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Friday, November 30, 2018

Wisdom and Making Decisions

In review of James 1:7-8 it says, “If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord” (GNT).

Today’s passage comes from James 1:5-8. James tells me that if I need wisdom, I can just ask my generous God, and he will give it to me. He will not rebuke me for asking. But when I do ask him, it's important that my faith is in God alone. I should not waver, for if I have divided loyalty it's much like an unsettled wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. If I do, then I should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, as I am unstable in everything I do.

By "wisdom," James is talking not only about knowledge but about the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances. Whenever I need wisdom, I can pray to God, and he will generously supply what I need. I don't need to stumble around in the dark, hoping to find an answer. I can ask for God's wisdom to guide my choices.

The wisdom I need will have three distinct characteristics:
1). It will be practical. It relates to life even during the most trying times. It's not a wisdom that will isolate me from suffering and trials. It's a wisdom that will help overcome trials. It's more than ideas, it's the ability to put profound ideas into action. Intelligence will allow someone to describe several reasons why the car broke down. The wise person chooses the most likely reason and proceeds to take action.
2). It is divine. It goes beyond common sense. Common sense does not lead me to choose joy in the middle of trials. This wisdom begins with respect for God, leading to living by God's direction, and results in the ability to tell right from wrong.
3). It is Christlike. Asking for wisdom is ultimately asking to be like Christ.

I must believe not only in the existence of God but also in his loving care. This includes relying on God and expecting that he will hear and answer when I pray. I must put away my critical attitude when I come to him. God does not grant every thoughtless or selfish request. I must have confidence that God will align my desires with his purposes.

If I have divided loyalty, then I'm not completely convinced that God's way is best. I would then be treating God's Word like any human advice and retaining the option to disobey. I must trust God, then be loyal to him. To stabilize my wavering or doubtful mind, I need to commit myself wholeheartedly to God.

In addition, divided loyalty on my part leaves me as unsettled at the ocean waves. In order to stop being tossed around, I need to rely on God to show me what is best for me. Ask him for wisdom, and trust that he will give it to you. Then my decisions will be sure and solid.

When God gives me a dream for my life, my eyes suddenly open up to see what he wants to do in and through me. I begin to understand that I’m not just here on Earth by accident. I begin to see his plan, his purpose.

But a dream is worthless unless I wake up and go to work on it. I have to take the next step of faith: decision-making.

I love decisive leaders who can make quick decisions. But quickness is not the most important thing. It’s easier to make a fast decision than a good decision. It takes nothing at all to make a quick decision. It takes a lot of wisdom to make a right decision.

The Bible has a lot to say about decision-making. James 1:7-8, for example, says, “If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord” (GNT). The Bible says double mindedness is disastrous and indecision keeps me from God’s best. Someone whose decision-making is marked by those traits will struggle to make wise choices.

If I can’t make up my mind about what’s really important in life, then I am courting disaster. I will miss God’s best for my life, and I’ll never grow in character.

My decisions determine my destiny. My choices determine whether my character is developed or destroyed.

I will never face God’s true dream for my life until I conquer this stage of decision-making.

Bottom Line:
If you can’t make up your mind, don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.

What this means to me:
If I my loyalty is divided between God and the world, then I will be end up being unstable in all I do. If I'm like this, then I should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

In summary, If I need wisdom, I can just ask God and he will give it to me to help guide my choices. However, when I do ask, it's important not to waver on what he provides me. This is divided loyalty as I am unsettled. If I'm like this, then I should not expect to receive anything. God's wisdom is practical, it helps and teaches me to the right answer and the power to proceed to take action. It is divine and goes beyond common sense. It begins with a respect for God and leads to obedience, which results in the ability to tell right from wrong. It's Christlike, as it is my asking to be like Christ. I must be willing and have the confidence to allow God to align my desires with his purposes. It's my reliance upon him to show me what is best for me. I need to learn to take the next step of faith, which is decision making.

Today, as I learn more about asking for Wisdom and making decisions I need to consider if I am being obedient to what God tells me when I do ask for wisdom? I need to be obedient in what he says and not leave myself the option to disobey / do my own thing. At this point, I’m not sure if I’m really thinking about the dream God has for my life. I will need to revisit this and consider where I am with this. This morning Father I pray and ask for your wisdom and guidance as I make decisions. With the help of the Holy Spirit within me, remind me to think about the things that are your desire and mission for me. Help me to be obedient or realize when I’m not. I ask these things through your Son Jesus name, amen!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Six Biblical Truths about God’s Blessing

In review of John 1:16 it says, “Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another” (GNT).

Today’s verse comes from John 1:16-18. In it John tells me that from God's abundance I have received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart. He has revealed God to me.

With Jesus, I can see Him as 1). The perfect teacher. In His life I see how God thinks and therefore how I too should think. 2). The perfect example as a model of what I am to become. He shows me how to live and give me the power to live that way. 3). The perfect sacrifice. Jesus came as a sacrifice for all sins (including mine), and his death satisfied God's requirement for the removal of sin.

In Jesus, God became man. He was not part man and part God; he was completely human and completely divine. Christ is the perfect expression of God in human form. It would be an error on my part to minimize his humanity or to minimize his divinity. Jesus is both God and man.

