July 8

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

You should beware of two extremes.  One is becoming arrogant about your wisdom and plans.  The other is becoming depressed when things go wrong.  God forgives and even blesses the mistakes of faithful people.  In my ignorance, I often made the biggest mistakes and did the most foolish things when I was sincerely trying to help people and give them good advice.  When I made these mistakes, I prayed fervently to God, asking him to forgive me and correct what I had done.  Important and faithful leaders often cause great harm through their advice and actions.  If God didn’t have mercy on them and didn’t straighten everything out, the world would be in a terrible mess.

All of us make mistakes.  We consider ourselves wise and knowledgeable.  Yet in our sincere desire to help we can end up causing a lot of damage.  If God in his wisdom and compassion didn’t correct our mistakes, we would make a mess out of our lives.  We are like the farmer whose horses had trouble moving a heavy load.  Thinking the wheels on the wagon were too wide, he sharpened them.  This only made the load sink so deep into the mud that the wagon couldn’t be moved at all.

Does that mean that people should do nothing and just run away from all their responsibilities?  Not at all.  You should faithfully do the job that God has given you to do.  Don’t rely on your own wisdom and strength, and don’t pretend to be so smart and important that everything has to be done your way.  Don’t be ashamed to get on your knees and pray, “Dear God, you gave me this job.  Please teach and guide me.  Give me the knowledge, wisdom, and strength to perform my duties tirelessly and well.”

Martin Luther’s Here I Stand (Audio CD)

In the late afternoon of April 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world. In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms; Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.

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