Blog: “Discovering His Living Hope”

“Do You Really Want to be Made Well?” Surrender to God’s Healing in Your Life! John 5:1-9

John 5:1-9Amplified Bible

The Healing at Bethesda

Later on there was a Jewish feast (festival), and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now in Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate, there is a [a]pool, which is called in Hebrew (Jewish Aramaic) Bethesda, having five porticoes (alcoves, colonnades). In these  porticoes lay a great number of people who were sick, blind, lame, withered, [b][waiting for the stirring of the water; for an angel of the Lord went down into the pool at appointed seasons and stirred up the water; the first one to go in after the water was stirred was healed of his disease.] There was a certain man there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?” The invalid answered, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am coming [to get into it myself], someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up; pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man was healed and recovered his strength, and [c]picked up his pallet and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Picture the scene: a pool of water surrounded by covered porches.

Bethesda was known as a place of healing.

At certain times of the year, an angel of the Lord stirred the waters.

It was then that the porticoes were often crowded with destitute people who were blind, lame, and paralyzed – waiting to be the ones who were 1st healed.

Among them lay a man who had been lame for thirty-eight long years.

He came! Except there was no one willing to help him get into the pool.

Jesus was watching the proceedings from a short distance away.

Jesus approached asked the man, asking him; “Do you want to get well?”

On the surface, the answer would seem obvious.

Of course the man wanted to be well!

But here, Jesus was asking a deeper question.

He was probing the man’s heart.

Did he really want to be made whole-

-Did he really want to be healed, to be transformed inside and out, healed in body, mind, and soul?

Without waiting for the man to give his response, to tell Jesus his story ….

Jesus spoke to him a second time: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

From a human standpoint, it was impossible for the man to get up.

To others who were listening, this may even have sounded a bit cruel.

But at that moment the healing power of Jesus touched the man, filling his body, mind, and spirit with wholeness.

As Jesus healed the man, he was saying, in effect, “Pick up your mat and be out of here. You never have to think of coming back to this kind of life again.”

The steps Jesus took in healing this man give us an outline of how our Lord meets us today.

He probes our hearts, commands the impossible, provides the power, and tells us, up close and personal, to “be healed, ” get up and leave our old life behind.

What Presence …

What Authority …

What Sovereignty …

What a Savior!

How to Surrender to God’s Healing in Your Life …

At first glance, one may raise an eyebrow at the title of this devotional.

Why would one need to surrender to healing?

We pray for, ache for, pray without ceasing, generally get on our hands and knees searching for healing in so many aspects of our lives.

So why would someone resist it when it is offered to them?

Or is it resistance?

Perhaps, surrendering to God’s healing has nothing to do with fighting against it so much as it is our coming to the realization and acceptance that we need it.

This means coming to a point of humility and admitting our shortcomings or, perhaps worse, the vast diversity our very worst faults, failures and failings.

But then, we may be well aware we need healing.

So then, surrendering to God’s healing isn’t something fraught with resistance or stained with denial, but it is shrouded in the most severest spoken, unspoken actions, expressions, of doubt that God really can bring healing to a broken life.

Or that after an extended period of suffering, He will ever really bring healing.

Have you ever found yourself thinking,

“I know God can heal my life, but I do not know if I believe He ever will.”

Whether surrendering to God’s healing has to do with resistance to healing, denial of the need for healing, or doubting the possibility of recovery, it’s good to step back when in need of healing and take a “selfie” – a clear photograph of your spirit and heart.

What part of “self” might stand in the way of our surrender to God’s healing?

Here are some areas to self-examine and see if any of these may be a part of your surrendering difficulties or process:

1. To heal means to freely and fully admit your weakness.

There’s a verse in II Corinthians 12 that is often quoted when it comes to recognizing one’s weaknesses. “For when I am weak (in human strength), then I am strong (truly able, powerful, drawing from God’s strength),”

2 Corinthians 12:7-10Amplified Bible

A Thorn in the Flesh

Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].

Apostle Paul clearly states his beliefs of strength in the last part of verse ten.

The idea is that to gain strength, one is best set by first coming to the end of themselves.

Only in that weakness can their strength be infused with the might of the Holy Spirit, thus bringing about a strength that only comes from God, Himself.

But let’s step back a bit to a portion not as often quoted in verse 9. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.”

This is a critical portion of the text when looking at the final part of verse ten and coming to terms with your weakness.

Admitting our weaknesses can make us feel as though we’ve been put into a vulnerable and exposed position.

In a way, it’s “waving our white flag” coming before God for healing with naked souls and our sins, failings, hurts, and brokenness splayed with no disguises.

But His “straight to the point” answer in this healing process has nothing to do with pointing out the errors of our ways or making sure we are valid in our hurt, or our ideations or perceptions or our reality of our brokenness is .01% justified.

His answer is straightforward and strong:

“My grace is sufficient for you.”

His grace is enough.

Enough.

1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin!

To first admit our weakness is to place ourselves into the submissive role of someone who needs to be rescued – sit still and accept Jesus Christ is God.

And Who better to do this with than the one whose power is made perfect in weakness?

2. Abandoning denial means you embrace the truth.

The truth can be a painful place to go.

The whole “the truth will set you free” concept from John 8 may be remarkably true, it can also mean “coming to terms” with some very harsh, frank realities.

It may mean you must face the abuses that have broken you.

You may need to travel to some dark places to come out the other side into a place of everlasting living hope.

Denial can be a protective mechanism.

If it doesn’t exist, therefore, there is no problem.

Or, stated differently, if everything is working, then nothing needs fixing.