Law and grace (the combination of God's "unfailing love and faithfulness") are both aspects of God's nature that he uses in dealing with me. Moses emphasized God's law and justice, while Jesus Christ came to highlight God's mercy, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness.  Moses could only be the giver of the law, while Christ came to fulfill the law. The nature and will of God were revealed in the law; now the nature and will of God are revealed in Jesus Christ. Rather than coming through cold stone tablets, God's revelation now comes through a person's life. As I get to know Christ better, my understanding of God will increase.

God communicated through various people in the Old Testament, usually prophets who were told to give specific messages. But no one ever saw God. Jesus is both God and the Father's unique Son. In Christ, God revealed his nature and essence in a way that could be seen and touched.  In Christ, God became a man who lived on earth.

I hear the phrase “God bless you” on a regular basis. But what is a blessing? It actually means “good word.” Don’t ever doubt this. God has some really good words for me.

This morning I am reminded of six truths related to God’s blessing.

. God blesses me even though I don’t deserve it. The Bible tells us, “Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another” (John 1:16 GNT).

. God blesses me because he enjoys doing it. Any parent can understand this. We love to bless our children. So does God. God says in Jeremiah 32:41: “I will enjoy blessing them” (GW).

. God promises he will bless my life if I obey him. God’s promises and his blessings are not automatic. They are conditional. I’m not waiting on God to bless me. He is waiting for me to fulfill the conditions necessary for my blessing.

. God blesses me as a witness to others. God wants to show off his blessing so that others can see what a good God he is.

. God blesses me to bless others. God doesn’t bless me so I can just store up his blessings and keep them all to myself. God blesses me so I can bless others.

. God’s blessing can be multigenerational. God does this over and over throughout the Bible. For example, the Bible says in Genesis 25:11, “After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac” (NIV).

I should never forget that God wants to bless me. That I’m not waiting for him. He’s waiting for me!

Bottom Line:
We have been given blessings after blessings, because of who the Son is.

What this means to me:
Out of the fullness of God's grace, he has blessed me, giving me one blessing after another.

In summary, it is from God's abundance that I receive one gracious blessing after another. God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus. Jesus is himself God and he reveals who God is to me. Jesus is the perfect teacher, the perfect example and the perfect sacrifice. Law and grace are both aspects of God's nature. He uses these in dealing with me. While Moses emphasized the law, Jesus came to highlight God's mercy, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. As I get to know Christ better, my understanding of God increases. Blessings are actually "good words". There are six truths related to God's blessings for me. 1) God blesses me even though I don't deserve it, 2) He blesses me because he enjoys doing it, 3) He promises to bless me if I obey him, 4) God blesses me as a witness to others, 5) God blesses me to bless others, and 6) God's blessings can be multigenerational. God wants to bless me. I'm not waiting on him for this, rather He's waiting on me.

Father I thank you for the reminder of your blessings and the ways I can see you through Jesus’ life. Your blessings come as I fulfill the things you have told me to do. Seems my life is filled with an intake of problems and distribution of resources to fix them. I rarely get an opportunity to just spend time with people to listen to them and to help them grow. I pray this morning Father for the ability to help clarify my organizational changes I want to make and to fulfill that which is needed to complete any commitments and solve any immediate problems. I ask again for your wisdom and guidance in my leadership and interactions with others. These things I ask in your Son Jesus name, amen!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

God Blesses Me When I Meet with Him Daily

In review of Proverbs 8:34 it says, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway” (NIV).

Today’s verse comes from Proverbs 8:32-35, where I’m told that all who follow his ways are joyful. Therefore listen to his instruction and be wise. Don't ignore or forget them. For joyful will be those who listen. Be eager to meet with him daily. For whoever finds Him, will find life and receive favor and blessings.

Spend time with Him daily and receive his blessings from it. Today’s verse reminds me that, “Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway” (Proverbs 8:34 NIV).

I don’t have to spend hours each day, but I do need to spend at least five, 10, or 15 minutes. It should be something I put it onto my calendar and give it the time commitment it deserves.

During this daily time with God, I need to sit quietly and let God talk to me. Read his Word. Review devotionals. Pray about what’s going on in my life and the lives of others I care about. Talk to God like I’m talking to a friend, because I am.

But more than anything else, it’s about listening. I need to let God speak to me.

It doesn’t matter what time I spend with God. It’s just important that I do it. So I will continue to make it a regular habit in my life. If I do, God promises that He will bless my commitment.

Bottom Line:
Meet with and listen to him each day and you will find happiness and blessings.

What this means to me:
Be anxious to be with him, meet with and listen to him each day. For in it I will find happiness and blessings.

In summary, listen to his instructions and be wise. To do so, be eager to meet with him daily. For when I do, I will find life and receive his favor and blessings. It's imports to sit quietly and let God talk to me. It's more about me listening than my talking.

This morning Father is great reminder for me to listen to you speak to me through your word and the devotional I use. You help shape my perspective and outlook for the day. Today, Father I pray for my day and the work ahead of me. Seems I’m constantly balancing many priorities of tasks that need to be done. I believe my next steps should be to organize my team and split the primary responsibilities between the team members. Give me wisdom and guidance today as I plan my day and the activities, lead my team and interact with others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

Choose Holiness over Happiness

In review of James 1:14-15 it reminds me that “ We are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires . Then our evil d...