Wisdom 2.11

“When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you.” – Proverbs 2:10-11 NKJV

What place is allocated for the Lord’s words in your heart? Are they front-and-center, or simply “in the room” somewhere? His solid counsel can calm an uneasy soul, but there must be a willingness to listen. His gracious words can place anxious steps, but there must be a willingness to follow. And at the end of the day, His guidance can steer a wind-tossed life around the rocks of disaster, but there must be a willingness to let Him take command.

Unanswered

Do your prayers ever seem unanswered?

There’s a beautiful story in Luke of two people who struggled with silence…Zacharias and Elizabeth. They endured daily shame in a culture that believed no children was a sign of hidden sin. However, according to Luke, they were both righteous before God (1:6) and had prayed for a child (1:13). Then suddenly, it happened…an angel appeared to Zacharias and gave him the incredible news that Elizabeth would have a child in her old age. God truly works in unique ways.

So, as you pray, remember:

  • Heavenly activity is going on regardless of your awareness – Luke 1:6 says they were not only righteous, but walked blamelessly regarding commandments and ordinances. They were being observed daily from God’s perspective and their prayers were not forgotten. While they faithfully went about their daily life, God was at work.
  • Silence doesn’t necessarily equal “no” – During the silence, the natural conclusion would have been, “God doesn’t want us to have children.” In truth, He didn’t want them to have children…until the right time. In the meantime, there was a powerful ingredient being sprinkled into Zacharias and Elizabeth’s life. It was the ingredient of “time”. It may have been unwelcome, but was part of the miracle.
  • It’s worth the wait – John was no ordinary baby. Not only was he special in the timing of his birth, he was special in spiritual power. The Bible says he was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb (1:15) and grew to be a firebrand in the order of Elijah (1:17). There had been 400 years since the previous prophet and suddenly they were chosen to raise the one preparing the way for the Messiah!

Don’t give up. Keep praying. Stay faithful…and trust Him.

Compromise

What are your core beliefs?

In New Testament times there were many political alliances and authorities. One of those was a powerful court called the Sanhedrin Council. John refers to the Council this way:

“…many believed in [Jesus], but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” – John 12:42-43

We see that many believed, but compromised for fear of losing influence. However, within that same hyper-political environment, Luke mentions this happening after the crucifixion:

“There was a good and righteous man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, who had not agreed to their plan and action. He was from Arimathea, a Judean town, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God. He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever been placed.” -Luke 23:50-53

The difference between Joseph and many others was simply this; he acted on his convictions regardless of the threat to his position and status. He may have been timid before, but at the end of the day he stood on his convictions. He was not only willing to be identified with Christ; he was also willing to be involved in the work of burial.

Do you have core convictions? Are you willing to stand on them today, even if it conflicts with the social norms of your peers? If not, then they’re probably just strong preferences, and not really convictions.

The Lord’s Day 8-28-16

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.” – Psalm 8:3-5 NKJV

All the good we know comes from the Lord. The beauty of creation, the skills, talents and abilities of mankind; they all come from the gracious hand of God. Upon that realization, what can our response be but thanks, praise and worship…celebrate the Lord’s Day!

Blueprints

Life often doesn’t make sense.

People, circumstances, and timing can lead to wondering about the details of God’s plan. In the early part of the 1st century, the Jewish people were hoping for the Messiah’s coming, but generations had come and gone without seeing Him. In the meantime, their leaders had developed a well-defined set of events they expected to happen when the Messiah arrived. Unfortunately, it was built on recapturing past glory, instead of God’s plan to do something totally new (Luke 1:26-56).

In the same way, a believer can assume and expect God to work in the same way He did in the past; then imagine a plan of action for Him to execute. However, the Creator of the universe doesn’t follow anyone else’s blueprints; He has His own; and they fit perfectly into the bigger picture.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” – Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV

Higher

How big is God in your eyes?

One of the earliest names for God in the Bible is God Most High (Genesis 14:18-20). It’s an awesome description. No matter what we can see or imagine…He’s higher, bigger, and stronger. The sweeping narrative of the Old Testament reveals God’s awesome power in many different ways, but sadly, the Hebrews often forgot. They simply settled for thinking of Him as just another “god”.

What about you? When you pray, what do you see? Is it the image of Him “high and lifted up” in awesome glory as Isaiah described? Do you see Him as God Most High? Or is He just barely big enough to handle your current situation? Sure, He’s up to the task, but what if He wants even greater things for you. Trust Him today to be who He says He is:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor My ways your ways. For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

How big is God…in your eyes?

Temperature

Are you a thermometer or thermostat?

Every time the thermostat in your home starts the heat or air-conditioning, it’s because the temperature needs adjustment; and based on its thermometer, action is called for. When a follower of Christ engages others, the same components are there. There’s the ability to sense the current spiritual temperature, and the ability to implement change. However, here’s the challenging question; “Is there a willingness to engage and adjust the temperature of the conversation, or is there contentment to simply reflect the current environment?” Think about what the prophet Micah wrote:

“Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 HCSB

If we want to be a thermostat and only measure temp, you’ll never be part of helping “condition” a room. At the same time, if you ignore the temp and keep everything blowing full speed, the room will get really hot, or really cold.

Striving to be a thermostat will go against the flow. Come to think of it, every time a heating/cooling system kicks on, it’s going “against the flow”. That’s what it’s made for. Will you be part of influencing a room today?

  • Act justly
  • Love faithfulness
  • Walk humbly
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