Wisdom 21.23

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue, keeps his soul from troubles.” – Proverbs 21:23 NKJV

Words spoken tend to live-on even after an apology, and some thoughts need time to mature before being revealed (or discarded). May our words be guarded today…

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What do you know to be true?

In John chapter 9 a man born blind is miraculously healed by Jesus. Afterwards, the Jewish leadership verbally attacked the man and his story; questioning his integrity and disassociating him from the synagogue. However, in the midst of the conversation, the man makes a wonderful statement;

“One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.” – John 9:25b HCSB

There were a lot of things about the healing (and the Healer) that the man didn’t have answers for yet, but he could see. There’s great reassurance in thinking about what you know to be true. There are parts of the faith journey that come without explanations, but ask yourself, “What do I KNOW to be true?” Later on in John’s ministry, He wrote several epistles. In the one we call “1 John”, he uses the words “know” or “known” 38 times. He was telling the original readers (and now us) to be confident and “know”. He wrote;

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:13 NKJV

So what things do you know to be true today? Can you list some of them? Faith in Christ isn’t “blind” faith, it’s “seeing” faith (like the man in John 9). Our faith is in One we know, and we know Him to be faithful…always.

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Cultural shifts often promise new liberty, but only deliver old bondage in new ways. There’s only one form of true personal liberty;

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” – John 8:31-32 NKJV

The Word of God is the only place to find answers to questions that tug at our souls. When Jesus spoke these words, He was debating Jewish leaders who knew the scriptures, but struggled to know the One who gave them. At the beginning of John’s gospel, he tells us that Jesus is the Word. He always was, He is now, and will always be. To know Him personally is to be free.

What thoughts, struggles or trickery of the world are you struggling with today? In Christ, there’s freedom through a deep down, settled conviction that He’s Sovereign King. Yes, there will still be personal “gnats” pestering us from time-to-time, but the question is, “Do you let them dominate?” If we’re not careful, we can subconsciously let them rule us and the only way forward to freedom is going back to the Word and His counsel. It’s the “abiding” part; and where there’s abiding, there’s freedom…even from the personal gnats.

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The word “and” makes a difference. For example, it can cause anxiety, like “The meeting is tomorrow AND the report is due”, it can bring a smile, like “Grandma’s coming AND she’s bringing a cake.”, etc. When it comes to spiritual matters, there’s a lot of “and” words too. Consider this one:

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” – John 8:11 HCSB

The first part of the verse is often quoted, but what about the command part? The picture of the woman getting a second chance is wonderful…but then the pesky “and” must be dealt with. There’s a temptation to conveniently ignore and rush past the fact that Jesus expected something from her after the encounter. To be clear, it wasn’t to earn His forgiveness (He had already shown kindness and forgiveness); it was to demonstrate a new commitment to honor God and not herself.

What about the “and” in your life? Jesus offers grace freely to all who will receive it; however, it did come at a high personal cost to Him. May our lives be a grateful demonstration of “and” today.

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Godly discernment looks beyond the obvious.

“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” – John 7:24 NKJV

When Jesus spoke those words, He was being accused of blaspheming Jewish law. Obviously, Jesus knew the Law given to Moses (and was not violating it), but there was a fundamental lack of discernment on the part of many to see beyond the surface. However, there are also examples in the gospels of people taking time to pursue what may not be readily understood.

Consider Jesus’ mother Mary and Nicodemus. First, on several occasions, Mary is said to be “pondering these things in her heart”. She didn’t understand exactly what was happening, but her heart was searching for God’s truth. Second, Nicodemus was an educated leader of the Jews (and the one in John Ch. 3 asking Jesus about eternal life). He is mentioned several times and eventually takes part in anointing Jesus’ body while laying it to rest. Neither Mary nor Nicodemus had every detail in advance, but their hearts were tender to God’s voice and were given heavenly insight as time progressed.

Are there things today you don’t understand? It’s okay to ask questions. Mary and Nicodemus both asked questions (that’s what produced Mary’s wonderful exchange with the angel and the great verse of John 3:16). Questions aren’t the problem, it’s the heart behind the questions that can be. Insight from the Lord is a very precious commodity, and seeking it first is always the best course of action. Are you seeking His insight today?

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Wisdom 21.3

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” – Proverbs 21:3 NKJV

The “right thing” isn’t always recognized by the crowd. We must remember that choosing righteousness and justice is ultimately in service to Him, not people. Obedience is the mark of a disciple, and the foundation that supports maturity.

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Admission of weak faith can be the beginning of moving forward.

For example, Mark records that a father brought his son to be healed from an evil spirit and the disciples couldn’t help him. Later, when Jesus arrived, the father asked Him to heal his son and they had this exchange:

Jesus: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Child’s Father: “Lord I believe; help my unbelief!”   (Mark 9:23-24 NKJV)

Mark also describes how desperate and tearful the man was. He was so concerned for his child, but admitted his shortcoming and asked for the Lord’s help. In a moment, his son was healed and his faith grew exponentially; not because of self-generated commitment, but because of his humble request.

Honesty with the Lord is always the best place to start. He knows every secret thought of our heart already and we’re in need of confessing them. Is there an area of life where your faith is wavering? If so, confess it. Admit the obvious, and speak the words of “Lord please help my unbelief…”

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