Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom’

Get Smart!

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Ninth Sunday After Trinity-HL, July 24th, 2016
Rev. Brian Henderson-Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, and
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

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“And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”  [Luke 16:9]

Many people tend to be shocked and even confused by the parable of the unfaithful steward.  The story is about a man who was wasting his employer’s goods, and when he got caught and given his termination notice, he was smart enough to make his unemployed life better.  And how did he do this?  By wasting even more of his employer’s goods and then dragging other debtors down with him by cooking the books and then ultimately hearing his employer say that he had acted wisely.

So wait… is Jesus actually asking us to be like this?  Well no not really, but in a way… yes!  You see…

In order to understand this parable, we need to first understand that not all of Jesus parables are alike.

Some of Jesus’ parables teach us to “go and do likewise,” or to copy the example we are given, as in the case of the Good Samaritan or the tax collector who humbled himself in the temple by confessing his sinfulness.  But Jesus does not always use this type of teaching within His parables.  You see, Jesus finds the illustrations for His stories in everyday life and then He sketches everyday people exactly as they are within His stories.  Think of the man who found a treasure in the field of another person and then acted deceptively in order to secure both the field and the treasure for himself.  And then, there’s the parable of the persistent widow and the judge who loved neither God nor man.

What we should remember is that Jesus uses these examples of everyday people from a sinful fallen world of His day, to illuminate something that should also take place in the lives of Christians as they seek to further the spreading of God’s kingdom through the proclamation of the Gospel. So Jesus is saying that it’s not a matter of acting like these characters, but of grasping the motivation behind the action, and then applying that wisdom to our own lives and our relationship with God.

In this instance Jesus praises the man because he had acted wisely.  So where was his wisdom?

The man knew that he had no way of escape.  He had no illusions.  He knew that he was going to be fired, and then become unemployed and homeless.  And because of this reality he was certain what he needed to do to ensure his security.

But people who confess to be Christians sometimes do just the opposite.  They know that this broken world is not all that there is; they know that something eternal and supremely greater follows this sinful existence.  Yet they harbor the illusion that some things aren’t  really as big of a deal as God’s Word and the preacher make them out to be, and in the end, they tell themselves that everything will be ok.  And so they procrastinate.  They put off dealing with the eternal consequences that come with persistently ignoring God’s warning.  They continue to live a sinful life that they know will put their own salvation in jeopardy.  They refuse to acknowledge that in regards to their salvation it is a matter of dead seriousness and that one day soon, they will stand before God’s judgment in everything.  And so the wisdom found in our Epistle lesson becomes a dreadful warning: “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” [1 Corinthians 10:12]

Dear friends, it is God’s desire that true Wisdom, which comes through Christ alone would dwell in you the baptized richly.  For you see, this is the only way that we can make sense of this parable.  In verse 9, Jesus gives us the key to this wisdom when He says, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth.”  What is this unrighteous wealth?

The unrighteous wealth is any thing of value that we acquire in this sinful world.  And that includes all of your time, talent, and treasures.  Treasures includes all of your money and worldly possessions.  Here God’s wisdom alone allows us to see things here in our lives as He sees them, as they really are.  Here, God’s wisdom is teaching us that it is useless for us to claim the eternal life of a baptized child of God, if we are still trying to hide, horde, or exclude some of our stuff from His control and use. You see, there is no room for compromise; you cannot be both a friend of God and of the world.  You can’t serve two masters; you just can’t!  It will be a futile exercise if you try to withhold some of your worldly possessions from the sight and knowledge of God.  This kind of thinking and action, will only lead to the loss of your eternal, true life along with all of the treasures that you never really were able to keep any how.  In another parable that Jesus told, this type of person is called “You fool!”

A fool is someone who will not receive the LORD as their lamp in the darkness of this sinful world.   You can’t receive this kind of wisdom through any course of study or the granting of a degree from some ivory tower university.  This kind of wisdom comes only from God and only through experience, the experience of knowing and trusting in His Word.