But are you thriving just because you have duct-taped and paper-clipped an industrially stapled your life together in a way you can only barely function?

Are you experiencing the strength and power of God’s grace being sufficient for you when pretending to be healthier than you truly are?

Surrendering to healing may mean ripping off some bandages that have dried onto the wounds.

The hurts may need to bleed again in order to, this time, be healed properly with as minimal scarring as God will allow.

Can you find the courage to be honest and say, “I need to experience God’s healing in my life”?

3. Surrendering means acting in faith God will keep His promises.

Nothing can kill a dream faster than the disappearance of hope.

So when doubt and trepidation enter the healing process of our brokenness, we can begin to embrace the complexity and diversity of the all of the lies and the insinuations we have weaved that God may not do what He has said he will do.

However, God has promised to heal the brokenhearted.

He has promised to meet our needs (Psalm 23).

He has promised to be the Savior to a bleeding and busted soul (Psalm 22).

Coming before God in surrender may mean we go to Him with speculation and concern.

It might also mean you come to Him and lay aside your perceived ideas of how He will heal you.

In the same way physical healing may not be provided to you in the way you imagine it, your emotional, spiritual, and mental healing may come through avenues and processes you have not considered.

To surrender genuinely does mean to step out in faith, trusting and believing that He is sufficient and can bring healing; not presenting Him with a list of ways you believe He absolutely needs to bring that healing into your life and then stepping back to gnash teeth, bite your fingernails, doubting He’ll read it.

Can you fully, genuinely say, “I trust God to do what He has promised without expecting Him to tell me how and without putting a timeline on it?” (Psalm 24)

Healing is a process.

It’s not a simple one, nor is it straightforward and standardized.

Plus, let’s be honest.

Since when is God predictable in the journeys He takes his people on?

Surrendering to the Lord for healing is, in and of itself, a process.

It’s coming to terms with admitting you need healing, it’s realizing that there will be some tough stuff to relive, walk through, evaluate, and even admit; it’s recognizing you probably won’t know how healing will come—just that it will.

In the end, healing isn’t a simple process with an easy answer.

Neither is “white flag” surrendering.

You may find yourself surrendering to God’s healing in one moment,

then in the next, you’re taking it all back, trying with all remaining strength to wrestle it back from Jesus and rebuilding up your defensive walls once again.

So hold on to and grasp that His strength will be made perfect in your weakness.

That His grace is sufficient for this journey on which you will embark.

And also, know that His healing isn’t a three-step process.

His healing will be customized for His relationship with you and for His glory to be seen and shown to the world around you.

Be ready for great things.

“White Flag ” healing is miraculous, so hold on tight, proceed with great hope!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we give all glory to You, for through Your mighty power at work within us, You are able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. By thy grace help us not to grieve You, dear Spirit, but to kneel, “wave our white flags” to wholly submit to You, allow Your power to have full an maximum sway in us. We thank You for Your gracious presence dwelling within us. We thank You for thy intercession on our behalf. Glory to You in the Church and in Christ Jesus.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Evidence God Is at Work in Our Lives. John 5:17

John 5:10-17Amplified Bible

10 So the Jews kept saying to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and you are not [a]permitted to pick up your pallet [because it is unlawful].” 11 He answered them, “The Man who healed me and gave me back my strength was the One who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the Man who told you, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away [unnoticed] since there was a crowd in that place. 14 Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews began to persecute Jesus continually because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now [He has never ceased working], and I too am working.”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

“My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17).

Always is a big promise.

We cannot uphold the promise of always meaning always any more effectively that we can uphold the promise of never saying never again.

But God can.

He is always working.

Jesus is always working.

The Holy Spirit is always working.

But what is all of this work, and what does it have to do with us?

“Man was created from the beginning in God’s image that he might image forth God’s glory,” John Piper wrote. Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

“So whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Jesus was in argument about working on the Sabbath with Jewish leaders when He said, “My Father is always working, and so am I.”

They were upset Jesus had performed a miracle on the Sabbath.

The Life Application Bible explains

“Genesis 2:2 says that God rested on the seventh day, but this does not mean he stopped doing good. Jesus was saying that when the opportunity to do good presents itself, we should not ignore it, even on the Sabbath.”

Work, in the context of John 5:17 and translated from the original Greek language it was written in, means to work out. 

The days on our calendars flip over with purpose.

God goes before us, behind us, and is with us.

We were created to bring glory to Him with our everyday lives.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear” (Philippians 2:12).

Work, in this context, means to bring about.

We bring glory to God by obediently following His lead on our lives, as the Holy Spirit progressively sanctifies us.

Everyday life may seem ordinary, but if we stretch our perspective to align with the Lord’s, we will certainly start to notice the extraordinary in our daily lives.

What is God’s Work?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God’s plan all along was to save us from ourselves.

He gave us free will, and we chose to rebel against Him.

It began with the original rebellion in the garden, and continues to flood into our current existence. Jesus didn’t pop onto the pages of the Bible in the New Testament Gospel accounts.

The apostle John clarified, He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-5)

Jesus was sent to live among us and die for our sins.

Through Him, we are justified by His atoning sacrifice, once for all (Romans 3:25-26).

He did this to accomplish the will of His Father, so we can live life to the full (John 10:10).

He came to give us an example to live by, though we will never accomplish it in perfection as He did, without sin.

Jesus came to serve not be served (Mark 10:45).

Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10)

Jesus came …. (John 10:14-17)

14 I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]— 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My [very own] life [sacrificing it] for the benefit of the sheep. 16 I have [a]other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring those also, and they will listen to My voice and pay attention to My call, and they will become [b]one flock with one Shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My [own] life so that I may take it back.

