LMH Articles

Where Is the Wisdom?

Linda M. Hill

(Published in Christian Woman magazine March/April 2012 edition)

When I was growing up everyone around me seemed to be a fount of wisdom.  Granted, part of that was because I was a kid, but mostly it was because there seemed to be a proverb for every occasion.  “The early bird gets the worm.”  “Two heads are better than one.”  “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”  “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”   I heard these all the time.

Of course, some were confusing:  “a miss is as good as a mile” and “fine words butter no parsnips.”  Others were a bit scary:  “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” and “dead men tell no tales.”  Many were quickly outdated:  “a penny saved is a penny earned” and “if God had meant us to fly he would have given us wings.”  And some – “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” and “life begins at 40” – were blatantly untrue!

Today, it is rare that I hear one of these instant answers to life’s problems.  I keep running into “cyberspeak” instead:  CUL8R (“see you later”), ROFL (“rolling on floor laughing”) and YGTBK (“you’ve got to be kidding”) - I really need a new dictionary. 

But where is the wisdom?

It is and always has been in God’s Word.  God’s wisdom never gets outdated.  He doesn’t have to revise it for new discoveries or changes in customs, nor does He have to be politically correct.  God’s wisdom is timeless.

God’s wisdom has also been proven over and over.  When the medical experts of the day were bloodletting – and often killing  their patients to rid them of evil vapors, God was telling His people that the life is in the blood.  When Egyptian doctors were adding dung to some of their best medicines, God instructed the wilderness wanderers to bury it far away from everyone.  And God’s “Don’t Touch” lists saved the Israelites from a deadly host of bacteria, a microorganism not discovered for another 2,000 years.

God’s wisdom is just as all-knowing and awesome in the 21st century as it was in Moses’ day.  As our creator He knows everything about us and has been generous in telling us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  That includes advice on how to be happy.

Today doctors tell us that happiness is good for us.  Laughter actually increases the oxygen in our blood, reduces stress and releases endorphins that make us feel great without the sweat of exercise.

Laughter also burns calories (a plus for any dieter!) and reduces the cortisol that suppresses our immune system.  So a good sense of humor may actually make us healthier and literally add years to our lives.  God knew this when He inspired King Solomon to write that a merry heart does good like medicine (Proverbs 17:22).

God also tells us that happiness and wisdom are closely related.  In Psalm 111:10 He says that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”   Then He continues in Proverbs 3:13 with “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”  As Christians we should be the happiest people in the world! 

God has promised that He will give wisdom, knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight (Ecclesiastes 2:26).  Wisdom.  Knowledge.  Joy.  That is truly a powerful combination and well worth the effort to attain it.

God has always known that happiness goes hand in hand with peace of mind, and He has written us a prescription for peace of mind in Philippians 4:8 that beats any pill:  “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”  If we follow His advice we can avoid the worry that disrupts our lives and get the sleep we need to wake in the morning with joy.

God also knows that happiness requires hope.  We will be happy if our trust and hope is in the Lord (Jeremiah 17:7).  We will be happy if we keep our hearts pure because then we will see God (Matthew 5:8).  We will be happy when we triumph over temptation because then we will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).  The hope of eternal life with our loving heavenly Father – there is no greater happiness than that.

God’s wisdom is far beyond any proverb, custom, scientific theory, or fad man might invent in the future.  His wisdom is absolute and unshakable.  When God gives advice we really ought to listen.