In His Word and in the experiences of your life, God proves Himself to be true and perfect.  “This God—His way is perfect; the Word of the LORD proves true (as you live your life trusting in the promises of His Word and the presence of His Spirit in all aspects of your life).  He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” [2 Samuel 22:31]

So in order to correctly understand Jesus’ parable today, we must concentrate on one point, and that is the illustration of the dishonest or unrighteous manager or steward. This man, as Jesus portrays him, is only one of the uncountable number of sinful people who have come and gone in this sinful world.  We could say that he is typical of everyone who does not know or care to know their true Master, Creator, and Savior. So within His parable, Jesus is holding up this man before our eyes today, and He wants us, the baptized Christians to see what a completed unrighteous person looks like; He wants us to see in this man his complete confidence in the resources of this sinful world, and then He wants to inspire us to do the complete opposite with those same worldly goods.

When Jesus opens our eyes to see this necessity, He has then helped us to see our own fully developed righteousness, or an opposite mindset that sees all treasures of this world as being simply a means to help build and further the Kingdom of God within a fallen and sinful world. He opens our eyes to understand that…

That which is wise and right before God often looks like foolishness to the world.

To live in order to serve; to know that one is simply a steward who does not have any real ownership over stuff; to risk persecution and ridicule; to dare to trust in God in all danger, and at last choosing to suffer martyrdom rather than being unfaithful to God—all this friends seems like foolishness to the world.  But really this way of thinking and living implies wisdom, realism, and a true sense of right and wrong, “For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off, when God takes away his life?” [Job 27:8]

This morning, Jesus says to us, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”  Jesus has now shown us how the people of this sinful world use their time, talent and treasure to make friends and even greater security for themselves.  And now, He orders us to do the same thing but to make our use of these things to do the very opposite.

Let’s recap what Jesus is really saying:  The unrighteous or unsaved people of this world are stewards or managers, and we are too; they are entrusted with property and assets—so are we; the things the unsaved collect and use are really unrighteous and meaningless to God and His offer of salvation—and so are the things we have; the unsaved world makes friends with their stuff—and so should we; the lives of the unsaved comes to and end, and so do our lives.

You see friends, Jesus is allowing us to see that our lives run in a parallel with the unsaved of this world, that is, until in a flash, both the lives of the unsaved and the saved meet very different ends.  It is at the time of death that these parallel lives are no longer parallel, but suddenly they go in completely different directions.

And it all hinges on the friends that they made.

The lives of the saved, of the good and righteous stewards burst off into eternal dwellings; into a place prepared for them by their true friends, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Three friends yes, but One God!  You see, it is God alone who is your one and only true friend.  And it is Jesus alone who has promised you that He has gone ahead of you to prepare a place in the paradise He has both restored and prepared for you!

Dear friends, to the world our lives may seem no better than their own, in fact they could make a good case that they are better off.  They strive to live in luxury and many times they will actually achieve that goal by living for themselves and taking advantage of everything this world has to offer, even other people.  But we know a truth that they will never know unless they allow God to change them as He has changed us through the truth of His Word and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

To those who are perishing, the cross of Jesus is foolishness.  To those who are dying in their sins and place their hope only in the things of this world, baptism is foolish because it is simply water and some words.  To those who hunger for something greater than themselves and think that the treasures of this world will satisfy their hunger, the Lord’s supper is simply a small bite of stale bread and a sip of simple wine.  But to we who are being saved by faith and grace that comes to us through the message and power of the cross of Jesus, these things are the very wisdom of God.  For we know, that it is the very power of God that brings eternal life.  And we know that it is the Word of God that distinguishes baptism from a mere washing; it is the Word that distinguishes the Lord’s Supper from a mere snack and constitutes both of these as sacraments that give faith to believe in the forgiveness that they offer.