Jehovah God’s work is infinite and ongoing, and never ends from the scenery surrounding us to the days of our lives and onto eternity. (Psalms 121, 139)

What is Evidence of God’s Work?

Genesis 1:26-28 Amplified Bible

26 Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

We are evidence of God’s creation.

“Very good,” is the way He described His creation.

“In His image” gives us a sneak peek into the question of what God looks like and is like.

“The existence and attributes of God are evident from creation itself, even though sinful human beings suppress and distort their natural knowledge of God,” James N. Anderson wrote

Psalm 19 vividly expresses a doctrine of natural revelation: the entire created universe ‘declares’ and ‘proclaims’ the glorious works of God.

Beautiful sunsets and scenery around the globe automatically give way to the evidence of God’s creation.

But He isn’t done yet.

He’s still creating.

Scripture says He knit us in our mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

We have unique purpose on this earth, as evidence of Him. 

In a parable Matthew recorded, Jesus said,

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” (Matthew 25:23).

The evidence of His work in our lives is the by-product of the work He has given us to do based on the talents He’s placed in us.

Whatever our age and stage in life, He is working through our relationships with the people He has placed around us.

The work we do is meant to point to Him.

The way we live is meant to lead others to Him.

We are made in His image.

We are evidence of God.

The Great Commission utterly envelopes us as it did those disciples, to ‘GO!’

God’s goal is to reach every heart and soul, and eye and ear, hand and foot with the Gospel, and He’s never failed to keep a promise.

We are part of that promise.

Not because He needs us, but out of His love for us.

The work He gives us isn’t easy, but it’s light. 

 Matthew recorded Jesus words:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

The evidence of God’s work in our lives is the way we live them, in our active and daily pursuit of Him.

Telling of Him, not only with our mouths delivering Gospel truth, but our lives putting it on full display, bringing above and beyond maximum glory unto Him with everyone who comes to know Him, experience Him, love Him through us.

What is Our Part?

Colossians 3:22-24Amplified Bible

22 Servants, in everything obey those who are your masters on earth, not only with external service, as those who merely please people, but with sincerity of heart because of your fear of the Lord. 23 Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve.

Life has a purpose we cannot fully see from our limited perspective.

Whatever we find ourselves doing, we are called to do with all of our hearts.

Not perfectly, because that’s an impossible thing for us to attain.

God wants the totality of our hearts to be dedicated to Him.

Our part is to put Him first, not ourselves and not the opinions or approval of other people. Jesus came to serve, not to be served.

Our part is to serve others, get our hands and feet dirty with all of our hearts.

Paul wrote to Timothy,

1 Timothy 1:14-16 Amplified Bible

14 The grace of our Lord [His amazing, unmerited favor and blessing] flowed out in superabundance [for me, together] with the faith and love which are [realized] in Christ Jesus. 15 [a]This is a faithful and trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance and approval, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example or pattern for those who [b]would believe in Him for eternal life.

Our part is not to lose perspective on our dependance upon Christ alone and our need for constant forgiveness and redemption in this life.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost,” Luke recorded Jesus’ saying (Luke 19:10).

Our part is remembering we once were lost, now are on a mission for the lost.

Our part is communicating we once were lost, now on a mission to labor in the fields of God’s kingdom, to give aid and comfort, a living hope of a true future.

Hebrews 11:1-2 Amplified Bible

The Triumphs of Faith

11 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. For by this [kind of] faith the [a]men of old gained [divine] approval.

To lead, guide and direct others towards the voice of their Savior Jesus Christ.

To be evidence of Jesus to the people in our lives, which brings glory to God.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God, Builder of all things, I know that when I acknowledge your authority and your power that you will make my paths straight in front of me. Please empower me to live a greater life in Christ. May your Holy Spirit who lives in me draw me closer to you. Give me a mind of understanding. Let me see as you see, and not as the world sees. Let me labor as You labored, Let me serve as You first served, let me love as You first loved. I trust your judgment fully and know that my own judgment is limited. I believe you have everything in control, and you will guide me and my hands and my feet, my heart and my soul to labor to exactly where you require me to go. Amen.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Living Life Under Pressure: Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde and Our “Christianality.” Ephesians 4:17-24

Ephesians 4:17-24 Amplified Bible

The Christian’s Walk

17 So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], 18 for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart. 19 And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand]. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way! 21 If in fact you have [really] heard Him and have been taught by Him, just as truth is in Jesus [revealed in His life and personified in Him], 22 that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], 24 and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].

The Word of God for the Children of God

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

I would like to share about the pressures of life we encounter on a daily basis.

It is important for us as believers to recognize that all of the who’s, the what’s the where’s the when’s and the why’s we are bombarded by everyday will have either a significantly positive or a very negative form of influence in our lives.

There are people, places an things who, which if we let them, will cunningly manipulate, pressure us, into situations where we got no business being in.

In today’s world pressure begins at an early age.

There’s the social pressure of fitting in.

There’s the pressure of looking a certain way, financial pressures.

I once told a former boss I needed a raise, that 4 other companies were after me.

He asked me which ones, I said;

“anywhere else north, anywhere else south, anywhere else east and anywhere else west, just anywhere else except here!”

We experience mounting pressures in the workplace, emotional and social relationships pressures, fitting in, making keeping new friends, moving, being a caregiver, divorce, illness, the pressures of measuring up, having all the latest gadgets, the pressures of social media, pressure of keeping up with the Joneses.

