Understanding is Knowledge and with it comes Wisdom.

wisdom

Remember the craziness that preceded Y2K? Companies and governments spent billions of dollars to hire software programmers to pore over and correct millions of lines of computer code. All because of a looming catastrophe if computers were to misread the last two zeroes in the year 2000 as 1900.

Ironically, most of us have zero understanding of computer code. The apostle Paul said that wisdom is much the same way. Unless we have the Holy Spirit to help us know the language of God’s wisdom, we won’t really understand it. “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14). People who don’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them quite naturally struggle to grasp spiritual wisdom—God’s Word, his desires, his character, his values. In fact, God’s wisdom often seems foolish to non-Christians. It’s like a foreign language to them. But when people trust in Christ as Savior, God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within them (see John 14:16–17). They can begin learning God’s wisdom while the Holy Spirit helps them understand it.

If we believe that true wisdom comes only from God, where should we turn when we seek wisdom? Paul provides the answer: “’What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit’” (1 Corinthians 2:9–10). In the Bible God speaks the language that drives us—our spiritual operating system. If we want to know God’s wisdom so that we can process the joys and trials of everyday living, we need to turn often to God’s Word and ask the Spirit to help us understand it.

In the way of righteousness there is life.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.
Good people obtain favor from the Lord,
but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.
No one can be established through wickedness,
but the righteous cannot be uprooted.
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
The plans of the righteous are just,
but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.

The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the speech of the upright rescues them.
The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous stands firm.
A person is praised according to their prudence,
and one with a warped mind is despised.

Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
than pretend to be somebody and have no food.

The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers,
but the root of the righteous endures.

Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk,
and so the innocent escape trouble.
From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.
The way of fools seems right to them,
but the wise listen to advice.
Fools show their annoyance at once,
but the prudent overlook an insult.
An honest witness tells the truth,
but a false witness tells lies.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy.
No harm overtakes the righteous,
but the wicked have their fill of trouble.

The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves,
but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.
Diligent hands will rule,
but laziness ends in forced labor.
Anxiety weighs down the heart,
but a kind word cheers it up.

The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
The lazy do not roast[a] any game,
but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.

In the way of righteousness there is life;
along that path is immortality.

Nothing in your Life will be wasted.

It comforts me that God doesn’t waste anything. Every piece – broken, incomplete or whole – in the collections of our lives is made beautiful and significant in His hands.
Just think about the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 hungry people in John 6. The people had followed Jesus out of town to listen to His teaching and watch Him heal. They were all still gathered as mealtime approached. The disciples asked Jesus how He planned to feed the crowd, and Jesus miraculously produced enough food for the crowd from a boy’s small lunch of five loaves and two fishes.
Once everyone was fed, it seemed the story would end, but Jesus had one more lesson to teach. He instructed the disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted” (John 6:12b NIV). It wasn’t enough for Jesus to feed the people until they were full. He wanted every last crumb collected.
There’s nothing that escapes the notice of God. Everything matters to Him. Not only does it matter, but if you are His child, He promises that every part of your life will be used for your good and His glory.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV). This verse tells us that God uses our grief, our joy, our loss, our gain, our trials and our triumphs. Nothing is wasted.
Today may hold hard things—a sick child, a grouchy boss, an unforgiving friend. Or it may hold beautiful things—a new love, a chat with a neighbor, an affectionate pet. Either way, we can trust God that He is collecting the pieces of our life in His hand and creating something more beautiful than we can imagine.

Love Your Enemies

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Generosity will be rewarded

Sometimes you can become rich
by being generous
or poor by being greedy.
Generosity will be rewarded:
Give a cup of water,
and you will receive
a cup of water in return.
Charge too much for grain,
and you will be cursed;
sell it at a fair price,
and you will be praised.

Proverbs 11:24-26

We Belong to GOD

We belong to God.Because we are His, God has set us apart to be different. He does not want us to squeeze into the mold set by everyone else.

This struggle has existed for thousands of years. Israel desperately tried to fit in with the nations around them. They wanted to be like everyone else. But God refused to allow this. He set Israel apart to be a holy nation. He established boundaries for His children just as we do for our children.

In Leviticus 20:26, God commanded Israel, “You are to be holy to me, because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own” (NIV 1984). God set Israel apart to intentionally distinguish them from everyone else.

God did not do this to punish the Israelites or deprive them. Just the opposite. He specifically chose them for good. Being set apart not only was a privilege but also carried with it amazing blessings, far more than they could ever imagine.

Keeping that in mind, it’s exciting to know God calls us to be holy too. He calls us into a personal and intimate relationship. And when we say “yes,” we receive good gifts just as the Israelites did. God gives us a fresh start with Him … a new life where our past is wiped clean. God sees us through the eyes of His Son, Jesus. We are no longer like everyone else. God sets us apart to live a new life in Him.