This morning, Jesus implores each of us to get smart; to receive the Wisdom of God just as He offers it.  He asks you to see that everything in this world is temporary and will pass away.  He asks you to see that these things here are simply tools that you are to use to further the proclamation of His kingdom to the unsaved so that they too may experience God’s love and forgiveness and look forward to a place prepared for them also in God’s heaven.  If you have been led to see this truth and agree with it then you too have become wise.  I pray that this is so for you, and I ask this in Jesus name… AMEN!

All You Need is Love!

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Epiphany 4C, February 3, 2013
Pastor Brian Henderson-Trinity Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA

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“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been known.” [1 Corinthians 13:12]

The song you just heard, “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles will serve as our mental hook this morning.  While our baptized nature would give a hearty AMEN to the title of that song, our old nature, that is our sinful, physical nature, would rather agree with Tina Turner and say, “What’s love got to do with it.   What’s love but a second hand emotion?  Who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken?!”

Yes, it is true, there is a battle of perspectives going on within each of us; each of us sees things dimly right now, as if we are looking through a dirty window.  But the time will come one day soon, when Jesus will greet us face to face.  Now we know things only partially, but soon we will know fully, even as we have been known.

Only two people really know you; God and yourself.  You know yourself just as thoroughly as I know myself, and we can agree and thank God that no one else really knows us.  They would be repulsed by our inward secret thoughts and maybe even some of our actions that we think we do in secret.  But as I said, there is another who knows; another who sees all things clearly.  God knows you because He created you.  Listen to Him speak to you this morning in our Old Testament lesson (Jeremiah 1:4–19).  He says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you”. [Jeremiah 4:5]  Do you hear that?  In your mother’s womb you were not just a lump of unformed flesh or even just a zygote, you were you, and God knew you intimately!

God knew that if He left you alone, that is without His loving care you would be nothing more than a clanging cymbal.  If the natural talents that He programed within you were not sanctified, that is set apart as holy and effective according to His will, you would be nothing.  God knew that on your own, even those gifts that the world calls good and pleasing, would in truth be self-serving.  What things?  Well how about giving away your time, talent, and treasure, to help others.  Remember now, God sees and knows you in a way that no one else but you knows, so you must agree with Him.  Agree with what?  That even if you gave away everything you owned, or even if you sacrificed your life for another person, say by dying in a fire for them, in the end, that is apart from the hand that formed you in the womb, it would be entirely self-serving; it would be about you leaving behind a legacy; your legacy!

This morning, God is asking you to look deeply into the mirror of His Word and find your sinful nature in that Word.  Now I know that it is hard to look at, but that is one of the reasons that this mirror is dim and foggy; God is simply giving you a glimpse at the real you so that He can give you another vision.  And that other vision is someone who is patient and kind; someone who never has an envious or boastful spirit; someone who has never been arrogant or rude.  God wants you to see someone who has never insisted on their own way and would never speak to another person in an irritable or resentful manner.  God wants you to see someone who would consider it unthinkable to celebrate sin or to profit from wrongdoing, and someone who only celebrates with truth.  God wants you to understand that the truth that you must celebrate is love!  Love bears all things, do you?  Love believes all things are possible, even in the darkest moments, do you?  Love always has hope in something perfect and endures all trials and temptations without anger or a grumbling spirit, do you?

Now wait, as I told you do not let this terrifying image of who you are in the flesh leave you hopeless, because there is hope, and our hope comes by looking even more intently into this mirror that is dim and fogged.  Look with me now even deeper into this mirror, this Word of God and let your hope, faith, and yes your love be strengthened.  “This is love, not that we love God, but that He first loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” [1 John 4:10]  And, this is love, the truth that declares that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:8]

Do you see a little more clearly now?  Do you see the truth that declares that from outside of you comes your champion; from God Himself comes His Son, who is your Savior.  He who knew no sin became your sin; that is He took on your sins.  Do you see Jesus?  This is love; it is the kind of love that completely fulfills all of God’s description of true love.  It is the kind of love that the world could never attain, because it is completely lost in its self; that is in its sin.  It is a heavenly quality of love that can only come from a God who is love.

Our sinful world would have us believe that love, that is their idea of love is god, but the very Word of God says that “He (alone) is love.” [1 John 4:16] If we want true love, we can only receive it from the source, and that source has come to us.