Pressure will have stress and anxiety eventually creep up on you and it will get in the way of your daily life, your work life, your family life, social life, church life and even your daily walk in God, the Father, Savior Christ and Holy Spirit.

But my bible tells me …

Something pretty radical and diametrically opposite ….

Psalm 23 Amplified Bible

The Lord, the Psalmist’s Shepherd.

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me],
I shall not want.

He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.

He refreshes and restores my soul (life);
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.


Even though I walk through the [sunless] [a]valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with [b]oil;
My cup overflows.


Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.

Know that when you go to God, He will provide you with every last measure and degree of His Shalom, His peace as necessary to withstand the pressures of life.

Which God did when He sent His Son Jesus to us and Jesus died for us at Calvary.

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, The World, Living Out Our Christianality

Do you ever feel as if sometimes you are two different “Christian” persons?

Under one circumstance you are staunchly Christian because that is what your Mother and Father taught you when you were too busy trying to just “grow up.”

Then you encountered the “real world” where you had to really live your life on your own – you got your first apartment, went off to college in another state or country, you got your very first job in a fast food place or department store and all of a sudden life comes at you at warp 10 – you have to adjust, then readjust?

When you realize that real life is not always going to be, cannot always be really lived, realistically understood by what your Mother and Father had taught you?

Economics change.

Politics change.

Society and Culture changes.

We are caught up in those changes.

Subtly or “in a heartbeat” suddenly we have to adjust life to those changes.

What Mother and Father taught us – biblically or not so biblically.

What the world is teaching us – challenging our perceptions of “biblically.”

Moment by Moment, do I live my life “Biblically versus Realistically?!?”

Moment by Moment, can I live my life “Biblically versus Realistically?!?”

Moment by Moment, should I live my life “Biblically versus Realistically?!?”

Then comes the inevitable progression to inserting the question – “WHY?”

And that becomes the greatest question we all have to grapple with everyday, in everyway we were probably never taught either by our Mothers and our Fathers.

Back in the nineteenth century, Robert Louis Stevenson explored that idea in his short suspense novel titled “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

In an effort to become a better person, Dr. Jekyll, a mild-mannered man of science, develops a potion that can separate his good self from his bad self.

Expectedly or Unexpectedly, what happens instead is that his good side fades more, more away, the bad side turns out to be much more evil than expected.

At night he changes drastically and dramatically and he becomes Mr. Hyde, a mysterious, ugly and violent man whose life can think only of its own desires.

Once Dr. Jekyll realizes his own evil, he makes “the only choice possible” and clamps down on his Mr. Hyde, resolving not to take the magic potion anymore.

But Mr. Hyde has become too powerful, strong, too influential to overcome.

In despair of ever changing himself for the good, Dr. Jekyll commits suicide.

In no way do/would I ever advocate the act of suicide as any solution to crisis!

As such thoughts enter into your mindset – get professional help immediately!

Do NOT ever act upon those self-destructive thoughts – Call 911 locally

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

International Suicide Hotlines

One Biblical versus Worldly Response

Some of you are probably feeling like you’re losing it, you’re at a breaking point.

God is surely, certainly telling you today, Pray! stay with me, I’m going to get you thru this, stay in my will, don’t lose your courage, come stay in my house …

Psalm 23 The Message

23 1-3 God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
    for the rest of my life.

A Father, Son and Holy Spirit Inspired Response:

The apostle Paul speaks of the same struggle in different terms—“old self” and “new self.”

One of the great issues of life is how we can change permanently and deeply so that we look, live and love far more like Jesus and less of ourselves all the time.

Will it take moral effort, or meditation, or what?

In Ephesians 4 Paul says it requires “the truth that is in Jesus.”

There is much to learn about how the power of the cross creates that truth in us.

But today let’s give thanks Christ can change our old self into a new self which honors all of him and nothing of ourselves.

There is a significant difference between the pressures of the world upon our shoulders and the pressure God our Father sometimes want you to grow thru.

You see the world wants to do everything it can to crush you, to drive you into despair, make you feel forsaken, destroy you, but my bible tells us otherwise.

Ephesians 4:17-24 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Have no more to do with the old life! Learn the new

17-19 This is my instruction, then, which I give you from God. Do not live any longer as the Gentiles live. For they live blindfold in a world of illusion, and cut off from the life of God through ignorance and insensitiveness. They have stifled their consciences and then surrendered themselves to sensuality, practising any form of impurity which lust can suggest.

20-24 But you have learned nothing like that from Christ, if you have really heard his voice and understood the truth that he has taught you. No, what you learned was to fling off the dirty clothes of the old way of living, which were rotted through and through with lust’s illusions, and, with yourselves mentally and spiritually re-made, to put on the clean fresh clothes of the new life which was made by God’s design for righteousness and the holiness which is no illusion.

Sometimes there are seasons in which there is one trial after another.

Remember this Verse to the Hymn …. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus?”

“Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Temptations are around us at all times, so we can answer the first part of this Hymns verse with a great big resounding, heaven shaking, “Yes!!!”  

We all well understand that many times in the midst of trials and temptations that our hearts can subtly, so quickly and suddenly lose hope and be tempted to descend into deep discouragement if we do not stay focused and remain in faith.

I praise God that my Savior Jesus knows me inside and out and He also knows very well EVERY single last one of my least and greatest weaknesses within me.  

I pray as I may descend into measures and degrees of discouragement, I may remember to stay in fellowship with Him in prayer and He will reveal to me calm meadows filled with lush grasses and still waters to slake my thirsty soul.  

I deeply this wonderful BFF Friend named Jesus will not only show me my weaknesses but He will enable encourage and inspire me to learn, grow and sitting at His table, to become far strong in those weak places within my soul.  