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Everyone Can Be a Missionary

Linda M. Hill

(Published in Christian Woman magazine January/February 2012 edition)

            I stepped very carefully as I followed my translator through the makeshift refugee village. Animals roamed freely in this densely populated town and a small creek of raw sewage wound through the dirt streets. We turned into an alleyway lined with small kiosks that sold everything from spools of thread to sun-dried fish that smelled worse than the sewage. After so many twists and turns I was hopelessly lost, but finally my translator stopped at our destination - a small, clapboard stall where a woman had expressed a desire for a Bible study.            
             It was 1983, and I was in Ghana, West Africa. This was my first campaign to a foreign country; my first occasion to not understand a single word being spoken around me; my first encounter with military checkpoints and government curfews; my first introduction to cholera epidemics and water rationing; my first view of extreme poverty and the affects of famine; and my first experience in being the only white face in a sea of black ones. But none of those firsts concerned me at the moment. This was also my first time to lead a Bible study and I was scared to death.
            The lady at the kiosk brought out some chairs and we pulled them into a circle in the only space available in that cramped alley, right in front of her tiny store. I took a couple of deep breaths in an attempt to calm my racing heart and then started. A lifetime - or perhaps only an hour - later the woman declined our invitation to become a Christian. But then I heard another voice and looked up.
            I had been so focused on the Bible study that I had not noticed a crowd gathering behind me.  Now I discovered a semicircle of at least 25 people standing there listening quietly. The voice had come from a young man who worked at the next little kiosk.  He spoke to my translator, telling her that he wished to be baptized but sadly, that he was on duty.  He could not leave the shop then, but asked that we return the following day when he would be off.  His name was James.
            The next morning my translator again led me through the maze of dirty streets to the market alleyway, but this time my husband, Jimmie, and his translator went with us.  I held my breath most of the way, not because of the smell this time but in nervous anticipation.  Would the young man from yesterday actually be there?        
            Not only was James there, but so was his brother.  James had taught him the gospel the night before, and they were both waiting with their towels to go to the water!  My husband sat down with them to be sure they understood the plan of salvation and the one true church while I continued on to another Bible study appointment farther down the alleyway.  So, I didn’t get to see them baptized - but I was absolutely thrilled just the same! 
            Originally, I had resisted the idea of this campaign, reluctantly joining only after repeated urgings from my husband.  I had prepared my lessons and boarded the plane to Ghana with a great deal of trepidation, feeling completely inadequate for the task.  Those fears had vanished in an instant.  Suddenly, I was a missionary.
The Need for Missionaries
            Today, the Lord’s church is truly in urgent need of more missionaries.  With the world’s population now exceeding 7 billion, the task of evangelizing it seems overwhelming.  Modern technology helps, but skyrocketing costs and scary world situations also mean that overseas travel gets more difficult.  It is not something everyone can do.
            But everyone can be a missionary.  After all, by definition a missionary is simply one who has been sent on a mission.  As Christians, Christ has sent every one of us on a mission to seek lost souls.  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15.  Some of those lost souls live next door.
Becoming a Missionary
            So what really makes one a missionary?  That gets more complicated, but it’s not mysterious.  There are three basic elements in every successful mission effort – planning, preparation, and perseverance.   A missionary must plan where and how she is going to work, must prepare whatever is needed to do that work effectively, and then must persevere with the work even through difficulties and discouragement. 
            Are there ways you can be a missionary no matter where you are?  Absolutely!

You can be a missionary in person.
·         Invite family and friends to your home congregation
·         Open your home for a Bible study or watching a Bible DVD.
·         Participate in door-knocking campaigns.
·         Keep a supply of salvation tracts handy and find opportunities to give them.

You can be a missionary by mail.
·         Insert a Bible correspondence course offer into bill payments.
·         Utilize Postage Paid envelopes to mail gospel tracts.  (Someone opens that junk mail!)
·         Add a signature to emails directing others to sound Bible teaching sites.

You can be a missionary on the Internet.
·         Create a blog or website to teach the gospel.
·         Link blogs, social networks and web pages to sound Bible teaching sites.
·         Volunteer as a Bible correspondence course teacher with International Bible Teaching Ministries.

You can be a missionary by the media.
·         Advertize a free Bible correspondence course.
·         Submit information about congregational special events for the community news.

This list of ideas is short, but the ways you can go into all the world is not. 
            In the years since my first foreign campaign many things have changed, but the joy of converting a lost soul is not one of them.  It’s a joy I hope every Christian will experience.