God loves the world.  It is a vile world that reeks of sin, yet He loves it.  If He left the world as it was, he could never embrace it because of all of its foulness, which permeates it’s very nature.  But God wanted to love the world because that is His nature, so He sacrificed Himself so that He could love the loveless and self-centered sinners; so that He could love you.  How did He sacrifice Himself?  He sent His Son along with a message, the gospel!  It is that message which proclaims that our God of love has made a way for you and all sinful mankind to return to Him.

This message of love proclaims God’s intent for you and all of mankind.  God made a decision that you would be saved.  God chose life and forgiveness at the expense of pain and suffering for His Son.  When I say that God chose and God decided I am saying that all of God who exists in three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, agreed that this must be done.  The Son of God was obedient to His Father’s will, because it was His will, the will of God.  But it was Jesus, the Son of God, who alone stepped away from the treasures of Heaven and took on human flesh, and delivered up His body to be crucified.  He did this because He is God, and God is love.  He gained nothing by His death and lost so much; He did it for you.

Jesus alone was patient and kind, even when they ridiculed Him, spat upon Him and beat Him.  Even as He was on the cross suffering and dying He was patient and kind, praying that His father would forgive them, because they did not know what they were doing; because they did not yet understand the gospel.  God’s love bears all things and endures all things and it does it for a purpose, for a reason.

That purpose and the reason Christ suffered and died was not to leave a legacy, and it wasn’t to prove a point; that is Jesus did not die upon the cross to make God look great and powerful and leave you feeling guilty, although this maybe what you are feeling right now.   No, Jesus died upon the cross to show you how much God loves you.  He died upon the cross so that you would not have to forfeit your life as payment for your sins.  He died upon the cross so that your true enemies, sin, death, and the devil would once and for all be destroyed.  But He also died upon the cross so that He could take His life back up again and return to His Heavenly Home at the right hand of the Father, so that you would see Him and hear Him call to you, and be assured that where He is, you shall one day join Him.

Where does Jesus call out to us from?  How do we see Him as He truly is?  Well, in the mirror dimly lit of course!  It’s in His Holy Word, the gospel message of love, where we see and hear Him.  In the washing of this Word along with simple water, the Spirit of God gives us eyes of faith; spiritual eyes that hope in nothing else but Jesus and His righteousness.  In His Word, we cling to Jesus as our new baptized nature comes alive and is daily strengthened with something that only God can give us… love.

This love of God is strong and indwelling.  It grows and every day recreates us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ.  Every day, it reminds us of the truth of our gospel lesson (Luke 4:31-44),  that just as Jesus once walked among us in the flesh, driving out demons, curing the sick and raising the dead, He is still with us through the power of the Holy Spirit, casting out demons, healing divisions and bringing peace within His body, the church.  In simple things like human words, water, bread, and wine, His real presence is among us forgiving, imparting life, sanctifying our time, talents, and treasures, and advancing His kingdom of grace.

Can you love with God’s love?  On your own, never, but with Jesus presence always with you, not only can you love, but you will love stronger and better each day as you trust in His real presence.  Each day, God invites you to follow Him, to stay in His Word and allow Him to strengthen your faith, your hope, and your love.  You do this as you trust Him to love the unlovable through you, to teach you to forgive even the unrepentant sinners, and to help you learn to sacrifice yourself as He asks, setting aside all manner of resentment and anger.  It’s this spirit of love that He has given you that teaches you to keep believing in the hope of change for people who seem to be unchangeable.

In this world of imperfection, God’s perfection has come to you and saved you, but more than that it has done the unthinkable; it has declared you… sinful you, holy perfect, and righteous.  You don’t see it now, because you are looking through that dim fogged up mirror, but soon and very soon you will see all things clearly; you will see Jesus face to face as He embraces you and welcomes you home with the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”  And then only one thing will remain; it will not be hope or faith because the object of your hope and faith will be right in front of you.  No, the one thing that will remain forever is love; God’s love for you and your love for Him and all that He has created.  Then you will be able to answer Tina Turner’s question, “What’s love got to do with it?” with this answer: “Love has everything to do with who we are.  All we truly ever needed was God’s love, and now we have it forever.”