I encourage you to take your known and unknown weaknesses to Him in prayer, and to ask Him for wisdom and healing.  

To reveal in His times the weaknesses within you that you are not aware of.

Many times it is when we are standing in the midst of hardships that we awaken our awareness of His awareness to areas within our soul weak or broken down.  

We can think we are so strong to find out differently in the midst of a trial.  

Let this not become a constant or instantaneous source of discourage for your heart but rather a source to determine yourself to grow in the midst of it all.

I thank God today that I serve and walk with my good friend Jesus.  

He said He would share in all of my sorrows,

and even though He knows every weakness of yours’s and mine,

He continues to forever stand with us and vigilantly walk beside us.  

What a friend we have in Jesus!!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Most glorious, kind, and blessed God of the present moment, I beg Your grace and Your presence that I might be able to reject the temptations of the enemy and my flesh that drive my mind to obsess on the past or worry about the future. Help me instead to embrace the sufferings and challenges of the present moment knowing that You are with me in them and that if I surrender myself to You and the duties of this life in the present moment, You will give me all I need to endure or overcome any challenge, take care of all matters that are outside of my control, and will reveal Yourself and Your holy will within and through them. By Your grace I reject, in Jesus’ name, all regrets, laments, frustrations, or other temptations that draw my thoughts and attention away from the duties of this present moment and more importantly, away from Your presence and provision. I affirm, invoke, and implore the power of Jesus’ name against the efforts of the enemy to draw me out of Your presence in this moment, and I, by God’s Grace, His Divine Will, my human will, through the power of thy Holy Spirit, choose to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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My Life is Under Pressure, My Faith is Under Pressure, “Even Though My Life is Being Torn,” I Will Make Time for God! James 1:2-4

James 1:2-4The Message

Faith Under Pressure

2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

God has a way of changing us deeply through various crisis points in our lives.

But what happens when God strings together a long series of crisis points?

Eventually the trail of change-points will lead somewhere, like stepping-stones crossing a river – the whole thing is this – the pressure we apply on ourselves of wanting to know where “where” is – where are all of these “crises” taking us to.

As we come to realizing this, our collection of snapshot crises starts to become an “epic” movie with a story line with more plot twists we can shake a stick at.

But how does one tell where the story is supposed to be going?

How does one know where we are being lead to by all of this “story writing?”

The pressure we place upon ourselves to always “have to know” our destination so we can better prepare ourselves, “packing our suitcases” better for traveling.

Last Minute Details – one after the other – from every which direction and we have to adjust our lives to it all – ceaseless change – and ceaseless adjustment.

When our bodies, spirits confronts an experience called a diagnosis of cancer.

Heart Failure ….

End of Life Issues ….

Then something else happens with our jobs, our schooling, our finances –

Ours, our spouses housing situation changes as our, their, health changes ….

Then our children give us a phone call …. Illness, finances, marriage issues ….

And then still try to live a “normal” life ….

And still make quality time for God …. and Trust God to keep things in our lives in good order, make a space, keep a space, be the space in the “peace of Christ.”

That’s not easy.

“My God! My God … Everything in my life is moving too fast for me!”

Dear God … “Stop the World I Want to Get Off – Right Now!”

Multi-Tasking is not everyone’s gift.

Even if it were, repeated multi-tasking over the duration of repeated crises becomes exhausting to our bodies, our minds and our souls – we get tired!

God assures us that he has plans for our lives, but it can be hard, seemingly impossible to tell from the midst of the storm where those plans might lead.

Sometimes it would be nice to have a burning-bush episode like Moses had—something concrete to see through the fog of life’s busyness (see Exodus 3).

Why is it so difficult to determine God’s direction for our lives?

Sometimes it’s simply because we forget to ask.

It’s surprisingly easy to charge into the events of a day without bothering to ask God what he wants from us that day.

Sometimes that can prompt God to allow a minor crisis to pop up as a wake-up call to pull our attention back to him.

When was the last time you asked God to show you his plans for your day?

When was the last time we sought out a direction for our lives ….

When was the last time we simply shout to each and every single crises to do their absolute worst because we know that even when the crisis is catastrophic:

– God is always going to be at His absolute best-and that will be enough for us?

How about just “standing still” (Psalm 46:10-11) against the wind shear, all the wild and wilder and wildest winds, shouting, giving God every ounce of Praise?

How about asking him right now?

Slap a smile upon your faces ….

Declare to all ….

Even though ….

Even Though My Life is Under Great Pressure, My Faith is Under Even Greater Pressure, Even Though My Life is Being Torn Apart,
My God Was, My God Is, My God Forever will Remain My God!

I will Testify ….

I will make my Testimony ….

I will shake, rattle and roll the Gates of Heaven ….

Unto God’s Throne itself ….

Even though my Life Maybe or Actually is Torn ….

I will kick down the gates of hell ….

I DECLARE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD OVER MY WHOLE LIFE!

Psalm 34:1-12The Message

34 I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.

I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.

God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
    how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.

10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.

11 Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.

12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God of truth, Author of my life, Perfecter of my faith, sometimes I not sure if I’m actually hearing your voice, or if it’s just another one of my own cascade of thoughts from within another crisis or confusion or even another spirit. Sharpen my spiritual hearing, Lord, so I can recognize your words when you are speaking to me. Help me know it’s really you, with no doubt or second-guessing. When I’m asking for your guidance in important decisions, give me your peace that surpasses understanding with your answer. Help me remember that your words to me will never go against your written word in the Bible. Give me a clear mind and push out all my confusion. Let my Testimony be one not of repeated Crisis Control, but of highest praise to You!

