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 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

Seeking To Understand The Mind Of God

Seeking To Understand The Mind Of God
I woke up this morning to news that a bus carrying fourteen senior adults from First Baptist Church of New Braunfels collided with a pickup yesterday afternoon. Thirteen bus passengers were killed. One passenger was hospitalized in critical condition; the pickup driver was hospitalized in stable condition.

The senior adults were returning from a three-day retreat at a Baptist encampment.

So far this morning, authorities have not determined the cause of the crash. No matter who or what caused the crash, the passengers were not at fault. Yet all but one were killed.

Tragedies like this bring us to the most difficult challenge Christians face theologically. We believe that God is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful. No other religion affirms these tenets about a personal God as fully as we do.

Since God is omniscient and not bound by time, he knew that the crash would happen before it did (Psalm 139:4; 1 John 3:20). Since he is love (1 John 4:8), he would seemingly not want such a tragedy to come to his children. Since he is omnipotent (Matthew 19:26), he could have prevented the crash from occurring. The Lord who stilled the storms and raised the dead could have stopped a bus and a pickup truck from colliding.

Yet he did not.

Today there are families grieving the sudden loss of their parents and grandparents. A pastor is trying to help his congregation come to terms with a tragedy their church will obviously never forget. The rest of us will watch with sorrow for those who are suffering.

Many wonder why the God these senior adults worshiped didn’t prevent their deaths. So do I.

I often note that God redeems all he forgives. I’m confident that our Father will redeem for greater good even this terrible tragedy (Romans 8:18). But future hope doesn’t explain present suffering. We grieve, and we should. We ask hard questions, and we should.

But here’s what we should not do.

We need not wonder if the Christians who died yesterday share our grief or our questions. We need not wonder if God was able to redeem their suffering. One moment after they died, they stepped into heaven. When they took their last breath here, they took their first breath there. They moved instantly from our fallen world into God’s perfect paradise. Now they are more alive than we are in a world where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

In the face of tragedy, we have two options.

We can decide that God is not who he says he is. We can let our questions keep us from experiencing his transforming love and sustaining grace. We can trust our doubts more than we trust our Creator.

Or we can decide to have faith in our Father even when we don’t understand him. The harder it is to trust God, the more we need to trust God.

Which option do you choose today?

God’s Perfect Timing

God Is Sovereign Over Delays

Proverbs 16:9

No one likes to wait, but have you ever wondered why? Perhaps it’s because delays show us that we are not in control. Someone or something else is calling the shots. Although we may be able to identify the immediate cause—like a traffic light or the long checkout line—ultimately the One who controls all our delays is the Lord. Since He is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth, even our time and schedules are in His hands.

This means that in every delay, we are actually waiting for God in one way or another. You might have thought that the expression “waiting upon the Lord” applies only to seeking guidance from Him or an answer to prayer. But it can mean so much more when you remember that He controls all your day-to-day inconveniences and frustrations.

In the Christian life, learning to wait is vitally important because until you do, you’ll never be able to walk in obedience to God, have an effective prayer life, or experience the peace of resting in His loving sovereignty. We must learn to trust His judgment—not just about the big events in our lives but also about trivial ones, which can cause us to become irritated, impatient, or even angry. If we are sensitive to His instruction, each delay has an important lesson.

The next time you face an unexpected or unwanted wait, remember that it comes as no surprise to God. He wants to teach you patience and increase your faith. He’s more interested in developing godly character than He is in making sure your schedule runs according to your plans.

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

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.