Now may the peace of God and the love of Christ keep our hearts and minds forever… AMEN!

Who’s Fool Are You?

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Lent 3 B, March 11, 2012
Pastor Brian Henderson-Trinity Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA

Click here for audio of this message

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

“The Word of the cross (really) is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the (very) power of God (unto salvation).” [v. 18]

One of my favorite “evangelism” stories is the one about the man in Chicago who wore a sandwich board sign on Milwaukee Ave.  Every day for  months during the lunch hour, he walked along the busy sidewalk wearing his sign.  As you approached him, you read : “(1 Cor. 1:18) I am a fool  for Jesus Christ!”  As you approached him, he would make eye contact and say, “God bless you!”  After you passed him though, if you bothered  to turn and see what was on the other side of the sandwich board, you would read this question, “Who’s fool are you?”

So that’s the question that God wants us to answer.  Who do you want to be a fool for?  If you choose the world’s wisdom over God’s wisdom,  beware, because you just may hear these Words from your Savior, “You fool, today is the day God requires your soul!”  You see, in our reading  this morning we have ample warning that ultimately, all wisdom that does not find its source in the cross of Jesus Christ will be laid low, “For it  is written, “God will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning He will [frustrate].”

“Where is the one who is wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age”  Or we could imagine God saying, “Bring me the talking  heads from CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, PBS and all of the other highbrow agenda seeking news celebrities, and see how they fair against my Word!   Bring me the legal activists that publicly attack my people’s faith and see what will happen to them on judgment day!  Bring out the double  talking politicians who tell you what you want to hear, saying one thing to this group of people and another to that group of people just so they can win votes along with earthly treasure and fame, and see if I do not destroy their lying and self-serving tongues!”

The truth is that many of these people have forgotten the God who gave them their wisdom.  They forget that each one of us was created to glorify God through the talents and gifts that He’s given to us.  Sadly, many not only forget about God, why they even attack the very thought of God!  They belittle anyone who professes faith in a Creator-God as foolish and weak.  They insist that we believe that we evolved out of swamp scum!  And what’s God’s response?  He takes the very idea of a Creator that the world dismisses as folly and makes it even more foolish; He comes to us in power in ways we would never imagine.  And because of our sin, He comes in ways we can never accept.

God comes to us this morning in great power.  It is power that even the strongest nuclear weapon created by the greatest human minds can’t even come close to.  It is an argument that confounds the keenest minds because of its simplicity.  God comes to us in the spoken Word.  The Word of God spoken by sinful men!  The very same Word that was spoken in the beginning of all things, that created all things, is speaking to you even now!  But if it were just the words of a preacher, why they would be just as hollow as the those know-it-alls who call us foolish.  No, this Word that is speaking to you now is the very power of God unto salvation simply because it is the message about the cross of Jesus Christ!

There’s an area in London, England that’s the geographical heart of the city.  It’s called the Charing Cross.  All distances in the city are measured from this location.  One day a London police officer found a lost child wandering the streets of London, alone, frightened, and crying.  No matter what the officer tried, he couldn’t get the child to remember his address.  Finally, in the middle of his sobs, the little boy said, “Sir, if you will take me to the cross I think I can find my way back home.”  And that is God’s plan for us.  If He can get us to the cross, He has made a way for us to get back home; back into His forgiving love.  At the cross we find God.   But not just any cross will do; no, it has to be the bloody cross of death that the Son of God suffered and died upon for the sins of the world.  It is at the cross of Jesus where the message about His love, suffering and death opens our eyes of faith, so that we can see the love of God.

