The Benefits of Wisdom

Proverbs 3:13-18

Human wisdom is meaningless in the Lord’s eyes. The truth is, God’s “foolishness” is wiser than man’s understanding. (See 1 Cor. 1:25.) While it may feel risky to set aside our own reasoning to seek after the Lord’s, the benefits of walking in His wisdom are great.

The first blessing is greater knowledge of God. The Lord is personally involved in every facet of our lives. The better we know His character, the more we will understand His viewpoint, recognize where He is working, and be able to respond properly to life’s circumstances.

A second way we profit is by receiving clear guidance. God sees everything—His perspective is eternal, and every decision of His is right. He knows exactly what is needed to accomplish His will in our life and what it will take to resolve problems in a godly way, making us more like Christ.

A third benefit is divine protection. As Proverbs 28:26 tells us, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.” We are not to rely upon our emotions, which are easily influenced by ungodliness. Nor can we trust the world’s opinions. Wisdom’s protection comes when we have a discerning spirit—one that is sensitive to the Lord’s purpose and will for our life. With it, we gain insight into the unseen and the unspoken because nothing is hidden from the Spirit of God.

Knowing God, clear guidance, divine protection—human wisdom can’t provide any of these. They come only from the heavenly Father, and He offers them freely to all who believe.

The Power of The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:26-27

God’s Spirit indwells believers at salvation, which means His power is available from that moment (Eph. 1:13). God created a simple way for us to access that strength every single day.

First, we must accept the truth that in and of ourselves, we are powerless to live out God’s will. No matter how capable we may be, our own strength and wisdom are insufficient. Sometimes Christians become prideful about the good they have done or the number of years they’ve been saved. Imagine how much more we could serve the Lord if we would humbly get out of God’s way and let Him work through us.

Second, we surrender our entire life to the guidance and governing of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we choose to conduct our spiritual walk—as well as our vocation, finances, family, and relationships—as God desires. His Spirit is not going to release supernatural power into a life that is continuing in rebellion.

Third, we exercise faith, which means demonstrating belief and trust in the Lord. Faith is the “switch” that releases the Spirit’s power. It’s like saying, “I believe You’ve got a plan, God, so I’m going to trust You to give me what I need in order to do Your will.” Then He will move heaven and earth to provide for your need, whatever it may be.

Merely memorizing and reviewing the steps isn’t enough. Instead, commit to these principles as a way of life. Get used to thinking, I can’t but God can— I’ll submit to His will because His plans are for my good and His glory. That’s the kind of life that overflows with the Holy Spirit’s power.

The World Treasures vs Heavenly Ones
Psalm 145:13 (WEB)
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Yahweh is faithful in all his words,
and loving in all his deeds.

 

djs

Seeing With Eyes Wide Shut

Seeing With Eyes Wide Shut

“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—
secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”

— Isaiah 45:3 (NLT)

It is a natural human reflex to squint or shut one’s eyes when in pain. Similarly, we wince when we are hit with unbearable experiences and we tend to close out the world around us. The sages taught that this reflex has a powerful message for us.

Our eyes are the vehicle through which we bring objects outside of us into our brain. We call this process “seeing.” But sometimes, we can’t see. If something passes by us very quickly, we won’t be able to see it. The eyes don’t have enough time to process and send the image to the brain.

Another time we have difficulty seeing is when an object is very far away. When this happens, our vision is diffused over a lot of space and it doesn’t have the power to bring the image into the brain. To solve this problem, we squint. By closing our eyes to things on the periphery, we are able to concentrate all our visual capacity on the object we want to see and our vision extends farther.

The sages taught that this same principle applies when we are going through emotional or spiritual pain. When we are going through challenges or difficulties, we need to see the whole picture, the end of the story. We have to see that everything God does is for our best. We have to be able to see that all the pain we are experiencing is for a good purpose.

But how do we attain such a perspective when we are in the midst of deep pain?

We close our eyes.

Sometimes we only need to “squint.” We need to shut out the things that don’t really matter in life in order to see what really does. Often this partial blinding is enough for us to see that all is good. However, other times, we must completely close our eyes to the physical world so that we can focus on non-physical matters. In this space, we can see the beauty and light in our situation that we couldn’t see with our eyes open wide.

In the book of Isaiah we read: “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness — secret riches.” There are some treasures that we can only attain in the darkness; some riches we can only find in hidden places. When we go through challenging times – or even in good times – if we are able to close our eyes to the material world and gain an invaluable perspective on the truly important aspects of life, then we will be truly blessed. Having that clarity through life is one of the greatest treasures we can ever receive.

djs

Staying The Course No Matter What

Staying The Course No Matter What
Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 28:20

Near the end of his life, evangelist George Whitefield grew weak but refused to give up. His prayer was: “Lord, I am weary in Thy work but not of Thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields….” Writing to a friend, Whitefield said, “O to stand fast in the faith…and be strong.” No matter what comes, stay the course.

That’s what we need too—the determination to stand strong till the end. Scripture repeatedly counsels us to take courage and be strong. We may become weary while serving the Lord, but we mustn’t grow weary of serving the Lord. We’re to follow the sample of David, who, in a time of crisis, “strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).

Later, in 1 Chronicles 28:20, David advised Solomon to keep going in the strength of the Lord. The New International Version translates 1 Chronicles 28:20 like this: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.”

Be strong and courageous today, and He will strengthen your hands.

What! Get to heaven on your own strength? Why, you might as well try to climb to the moon on a rope of sand!
George Whitefield

djs

God’s Loving Arms

God’s Loving Arms

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
— 1 Chronicles 16:34

There once was a father who carried his son on his shoulders everywhere they walked. He cared for all his son’s needs, giving him food and drink, keeping him in the shade when it was hot, and walking in the sun when it got cold. A stranger passed by the pair one day, and the son casually asked him, “Have you seen my father?”

This anecdote teaches us about how we take so many of our gifts from our Father in Heaven for granted. We don’t even recognize that it is He who is giving us everything we have and everything we need. God carries us through life, but if we don’t look for Him, we won’t see Him.

Some people think that it is hard to have a loving relationship with God because He is so far from us, all the way in the heavens. But this story shows us that the opposite is true. The reason why so many of us don’t have a relationship with our Father is because He is so close to us! He is so close, and His presence so familiar, that we rarely notice Him.

Every breath we take is a gift from God. But how many of us feel that way throughout our busy days? We take the clean air and our ability to breathe for granted because we are given that gift every moment of our lives. But try holding your breath for a few minutes, and you might come to have a new appreciation for your next breath and the one after that.

In 1 Chronicles, after the Ark of the Covenant was brought into a special tent that King David had created for it, a ceremony took place involving sacrifices and offerings. But then David instructed the priests to constantly serve with words of praise and thanks to God. This was critical to their daily service. We read: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Giving thanks was the anthem of David’s life.

In fact, the sages teach that at one point during David’s reign, there was a plague that killed 100 people a day. Recognizing that this physical malady had a spiritual cause, David prescribed a spiritual cure: To recite 100 blessings each day. The plague stopped, and David’s prescription is followed by observant Jews to this very day!

Everyone is asking what will it take to put our world in a better state. We see all the bad things happening around us. But maybe the cure is to notice the good things, to give thanks for them, and to bless God for giving us all the gifts we have in our lives.

djs

 

Joy Comes In The Morning

Joy Comes In The Morning
Psalm 30:5 (WEB)
For his anger is but for a moment. His favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.