God's Wisdom Revealed
After exposing the futility of worldly thinking in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul introduces Christians to the higher realm of godly wisdom. This kind of knowledge and understanding isn't available through human intelligence and reasoning; it comes strictly through divine revelation. Only those indwelt by God's Spirit have "the mind of Christ" (v. 16) and access to "the things freely given" to them by God (v. 12).
Without this supernatural insight, no one can accurately know the Lord or His ways. Many people say they believe in God yet may not have a correct understanding of Him because their perceptions are based on their own thoughts and ideas. It's easier to custom-design a god to fit our preferences than to make the required adjustments that worship of the one true God demands.
Even believers need to guard against trying to fit God into their preconceived image of Him. The Bible is the only reliable source of divine revelation, but we must be careful to consider the Scriptures as a whole—it's critical that we don't just pick and choose the verses we want to believe. For example, by focusing only on passages that emphasize the Lord's lovingkindness while excluding those that speak of His holiness and justice, we misunderstand His true nature.
~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
In Touch Ministries
“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” Luke 2:15.
What is the great need in the world today? Is it information? We’re drowning in a sea of information. If information is what we need, God would have sent an educator. Is it technology? If technology had been the need, God would have sent a scientist. Is it money? Do you think your problems would be solved if you had more money? If money were the need, God would have sent an economist. Is the need more leisure? Maybe God should have sent an entertainer.
No. Our great need is salvation. And so God sent a Savior.
I’m amazed (and blessed) that He sent the message to humble shepherds. Old Herod, the King, never did quite get it. He never did understand. But humble shepherds understood the message. Why? Because “God has hidden these things from the wise and the prudent and has revealed them unto babes” (Luke 10:21).
Do you want to understand who Jesus Christ is today? Then lay your intellectual pride in the dust, come to Him and say, “Lord, reveal this truth to me.” Sing it and follow it: “O come let us adore Him, Christ the LORD.”
Love Worth Finding Ministries~
God Is Our Ally
"But if thou shalt indeed obey His voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries" (Exodus 23:22).
The LORD Christ in the midst of His people is to be acknowledged and obeyed. He is the vice-regent of God and speaks in the Father's name, and it is ours implicitly and immediately to do as He commands. We shall lose the promise if we disregard the precept. To full obedience how large the blessing! The LORD enters into a league with His people, offensive and defensive. He will bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us. God will go heart and soul with His people and enter in deepest sympathy into their position. What a protection this affords us! We need not concern ourselves about our adversaries when we are assured that they have become the adversaries of God. If Jehovah has taken up our quarrel, we may leave the foemen in His hands. So far as our own interest is concerned we have no enemies; but for the cause of truth and righteousness we take up arms and go forth to conflict. In this sacred war we are allied with the eternal God, and if we carefully obey the law of our LORD Jesus, He is engaged to put forth all His power on our behalf. Wherefore we fear no man.
Key #8 to Effective Prayer—Forgiveness
An important key to effective prayer is your relationship with others. In Mark 11:24-26 Jesus says,
"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Pretty strong, isn't it? Jesus cited unforgiveness as the number one reason for unanswered prayer. If my prayers were not being answered, this would be the first place I would look—into my own heart, to see whether I had allowed bitterness toward another human being to reside there. Whether I was harboring a grudge or had strife in my heart toward anyone else.
Jesus said if you have anything against anyone, anything—big or small, new or old—or anyone—yourself, your husband, your wife, a family member, a loved one, a neighbor, a co-worker, a relative, an enemy—if you have anything against anyone, it will lead to unanswered prayer.
Sometimes people hold things against themselves. They do not forgive themselves, even after God has forgiven them and after others have forgiven them. They just want to whip themselves for their stupidity for falling into the same stupid sin again, or for whatever they have done, and they don't release themselves!
There are others too, including those closest to us, whom we must forgive. If your prayers are not being answered, then look there.
Perhaps you have searched the Scriptures, filled your heart with the Word, you are praying from the bottom of your heart, and you are expectant of answers; but before you can partake of the fruit of your prayers, you must forgive if you have anything against anyone!
My people shall dwell in quiet resting places.
Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate, they are the peculiar possession of the Lord's people, and of them only. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon Him. When man was unfallen, his God gave him the flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting places; alas! how soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence. In the day of universal wrath when the flood swept away a guilty race, the chosen family were quietly secured in the resting-place of the ark, which floated them from the old condemned world into the new earth of the rainbow and the covenant, herein typifying Jesus, the ark of our salvation. Israel rested safely beneath the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying angel smote the first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of the pillar of cloud, and the flowing rock, gave the weary pilgrims sweet repose. At this hour we rest in the promises of our faithful God, knowing that His words are full of truth and power; we rest in the doctrines of His word, which are consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of His grace, which is a haven of delight. More highly favoured are we than David in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none can invade or destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet resting-place of His people, and when we draw near to Him in the breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to Him to be the return of peace to our spirits.
"I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice, and I have peace with God.
'Tis everlasting peace, sure as Jehovah's name,
'Tis stable as His steadfast throne, for evermore the same:
The clouds may go and come, and storms may sweep my sky,
This blood-sealed friendship changes not, the cross is ever nigh."
Today's reading: 2 Kings 8:1-6
Elisha's servant Gehazi is back in the picture. The last we saw of Gehazi was in 2 Kings 5:15-27 where Elisha struck him with leprosy because he acted upon his greed, acquiring money and possessions from Haaman untruthfully. As we reach 2 Kings 8, several years have passed (at least seven since the earlier event was prior to the seven year famine) and what we discover is that despite Gehazi's punishment, he is still faithfully serving Elisha and doing it with a good attitude about Elisha and God.
No one enjoys being disciplined, but when it happens we have a choice to make. We can either respond positively--growing and learning from the painful experience by acknowledging our wrongdoing, accepting the resulting consequences, and then changing our behavior going forward. Or we can respond negatively--making no changes but instead getting angry, refusing to take responsibility, and harboring a bad attitude and an unchanged heart.
How have you responded when you've experienced God's discipline? Why is discipline so important? What are some of its benefits?
Do you know what makes you, you? Have you identified the features that distinguish you from every other human who has inhaled oxygen? You have an acreage to develop, a lot in life. Paul said in Galatians 6:4 to make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you’ve been given, and then sink yourself into that.
No one else is like you! What do you do well? What do people ask you to do again? What task comes easily? Your skill set is your road map. It leads you to your territory. Take note of your strengths. They are bread crumbs that will lead you out of the wilderness. God loves you too much to give you a job and not the skills. Identify yours! 1 Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies.”
I will give you the treasures of darkness (Isaiah 45:3).
In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are certain rooms devoted to the spinning of the finest and most delicate patterns. These rooms are altogether darkened, save for a light from one very small window, which falls directly upon the pattern. There is only one spinner in the room, and he sits where the narrow stream of light falls upon the threads of his weaving. "Thus," we are told by the guide, "do we secure our choicest products. Lace is always more delicately and beautifully woven when the worker himself is in the dark and only his pattern is in the light."
May it not be the same with us in our weaving? Sometimes it is very dark. We cannot understand what we are doing. We do not see the web we are weaving. We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our experience. Yet if we are faithful and fail not and faint not, we shall some day know that the most exquisite work of all our life was done in those days when it was so dark.
If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears.
--J. R. Miller
The shuttles of His purpose move
To carry out His own design;
Seek not too soon to disapprove
His work, nor yet assign
Dark motives, when, with silent tread,
You view some sombre fold;
For lo, within each darker thread
There twines a thread of gold.
He knows the way you plod;
But leave the thread with God.
~L. B. Cowman~