What I have learned through making the hard choices is they come with a great reward: enjoying the pleasure of our heavenly Father.

We belong to the Creator of heaven and earth. He created us in His image and loves us with an everlasting love. Today, let’s be set apart from others and set apart for HIM by making some hard choices so we may live in the fullness of all He has for us.

Have you taken a risky stand for your faith?

One afternoon at the end of the workday, Dave asked John if he wanted to grab some dinner. While they were eating, Dave commented to John, “You know, you just seem different from the other people I supervise. What is it?” With that opening, John shared his faith in Jesus. Dave nodded his head politely but didn’t enter the discussion.

The next morning, the way Dave treated John suddenly changed. The joking stopped, as did their daily discussions about water sports. After he later lost a job promotion that required a positive reference from Dave, John finally confronted his former wakeboarding partner. “What happened at dinner last month?” he asked. “All of a sudden I feel like you’re treating me like a leper.”

“Look,” Dave replied, “I don’t appreciate people trying to ‘convert’ me. And I have no tolerance for any religion that claims to be the only way to God.” With that, the conversation ended. Within six months, John was laid off.

Let’s face it: Our faith sometimes causes us problems. It’s always been that way. When Paul and Silas delivered a slave girl from spiritual oppression, their actions resulted in a citywide uproar. Authorities accused them of advocating unlawful practices counterproductive to Roman society. The magistrate ordered them beaten and thrown into jail.

While we might not risk imprisonment or beating, when we follow Jesus we do risk accusations of proselytizing or of being too spiritually narrow. Our stand for faith might even result in ridicule, rejection and discrimination.

Paul and Silas responded by allowing themselves to suffer on behalf of Jesus. In the midst of their suffering, they even invited their jailer into a relationship with Jesus.

While we might not suffer to the extent Paul and Silas did, we can still choose to make spiritually correct choices, as they did. We can follow in their footsteps—standing for our faith and even inviting our enemies into a relationship with Jesus.

Acts 16:16–34

Recommended Reading: Matthew 6:21–26; 2 Corinthians 4:7–18; 1 Peter 4:12–19

Making Promises to the Lord

The Lord told Moses to say to Israel’s tribal leaders:
When one of you men makes a promise to the Lord, you must keep your word.
Suppose a young woman who is still living with her parents makes a promise to the Lord. If her father hears about it and says nothing, she must keep her promise. But if he hears about it and objects, then she no longer has to keep her promise. The Lord will forgive her, because her father did not agree with the promise.
Suppose a woman makes a promise to the Lord and then gets married. If her husband later hears about the promise but says nothing, she must do what she said, whether she meant it or not. But if her husband hears about the promise and objects, she no longer has to keep it, and the Lord will forgive her.
Widows and divorced women must keep every promise they make to the Lord.
Suppose a married woman makes a promise to the Lord. If her husband hears about the promise and says nothing, she must do what she said. But if he hears about the promise and does object, she no longer has to keep it. The Lord will forgive her, because her husband would not allow her to keep the promise. Her husband has the final say about any promises she makes to the Lord. If her husband hears about a promise and says nothing about it for a whole day, she must do what she said—since he did not object, the promise must be kept. But if he waits until the next day to stop her from keeping her promise, he is the one who must be punished.
These are the laws that the Lord gave Moses about husbands and wives, and about young daughters who still live at home.

Everyday choices of little unfaithfulness.

Judah’s infidelity showed up in numerous acts of disobedience. The people had fallen into idolatry, immorality and injustice. Personal and social corruption was prevalent. The Israelites fulfilled their religious obligations, but their hearts weren’t in the right place. Prophets, priests, nobility and common citizens were all guilty. God viewed his people’s many acts of independence (rather than God-dependence) as tantamount to adultery, an ultimate breaking of relationship with him.
Most of us can’t imagine how we would ever get to the point of entering into a sexual relationship outside our marriage. And yet adultery happens all the time, almost as often with Christians as with non-believers. And it usually begins with little acts of unfaithfulness that build gradually into bigger ones until suddenly one day we realize we’re up to our necks in a full-blown affair.
So if we want to safeguard the purity of our marriage, we’ve got to be on guard against small acts of faithlessness. We’ve got to ask ourselves questions, such as: Are my decisions to spend money at the mall based primarily on my own self-interests or are they made for the good of my spouse and family? Do I think more about myself than I do about my spouse in making plans for the evening or weekend? How important are the needs of my family in deciding whether or not to take on more work?
If, with God’s help, I refuse to take any baby steps of independence that distance me from my spouse, then I may never take that giant step of adultery. I’m not so overconfident as to say, “Sexual infidelity could never happen to us.” Instead, I humbly say, “Lord, protect my daily faithfulness in every way, both to you and to my spouse.”

1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Cross references:1 John 3:16 : Jn 10:111 John 3:16 : Jn 15:13; Php 2:17; 1Th 2:8

Follow the Lord’s Commands

The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.