International Bible Teaching Ministries is a mission work of the churches of Christ.  It has a free, online Bible study program at http://www.ibtministries.org.  The lessons are written in simple English and use the New King James Version of the Scriptures.  Volunteer teachers assist assigned students from around the world by grading tests and answering questions via email.  For information visit the website or write info@ibtministries.org.

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Feeling New All Year Long
By Linda M. Hill

(Published in Christian Woman January/February 2011 edition)
Aren’t new things wonderful?  A new year, a new house, a new job, new friends – they are all filled with eager anticipation.  The “new feeling” promises a fresh start, a blank page so that this time we can keep our resolutions and do things differently.  The “new feeling” gives us hope for great things to come, but what happens when the new wears away?  When New Year’s Day has passed and the “new feeling” has too?
As Christians, we don’t have to wait for a special time or event to experience it.  Isn’t it exciting that we can get the “new feeling” anytime.  All we have to do is repent.
Repentance is one of those amazing blessing God provides for His children because He knows us and our nature so well.  When we stumble and fall – and we all do at times – God created a way for us to  pick ourselves back up and continue the race.  Solomon said, For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again . . .” (Proverbs 24:16). 
The Plan for Repentance:
·         Recognize that we have sinned against God.   For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (II Corinthians 7:10)
·         Confess our sins as privately or publicly as they are known.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)
·         Make things right with those people who have been hurt by our sins.  Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.(Matthew 5:23,24)
·         Determine to flee from this sin as we turn back to God.  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.(James 4:7)
·         Pray to our Heavenly Father who will forgive us.  Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”  (Acts 8:22)
Putting the Plan Into Action
It’s a marvelously simple plan  - as long as our sin is private.  But when we sin to the extent that others know or are hurt by it, suddenly this plan becomes the most difficult of God’s commands.  Why is that? 
Some of us get stuck in denial.  After all, no one likes being wrong and we may have a hard time admitting we have sinned, even to ourselves.  Sometimes we let pride get in the way; we certainly don’t want others to think badly of us.  Fear also may be a factor as well as we wonder how those affected by our sin will react. 
We can become so focused on our reputation that we forget the goal:  to be free from sin.  As a result we may contrive half-measures and hope others will take them as repentance.   “I’m sorry but . . .” or “If I offended anyone . . .” come across to those we have hurt as “I have an excuse – it’s not my fault” or “I’m not really sure if I sinned or not”.  Such face-saving tactics are not true repentance.  They will not make things right with those whom our sins have hurt,  which is what God demands we do. 
When Christ said, “first be reconciled to your brother” before offering gifts to God He was stressing its importance.  If we know we have wronged another and haven’t made it right, we cannot even worship properly!
Covering up sin is useless.  God knows everything we think, do and say so we are certainly not going to hide anything from Him.  If our sin has hurt others we can also be fairly sure that they know as well, so pretending it away is futile.  The only one we fool in denial is ourselves.  If we let pride or fear stand between us and true repentance then we are still in sin.  
Sin carries a fearsome price tag, but we can be free from it in an instant by following God’s plan of repentance.  Sincere and true repentance from a contrite heart will wipe away every stain and leave us new again.  What a wonderful feeling!

             By Linda M. Hill    

If  I lie in evasion . . .
If  I wreck another’s life . . .
If  I spin webs of gossip
Then create appalling strife . . .

If  I rage with sudden anger  . . .
If  I hold a petty grudge . . .
If  I jump to conclusions
Then become a hasty judge . . .

If  I hurt Christ’s dear kingdom . . .
If  I break a loving heart . . .
If  I dim some shining lights
Then pretend I had no part . . .

If  I conjure up excuses . . .
If  I cover up my sin . . .
If  I seek to slip beyond
Then I know that I offend.

If  is a little word, but
If  implies that I’m unsure.
If  deflects that evil “blame”
Then negates repentance’s cure.

If  I turn to make things right,
If  I wish to heal the riff,
If  I make apologies
Then I must not start with If.

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