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Actually Leaving Matters unto God’s Hands: Making the Best Use of God’s Time. Ephesians 5:11-20

Ephesians 5:11-20The Message

11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge drafts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

This passage of Scripture gives us a moment to think about using our time well.

Have you or I or anyone we know ever figured out the best way to use your time?

Lots of books, articles, podcasts, and videos have been produced to share the latest, best and greatest tips on how best to use the time we have in our lives.

Some of the ideas are great for edifying, building relationships, truly caring for others, getting an education, working efficiently, even planning for retirement.

As we grow older, and wiser and more aware of time, many of us realize that we have wasted some time along the way, and so, we may have regrets about that.

God knows we cannot gain back the hours we have spent, but, in the ­power of God’s Spirit, as we do seek to change how we live, we can make the most of the time ahead of us: How we spend our time—with God and with others—matters.

Which is it, Grudgingly or Willingly Taking Time With God ….?

Isaiah 30:15-17The Message

God Takes the Time to Do Everything Right

15-17 God, the Master, The Holy of Israel,
    has this solemn counsel:
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
    and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
Your strength will come from settling down
    in complete dependence on me—
The very thing
    you’ve been unwilling to do.
You’ve said, ‘No way! We’ll rush off on horseback!’
    You’ll rush off, all right! Just not far enough!
You’ve said, ‘We’ll ride off on fast horses!’
    Do you think your pursuers ride old nags?
Think again: A thousand of you will scatter before one attacker.
    Before a mere five you’ll all run off.
There’ll be nothing left of you—
    a flagpole on a hill with no flag,
    a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off.”

Some days when I “stop” to look at my family life, all I can see busy and hectic.

Some days, in my business, in passing, I will actually take the time to look at my family life with quick and fleeting sense of serenity, solitude and thanksgiving.

When we work, we work a lot.

When we are on the road at our employment, we have ourselves to take care of.

When we play, we go all out.

We place high value the time away with our friends doing whatever is “fun.”

When we are home, we have kids to take care of or school events to attend.

When we are at home we have spouses to care for, who take time to care for us.

Sometimes, because of long term chronic illness, we are the one’s who have to devote enormous amounts of time, effort and resources to give 24 x 7 care to.

Sometimes the maximum efforts and resources of our entire families are being drawn into that singular “Christian” effort to care for the ailing family member.

We have homes and cars that require our time and attention to keep in order.

When it comes to church, we could be at a service or small group every other day if we really wanted to devote our times to such a search for our maturity.

It can be hard to put time aside from our eventful days to rest and be quiet before God as our Scripture from Isaiah 30 instructs.

Spending time with God, being quiet before God, away from our noisiness gets even harder when an unavoidable monkey wrench is thrown into our busy lives.

This could be a death in the family, a rebellious child, the loss of a job, or anything at all that is unexpected.

When any of these happen to us, our first response is often to set things back to “normal mode” – whatever it is which defines “normal” for us in that moment.

Under “normal” circumstances, Who would not want to “normally” do this?

We “normally” look for the plans of action necessary to set things in order and not so “normally” we might “take time” to ask God to bless us along the way.

We fall into the trap that action is the only solvent for the unexpected problems we cannot take the time, make any minimal effort to avoid encountering in life.

When many times, we simply need to, but refuse to, to live as the Psalmist and actually make, take the time to “be still and know that [He is] God” Psalm 46:10.

Our comfort won’t come from making and taking our own time to “solving” the issues alone, but learning and knowing God and his ways during our busy life.

Begin taking 5 minutes out of your workday to be in a quiet place and rest in God.

As we begin to make this a habit, we will understand its importance and remember to make more time during our busy lives for God.

How are we spending our time each day?

There’s a cartoon that quips, “We only live once,” and the comeback line says, “We only die once; we live ­every day.”

What matters is how we live every day.

What matters is how we love every day.

The question we have to consider praying over is;

“Will our lives reflect the ­majesty of Jesus, or ourselves, lament our lost time?

Ephesians 5:15-17 The Message

11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

The Paul here desperately urges us,

“Don’t waste the time that you have.”

Aim to live for God, Christ Jesus our Savior and the Holy Spirit with no regrets.

Live abundantly and fully with the life you have been given in Savior Christ.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear God, turn our wayward ears and eyes, hands and feet towards you. forgive us for the times that we have spent ignoring you and selfishly focusing on what is not important. Help us to use our time wisely, honoring you. Thank you for your grace.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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An Attitude Adjustment? How Can We Know ‘Goodness and Mercy Will Follow’ Us When We are Hurting? Psalm 23:6

Psalm 23Authorized (King James) Version

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

One of the great hymns of the faith is “Surely Goodness and Mercy.”

In its verses, this hymn summarizes what is taught in Psalm 23.

The chorus, of which I’m sure you are familiar, simply quotes verse 6.

Please read Psalm 23, then sing along with this hymn (at least verse 1):

A pilgrim was I, and a wandering—In the cold night of sin I did roam

When Jesus the kind Shepherd found me—And now I am on my way home.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days, all the days of my life;

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days, all the days of my life.

If you want to keep singing, then you’ll have to look up the other verse in your hymnal or online, but please wait to do so until after you have finished reading the rest of this devotional.

Of all the words that David could have used to describe the blessings of God, he chose “goodness and mercy.”

In this brief study of this Psalm, we have previously talked about our Shepherd providing for us, about restoring our souls, leading us, comforting us, securing us, anointing us with oil, fattening our lives, and overflowing us with blessings.