This message of the cross is the only one that God has given to sinners so that they will know and return to a God who not only created them but also wants to recreate them back into His image.  But in order to have a cross, you have to have the Savior who died upon it.  You have to have the very Son of God in our flesh.  And it’s this very thought of God becoming one of us, and dying for us that causes men wise to the world to turn away from their Creator and Savior.  They will accept the cross as a metaphor of something greater and higher for each of us to strive for, but if you put a suffering and dying Savior God on it they will laugh in your face!

In 1959, Thomas Hoving of New York’s Metropolitan Museum purchased an ivory cross from a Yugoslavian art collector, who had stored it in a Swiss bank vault.  Hoving noticed that it lacked its central figure—the body of Christ.  Because of the missing body, the value of the cross was significantly less.  But on the other side of the world, a figure of Christ carved out of ivory lay in Norway’s Oslo Museum.  In 1969, Florens Deuchler discovered that the seven and a half inch figure of Christ in the Oslo Museum fit perfectly into the five holes drilled for it on the New York museum cross.  But the like the cross, the figure’s value is small without the cross.

You see, the cross without Jesus Christ, the Son of God is only a cross; a symbol.  And Jesus, without the cross is only a historical figure with no power from God.  It is only through the crucified Jesus Christ that God’s plan of salvation centered around His wisdom, power, and glory can be seen and understood by sinners like us.

Sadly, the world sees the cross and a crucified Savior as foolishness, and it uses its own wisdom, power, and glory to create a god in its own image.  But in the cross, God prevents us from making Him into our sinful image.  He does it through the foolishness of the cross.  If you won’t surrender all of your wisdom, glory, and power at the foot of the cross, then you will never see God’s glory.  At the cross, we are bewildered and confounded, but we are bewildered and confounded for a reason.  God wants each of us to see that we all fall far short of God’s demand of perfection.  He wants us to see that our only hope for eternal life in glory is to confess our complete emptiness.  Then and only then can God fill us with the mystery of the cross, which is His message about our salvation.

Do you want God’s wisdom?  Then be prepared to have the world call you a fool, because only the cross can make you wise unto salvation.  Only through the message of Jesus’ cross are you given wisdom from God to see your sin and your Savior who suffered and died to forever take that sin away from you.  In the message of the cross you are given faith to receive God’s promise of righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  These three gifts of God are all that you need to be assured that you have peace with a God who loves you and wants you to be with Him forever.  Together with wisdom, these gifts are given to you within your baptism, where you were killed and reborn through the washing of simple water and the unfathomable power of God’s Word!

The righteousness of God is something only He can give to you.  It is the very identity of His Son who suffered and died upon the cross for you.  It is a righteousness that is imputed or injected into you when you were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Your gift of sanctification is the very promise of God that He who began the work of salvation within you will complete that work.  No one can take this promise from you; in your baptism, He recreated you to live a life of good works centered on the love and sacrifice of Jesus and His death upon the cross for you!  And finally, through the cross of Jesus and the waters of your baptism, God gives you redemption.  He gives to you the promise that if you will not turn away from the death of His Son for you, you will one day join Him in His heaven, which will become your home forever.

Now the world will have no part of God’s plan of salvation.  They can’t admit that they fall short of any glory.  They will insist that man’s glory is real and tangible while God’s glory is a fiction for weak minds.  They see no need for divine righteousness, sanctification, or redemption.  In their minds, anyone who clings to these things above the vision of a man-made utopia that science and political order will one day provide is a fool, and they have no time for fools.  But it is the fool who says in his heart there is no God!  Sadly, without the cross of Jesus, they will one day hear God say, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. [Luke 12:20]  Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matt. 22:13]  Who will be the fool then?  But for now, we are not to celebrate what we have at the expense of others.  Instead, God calls us to live for Him as we live out His Word of the cross for our neighbors.  He calls us to share His gift of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption with the world that comes only through His Word about Christ’s suffering and death upon the cross.

As Paul says to us this morning, we repeat among ourselves and to our neighbors. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 1:31]  In other words, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. [Jeremiah 9:23-24]  May God give each of us faith and  strength to continue being fools for Jesus Christ… AMEN!