christ’s sacrifice condemns sin – Charles Spurgeon

Waiting is Good for You!

How Did He Know?

Wise Investments

I recently read about a study which set out to determine what Americans spend the most time thinking about. You may be surprised (or not) to learn that for 25%, the topic that occupies the mind most frequently is money. Worldly wisdom teaches us that the more money we accumulate, the more secure we will be. Naturally money (and the 2nd most fascinating topic–work) is where we invest our time, talent and treasure. The Bible tells a different story is some of the parables.

Remember the rich farmer in the 12th chapter of Luke? His farm produced some much grain that he decided to build more barns for storing it. He was going to make merry for years on his profit. Unfortunately, he died before he got to enjoy his riches. He was not wise, but foolish.

Later in the same chapter, we read the story of the servants who spent their time keeping the home of the master ready for his arrival. Nobody was there to keep them from getting drunk, fighting, or simply loafing about. They chose wisely by spending their time being faithful.

In Matthew, Chapter 13, we find the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value. In both cases, a man sells all that he has to gain these things, which Jesus likens to the kingdom of heaven. What a wise investment!

The message is clear. Make a wise choice. Invest in the things that are eternal–the things of God.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

For more posts about the parables see:

Looking for Lost Lambs

Birds of the Air by S.E.M. Ishida

Using our Talents

To Love and Be Loved by Jim Towey–Book Review

Subtitled A Personal Portrait of Mother Teresa, this book is also the story of Jim Towey’s own spiritual journey. Towey met Mother Teresa in the 1980’s when he was working as a congressional staff member and a lawyer. Through her influence, he began volunteer at the Missionaries of Charity soup kitchen in Washington D.C. Over the years, he traveled with Mother Teresa, arranged meetings with politicians and donors, and provided pro bono legal work for her organization. Through his volunteer work as the Missionaries of Charity AIDS home, he met his future wife, Mary. The entire family considered Mother a family friend and trusted spiritual mentor.

When he first met Mother Teresa in the 1980’s Towey says:

“Nearly all my activities were dedicated to my professional and social advancement–those not dedicated to my own pleasure, of course…I looked around the chapel and saw people my age …who had come to India to serve others… and there I was, seated among them as a spectator. I was the gatherer incarnate.”

By the time Mother dies in 1997, he has changed:

“… I have become a better person, a better Christian, a better version of myself. I am a giver, not a gatherer,”

His association with Mother shaped his spiritual life in a profound way.

This book is, indeed, a personal glimpse of Teresa of Calcutta, not as a saint, but as a very human friend and mentor–something we can all aspire to be.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. An inspiring and enjoyable read!

For more spiritual autobiographies see these posts:

The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan — Book Review

In My Grandmother’s House by Yolanda Pierce–Book Review

Fish Out of Water by Eric Metaxas–Book Review

Wisdom & Humility #3

I posted earlier about the connection between wisdom and humility. In order to be wise, we must practice becoming humble. Here’s some advice from Mother Teresa about how to do that:

  1. Speak as little as possible of oneself
  2. Mind one’s own business
  3. Don’t try to manage the affairs of others
  4. Avoid curiosity (this is a difficult one for me!)
  5. Accept contradiction and correction cheerfully (another hard one)
  6. Pass over the mistakes of others
  7. Accept insults and injuries
  8. Accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked
  9. Don’t seek to be specially loved and admired
  10. Be kind and gentle even under provocation (oh my!)
  11. Never stand on one’s dignity
  12. Yield in discussion even though one is right
  13. Choose always the hardest

These are not Mother Teresa’s own words, but come from a book she loved, This Tremendous Love (1946) by Dom Eugene Boylan. The only original line is the last, “choose always the hardest.” These words are the lynch pin of the spiritual formation she taught to the sisters of her order, the Missionaries of Charity.

“If you are humble, nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.” Mother Teresa

For more about humility see these posts:

Litany of Humility

The Gift of Humility

It’s Hard to be Humble!

Far Flutterby by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

Far Flutterby is the story of Cody the Caterpillar and his metamorphosis into a butterfly. Bored with his existence in the town of Better-Than-Brown, he is assured by Beulah Lee Bird that God has a good plan for him. He is meant to fly to the land of Far Flutterby, but he must have faith.

Bouncy, rhyming dialog is accompanied by illustrations, which are not exceptional in my opinion. Cody’s world changes change from monotones to bright and vivid colors as he undergoes his transformation into a butterfly.

The Christian message is a bit ambiguous. God has a plan for us, and struggle will get us there… but what does that mean? All I can see in this story is the implication that things will be more exciting, and we will be happier. Young children aged four to seven, will not be able to grasp the allegory which is pretty slim at best.

VERDICT: 2 STARS. I was not impressed.

For more reviews of books for children see:

This Little Light of Mine by Kathleen Long Bostrom

The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

Gracie’s Garden by Lara Casey — Book Review

Thomas a Kempis on Wisdom

” The highest and most profitable learning is the knowledge of ourselves. To have a low opinion of our own merits, and to think highly of others, is an evidence of wisdom.”

Thomas a Kempis

For more Thomas a Kempis quotes see these posts:

Thomas A Kempis on Waiting

Thomas a Kempis on Union with Christ

Examination of Conscience, Again

Beneath the Bending Skies by Jane Kirkpatrick–Book Review

Beneath the Bending Skies is a novel based upon the life of Mary Sheehan Ronan, originally told in Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan, published by the Montana Historical Society. It is a realistic glimpse into life in the old west.

Mary (who goes by Mollie) led an interesting life which included many moves (you will be reminded of the Little House books), along with tragedy, tribulation, and joy. Her mother dies when she is quite young, and through the example of her stepmother, Ma Anne, she learns that women must be “agile” by adapting to changing circumstances and putting their trust and faith in God. She is able to maintain an optimistic attitude, believing that:

“We will have to listen for God’s guidance…. Something will come up. There are always new possibilities.”

This is wise advice for all of us, and a message I needed to hear right now.

By the end of the story, Mollie and her husband have settled at the Flathead Reservation in the Mission Valley of Western Montana, where Peter is the government agent. The agency becomes known as a welcoming place and attracts many visitors (including the wife of Lt. Col. George Custer). Mollie develops her gift for hospitality and “neighboring” and Peter works for justice for the Indian tribes among whom they live.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. A light but engaging historical read.

For more reviews of novels see:

The Italian Ballerina by Kristy Cambron–Book Review

white picket fences by Susan Meissner–Book Review

until Leaves fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin–Book Review

Wisdom and Understanding

Earlier this month I posted about the link between wisdom and humility; another quality that the Bible often mentions in connection with wisdom is understanding. Here are some examples:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” Psalm 111:10

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” Colossians 1:9

“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2

“Wisdom is with the aged and understanding in length of days.” Job 12:12

Understanding implies not just intelligence, or knowledge, but the ability to apply what is known. Definitions include:

*Skill in dealing with a particular thing

*A superior power of discernment

*Enlightened intelligence

Understanding requires thoughtful consideration. It takes time. On the other hand, the book of Proverbs tells us:

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:2

There’s a lot of that behavior going around lately, and social media seems to encourage it.

So, if you want to be wise, seek understanding. Listen carefully. Examine the logic in the opinions you hear. Ask questions. Be open to other opinions but let the fear of God inform your decisions. Practice discernment. Apply what you know to be true (because you have studied the Bible) to your own life. If you do these things, you will not only be wise, but you will also make the world a better place.

“”Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

For more posts about wisdom see:

Wisdom and Humility

Wisdom and God’s Law

Be Wise