David sums all this up as “goodness and mercy.”

Goodness supplies all of our needs, and mercy saves us from our sin.

What wondrous blessings our Shepherd has lavished upon us!

Yet, the focus of this final verse is not on the blessings of goodness and mercy, but on their temporal extent—how long will they last – they will last forever!

God’s goodness and mercy will follow me “all the days of my life.”

This means that God is good and merciful when the days are bright and sunny, and when the days are dark and grey.

God lavishes me with goodness and mercy in the days of feasting and in the days of fasting.

God shows me goodness and mercy when I am in the prime of life, and when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life!

But God’s goodness and mercy are not limited to this life only!

They will be shown to me “forever!”

When I pass from this life to the next, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord.”

I will not be condemned to destruction.

I will not be made to pay for my sins.

I will not be isolated from my Lord. I will dwell in His house forever!

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me, all the days of my eternal life!

What Does ‘Surely Goodness and Mercy Will Follow Me’ Mean?

This verse appears in the beginning of Psalm 23:6. 

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” 

King David wrote this Psalm.

It very eloquently an passionately speaks of the goodness of God.

One of the rewards of being a Christian is the love that God shows to us.

He loves all His creation.

However, submitting to God and accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior affords us special benefits.

As Christians, God’s goodness and mercy are available to us even when we miss the mark.

We have access to Him through Jesus Christ.

We can ask for forgiveness, and it is like we have a clean slate.

You will not receive this sort of treatment from man.

Man keeps a record of our faults and is quick to remind us of who we were.

Sometimes it is hard to imagine someone just forgetting about all the stuff that you used to do, but that’s God. God sees our worth.

He sees the brighter picture. 

Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

I pray that God will help you to grasp what it means to know that goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life.

The goodness and mercy of God especially follows you when you are hurting.

Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saved such as be of a contrite spirit.”

Contrite means to show remorse or be filled with guilt.

You can feel the presence of God draw near to you best when you are in tears.

That is a comforting feeling.

Even when no one else wants to listen, God will draw near to you.

You might say goodness and mercy have not always followed me.

The Bible says that “in this life you will have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

God’s peace will allow us to remain stable in an unstable world.

His peace has already overcome the world.

What is the Context of Psalm 23?

Most Christians learned Psalm 23 in Sunday School, or your parents made you read it at home until you memorized it.

In the Kingdom of God, people are often referred to as sheep.

The church leader or pastor is referred to as the shepherd.

Here King David uses the imagery of a shepherd to show God’s blessing and protection of His people (The KJV Study Bible, Barbour Publishing, 2011).

You might ask, why does my pastor care about what I am doing?

As much as we do not like people in our business, pastors are shepherds.

Ultimately, God will hold them accountable for how they tended the sheep.

We are sheep.

If you go line by line, you realize that since the Lord is your shepherd; you shall not want for anything.

I have heard some Saints say that they do not want for nothing.

Think about your life.

You have everything that you need and many things that you want.

You have so much stuff until you must give it away annually.

I know people with some incredible wardrobe closets.

A lot of people would be happy with just two week’s supply of the clothes in someone else’s closet.

God gives us what we need and much of what we want.

When God makes us to lie down in green pastures, that is symbolism for basic needs.

Verse three says “He restoreth my soul.”

God restores you when life or the enemy seeks to depress you and worry you about the cares of this life.

All humans sleep and should wake up refreshed.

I remember the host of times when I have felt that I had a difficult day, all I would desire to do, is to just go to sleep where ever, when ever convenient.

When I would awaken, I would feel refreshed and just have a different outlook on things.

It is a trick of the enemy to make us feel like our situation is the worst that it could be.

That is why you and I need to discipline ourselves to read the Word of God every single day, pray the Holy Spirit, and find out what God says about the situation.

God as shepherd also guides us. 

Psalms 23:4 says “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” 

We should not be fearful living this life.

God is our shepherd.

Many times the wife and I I have driven by the scene of an accident and thought that if we had been five minutes earlier, that could have been us.

God is going before us and making the crooked places straight (Isaiah 45:2).

We have been, by measures and degrees ill and perhaps even sometimes close to death, but our ever vigilant God sets his rod and staff, keeps us here on purpose.

There are twists and turns on this walk called life, but God is always near us.

Verse five says “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over.”

I have been in both enlisted in the Navy and an Officer in the Army.

I have completed both of their Basic Trainings.

During marches from this point of some place to that far off place called “somewhere else, who knows where,” we sang cadences to keep in step. 

I have often marched to the song;

“You dig one ditch, you better dig two.”

“You never know whose coming for you!”

Often, your blessing is in the presence of your enemies.

Everyone is not your friend, and you are a nice person.

Different people have different motives and intents, but the plan of the Lord prevails (Proverbs 19:21).

Like a Lion lurking in the brush, the enemy of mankind is wily and persistent- constantly looking to redirect our steps away from where God requires us to be

It is important to note that if you know the purpose that God has for you, you need to stick with the plan, aware of the plan and let Him work out the kinks.

You can talk to God about issues and ask Him to fix it.

Sometimes, I am amazed at what He will do if you just ask Him.

It is even better when you can hear that He is listening.

So I try to be careful about what I say and do because I know that He is listening, and we can always on the fact that He will at the most inconvenient of time (for me anyway) “drop a dime” on you and a quarter on me and on those around us.

God also gives us integrity checks.

So step up to the test.

God, your Shepherd is with your every single “pilgrim” step of the way.

What is God’s Goodness?

God’s goodness is His love.

God is love and, God is good.

Many of us can say that we do not deserve to be here.

