Wisdom 6.16

“The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” – Proverbs 6:16-19 HCSB

In today’s culture where love is often the sole character trait attributed to God, those words are a strong contrast to the “soft old grandfather figure” many imagine. The motives and schemes of people are clearly known to the Lord and nothing “slips” past Him. We must remember that His pattern throughout scripture is patience and forgiveness, but when He takes action, it’s swift, decisive, and final.

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A Word Fitly Spoken

Who needs you today? As Paul was building on his statement to be “living sacrifices”, he mentioned this:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15 NKJV

So who needs you today? You have the opportunity to be part of improving someone’s personal weather forecast from “rainy” to “partly sunny” through a simple note, text, or comment. Your words can be powerful. A compliment can lift a spirit, encouragement can motivate a tired soul, a loving challenge can alter a future and asking forgiveness can soften a heart. Proverbs 25:11 reminds us:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver”

It’s not rocket science, but your friend probably doesn’t need a scientist today as much as they need you.

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Thinking Soberly

Drunken decisions are less wise than sober, because thoughts are better without impairment.

Incidentally, the idea of clear, sober thinking is how Paul finishes up his thorough discussion of sin, faith, law, and grace (Romans Ch.1-11). Starting off chapter 12, he says to walk as “living sacrifices”, being transformed in thinking, and then gives these instructions for the disciple to ponder along the way:

“…not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” – Romans 12:3b NKJV

Stop and consider the full meaning of grace. Without it there would be no hope of knowing God or serving Him; and as a servant in His Kingdom, there is only one rank…“Redeemed”.

How will you finish this statement today, “God has dealt with me…”?

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The Lord’s Day 10-7-18

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.” – Psalm 16:8-9 NIV

Life is filled with people and circumstances (both good and bad) that can draw our attention away from God. Today, prayerfully look beyond it all and see the Mighty King of Heaven in His glory. Celebrate His majesty, gain strength from His presence, and find rest in His protection. He is worthy of our worship and praise!

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Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

He was in their temple, marketplaces and homes; yet many didn’t embrace Him as Lord. The long-awaited moment had come for the introduction of the promised King…and the majority chose not to follow. For that reason, Paul said their branch was “broken off” and a new one grafted in. However, the Bible also says they can be grafted in again upon turning to belief in Christ (Romans 11:17-24).

There was a clear change in direction with the birth of the Church, but not a total rejection of His chosen people. His hand was righteously firm, but without a spite-filled vindictive attitude. God’s ways are higher than ours and so are His actions. Paul summed it up this way:

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” –Romans 11:33 NKJV

He’s beyond our ability to completely define, but is always consistent in character. That means, growing as a disciple is more about learning His nature, than about “figuring Him out”.

So, how do you pray? Is it for answers, or do you desire a conversation? Knowing Christ is about fellowship. Are you listening? Or just talking? Unsearchable…oh the depths.

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Have you ever been asked for advice?

Or perhaps circumstances have compelled you to offer advice to someone not asking for it; like your child, student, subordinate, friend, or family member. Either way, when it comes to right and wrong, what should differentiate a follower of Christ’s counsel from random thoughts? After all, many people who don’t know Christ have years of life experience. What’s different about godly counsel?

The answer: It’s the “non-negotiable” parts of the conversation.

As disciples, we’re to look specifically to God’s Word for “framing” life experiences. And when we recount those experiences to others, they should also be framed by God’s Word. For example, Paul wasn’t shy about his Damascus road conversion, but he didn’t solely rely on feelings and emotions to put it in perspective either. He drew from the words of the prophets and patriarchs to frame it. He was always tying his points back to the scriptures. Consider his words:

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”–Romans 10:17 NKJV

Whether it’s a feeling, a relationship, or an experience; look to God’s Word to interpret and process it. And when you give counsel, be sure to frame it according to God’s Word as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean you quote chapter and verse, but it’s about consistency with the principles of the Bible; and that’s when you know you’re giving “good advice”.

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Clay pottery is a common artifact discovered in archeological digs.

It’s often valued for the clues it reveals about the ancient contents and who made it. Someone gathered the material, envisioned a designed, fashioned the clay, and fired it in an oven. The stories told by pottery pieces are about sourcing, purpose, creativity, beauty and more.

As disciples, we too are formed by the hand of someone who gathered the material, envisioned a design, fashioned the clay, and fired it in the oven. Afterwards, the challenge for the finished “pottery” is the “purpose” part. Sometimes, there’s a lack of understanding the role, but often time, it’s a lack of appreciation of the role, not the understanding of it. In those moments, it’s good to remember who did the creating, and who still has the power over the pottery:

“Does not the potter have power over the clay…?” –Romans 9:21 NKJV

Do you understand your role for this day? Do you appreciate it, or do you struggle against it? Are you working to fulfill your role in a way that honors Christ? Pottery should reveal clues about the Maker…

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