The Gift of Divine Wisdom

The Gift of Divine Wisdom

Proverbs 9:7-12

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Initially, the connection between these two concepts may be difficult to grasp. How can fearing God make us wise?

First, we need to understand what it means to fear the Lord. This term is used to describe an awesome reverence for God that moves us to acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth, submit to His will, and walk in obedience. The result of such a response will be the acquisition of wisdom.

If we commit ourselves to living for God’s purposes rather than our own, we will gain greater understanding of Him. The Holy Spirit will enable us to see circumstances and people from His divine perspective. This kind of wisdom reaches beyond human perception and gives us discernment to make decisions that fit into the Lord’s plans for our life. Knowing that He always works for our best interests, we are empowered to walk confidently through both good and bad times.

But if we reject God’s instructions, we dishonor Him with our refusal to acknowledge His right to rule our life. It’s foolish to rebel against His authority and think we can ever win. Those who won’t fear God will never know real wisdom.

What is your attitude toward the Lord? If you truly revere Him, you will listen for His directions and heed His warnings. A desire to honor and please Him will motivate you to turn from evil and seek to live in obedience. The result will be wisdom beyond human understanding.

Seeing God in Our Circumstances

Seeing God in Our Circumstances

Philippians 1:12-25

If you had the power to change your circumstances, would you? Since no one has a life without problems, most of us would immediately say yes. However, the reality is that we must learn to live with some of our difficult circumstances, because only God has the power to alter them—and in His providence, He’s allowed them to remain.

Take the apostle Paul, for example. He had a desire to go to Rome and preach the gospel but didn’t anticipate the route God would use to bring him there. It began with false accusations in Jerusalem, an appeal to Caesar, a rough sea voyage, and a shipwreck and eventually included time spent in a Roman prison. This was probably not what Paul had envisioned, but as he sat chained to a Roman guard, he wrote the following words to the church in Philippi: “My circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). The very circumstance that may have seemed like an unfair misfortune became the avenue for fruitful service.

What looks like a shipwreck or detour in our plans could actually be God’s ordained path for our lives. It may include financial challenges, health issues, relational conflicts, or any number of other hardships, but there is one certainty to which we can cling: Jesus Christ is our life, and He never changes.

Conditions around us will fluctuate, but if we belong to Christ, He’ll use every situation to accomplish His will in and through us. Even when we face matters of life and death, we can share Paul’s desire—that Christ would be exalted in us, whether through life or death.

Travel Plans

Travel Plans

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15

When deciding whether or not to go on a long vacation with a friend, a few things are carefully considered, including interests, expectations, and personalities. After all, we want to enjoy the trip and keep the friendship intact.

As we travel through life, our minds know that we have God traveling with us, but it is easy for our hearts to forget and feel disconnected, especially when our requests are not fulfilled.

Jesus understands. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup would pass away from Him and it did not. Although Jesus surrendered to the sacrifice, it was difficult beyond words. Whatever situation you find yourself in, He is with you. Like the thief hanging on the cross beside Jesus, we can cry out to Him in the midst of any mess or consequence we find ourselves in, whether or not we caused it. He is here. The winding journey of our lives can bring us closer to Him, if we will allow it to.

We weren’t meant to be somebody—we were meant to know Somebody.
John Piper

The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord

The Book of Revelation is a Jewish, anti-Roman text that comes to us from the first century.  The Jewish Christ acts as the High Priest of the heavenly tabernacle, walking amidst seven golden lamp stands (Rev. 1:10-13). He speaks a message of warning and encouragement to seven real assemblies struggling to be loyal to Israel’s God in Christ Jesus, as residents of an unapologetically pagan Roman Empire.

In one of the visions characteristic of Jewish apocalyptic tradition, John finds himself “in the spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10).  In view of modern controversies many Christ-followers wonder whether it was the seventh or the first day of the Israelite week that John had in mind.

Both options, Sunday (1st day) and the Sabbath Day (7th day), while possible are a bit problematic for several reasons. One of them is that while the Sabbath Day does belong to the Lord it was never called the “Lord’s Day” before. On the other hand, Sunday, the Day that the resurrection of Jesus had become public, was never referred to as the “Lord’s Day” either. It could be argued, however, that “There is first time for everything”, but I would like to submit to you another possibility that should be also considered.

“The Lord’s Day” is none other than “The Day of the Lord” spoken of so often by the prophets of Israel (Is. 2:12-22). According to Isaiah this is the day when justice finally prevails as the God of Israel judges his enemies and rewards his children with peace and prosperity. So, was this Saturday or Sunday? Neither. It was the Day of the Lord.

John time traveled to that future time where he witnessed the events happening first hand as it was happening and then he returned to his present time and wrote down what he saw. It was and is “the Day of the Lord.”

Saying YES When HE Calls

Saying YES When HE Calls

Exodus 3:1-14

I’ve met people who know the Lord has called them to do something, but they are so focused on their perceived lack of ability that they keep telling Him, “I just can’t.” Did you realize this is a form of rebellion? It amounts to telling God that He isn’t powerful enough to equip you—and that His will being done on this earth depends upon your natural skills.

On being called to lead the Israelites out of slavery, Moses complained that he was the wrong person for the job and offered an excuse of not being a good speaker (Ex. 4:10). God’s response underscores that not only was He more than able to equip His chosen leader, but He also planned to accomplish His purposes with or without Moses.

The Lord is the one who gives us the ability to live within His will. It’s a divine promise: If we believe Him and move forward in obedience, He’ll show us what we’re to do and then will energize us to get it done. Philippians 2:13 says that God Himself “is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” There’s nothing to fear: You never have to take on His work in your own strength, and He won’t ask you to do anything that He will not enable you to carry out. The Father is committed to equipping His children to do whatever He asks.

As a follower of Christ, you have a personal responsibility—first, to say yes when God calls, and second, to allow Him to achieve His purposes through your life. He won’t let you down. Watching Him work through you will strengthen your faith and further the process of conforming you to His Son’s image.

The Gift of Discernment

The Gift of Discernment

Proverbs 2:1-11

If you made a list of the things you want most in life, would a discerning spirit be one of them? The Lord places a high value on this attribute and wants all of us to have it. If we don’t, we will make wrong choices because we won’t understand situations clearly.

Discernment is the ability to make sound judgments by perceiving what is not readily obvious. For example, can you tell the difference between legalism and liberty? God calls each of us to live according to our personal convictions, but not all of them are moral mandates for every believer. We should be able to determine the difference between the two.

Another area that requires discernment is distinguishing good from best. God has the perfect plan for each of us; however, there are a multitude of good options before us. For instance, suppose you’re offered two different jobs. They both look promising, but only one of them is God’s best for you. Do you know how to determine His will?

It’s obvious from these two examples that our most basic need for discernment involves being able to understand what God is saying to us. When you’re faced with a decision, how do you know if you’re hearing from the Lord or simply listening to your own desires or reasoning?

The time to develop discernment is now. Don’t wait until a critical decision faces you. Begin today to fill your mind with God’s Word so you can think His thoughts and understand His ways. Spend time with Him in intimate fellowship. The more you know Him, the better you can discern His voice.

The Gift of Faith is Pure Gift

The Gift of Faith is Pure Grace
1 John 5:4 (WEB)