Sometimes people do not want God to have mercy on people that have done some awful things.

I remember a soul chilling phrase from the movie Chicago when the defendant was asked why she killed someone. She said, “He had it coming.”

I am still amazed about who God chooses to use.

He is not calling us up and asking for permission to use certain people.

God looks at the heart and sees how repentant people are (1 Samuel 16:7).

His Word says that He is married to the backslider (Jeremiah 3:14).

When we sin, we must repent.

God knows that we are not perfect.

He knows that temptation and trials are all around.

We must get in the Word so that we have some help for what we face.

Look to Luke 15:11-32.

Read about the prodigal son.

He came in like a spoiled brat and demanded what he thought was his.

You normally get these things at the reading of the will.

His still living father gave him his inheritance early.

The younger son went away, lived his life as he saw fit and best for him and in the midst of all his presumed joy and happiness, things did not go as planned.

He ended up broke, wishing he could eat any food with the pigs.

He stood up, took a long accounting of himself in his mirror, returned home, presumably by the longest and the narrowest and the safest paths possible.

Amazingly, Radically, His father waited at home, treated him well at his return.

Sometimes, God will allow us to learn, earn our Doctorates in Life, through the “long way around the barn” school of hard knocks, but in His goodness and in His mercy He remains steadfast, waiting at home, stands ready to receive us.

How Can We Know Goodness and Mercy Will Follow Us Every Day?

Episode by episode, long experience, David knew God’s record of faithfulness.

Episode by episode, experience by experience, we too can know God’s record.

If you have been around for any length of time, you have experienced God’s goodness and his mercy and probably never even fully realized it every day.

If you need confirmation, become the prodigal son as he turns away from the smells and sights of the pig sties, turns around, determines that at no matter what the cost in time and effort and risk, steels himself, and just goes home.

Become that prodigal son and on the “journey home” just search the scriptures.

Look at the scriptures from beginning to end and the many clouds of witnesses.

Read the stories, as much as humanly possible, pray the scriptures, purposely become the people of the scriptures – become like Abraham, leave it all behind.

Pick everything up, go to that far off, unknown place where God is sending you.

Where step after step, meal after meal, day after day, trial after trial, tribulation after tribulation, God is setting up your table of abundance in full sight of every single enemy who will seek to stop you in your tracks from going home to God.

How long did it take for the prodigal son to finally crest the hill where he finally saw, took a glance of home – the Lord who is our Shepherd, guided every step!

Along the way, how many fields and meadows and still waters did the prodigal take his rest in, refresh and bathe himself by and long gulps, slaked his thirst.

Most importantly, look at Jesus who God sent as a sacrifice and atonement for our sins – because ultimately – that prodigal son – made it all the way home.

Hard steps?

Absolutely to be expected ….

Yet by Psalm 23, we must not allow ourselves to give up on the goodness of God.

Because our Father awaits us at our eternal home ….

“AND WEI SHALL DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD OUR GOD, FOREVER ….”

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 24 The Message

24 1-2 God claims Earth and everything in it,
    God claims World and all who live on it.
He built it on Ocean foundations,
    laid it out on River girders.

3-4 Who can climb Mount God?
    Who can scale the holy north-face?
Only the clean-handed,
    only the pure-hearted;
Men who won’t cheat,
    women who won’t seduce.

5-6 God is at their side;
    with God’s help they make it.
This, Jacob, is what happens
    to God-seekers, God-questers.

Wake up, you sleepyhead city!
Wake up, you sleepyhead people!
    King-Glory is ready to enter.

Who is this King-Glory?
    God, armed
    and battle-ready.

Wake up, you sleepyhead city!
Wake up, you sleepyhead people!
    King-Glory is ready to enter.

10 Who is this King-Glory?
    God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
    he is King-Glory.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Attitude Adjustment: Our Leaving Matters in God’s Hands. Genesis 16

Genesis 16Amplified Bible

Sarai and Hagar

16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him any children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See here, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. I am asking you to go in to [the bed of] my maid [so that she may bear you a child]; perhaps I will [a]obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to Sarai and did as she said. After Abram had lived in the land of Canaan ten years, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian [maid], and gave her to her husband Abram to be his [secondary] wife. He went in to [the bed of] Hagar, and she conceived; and when she realized that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress [regarding Sarai as insignificant because of her infertility]. Then Sarai said to Abram, “May [the responsibility for] the wrong done to me [by the arrogant behavior of Hagar] be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, and when she realized that she had conceived, I was despised and looked on with disrespect. May the Lord judge [who has done right] between you and me.” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Look, your maid is entirely in your hands and subject to your authority; do as you please with her.” So Sarai treated her harshly and humiliated her, and Hagar fled from her.

But [b]the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, on the road to [Egypt by way of] Shur. And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where did you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your mistress, and submit [c]humbly to her authority.” 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The Angel of the Lord continued,

“Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall name him Ishmael (God hears),
Because the Lord has heard and paid attention to your persecution (suffering).
12 
“He (Ishmael) will be a wild donkey of a man;
His hand will be against every man [continually fighting]
And every man’s hand against him;
And he will dwell in defiance of all his brothers.”

13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are [d]God Who Sees”; for she said, “Have I not even here [in the wilderness] remained alive after [e]seeing Him [who sees me with understanding and compassion]?” 14  Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (Well of the Living One Who Sees Me); it is [f]between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son; and Abram named his son, to whom Hagar gave birth, [g]Ishmael (God hears). 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.

The Word of God for the Children of God

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Today’s story centers on the painful triangle of relationships between Abram, Sarai, and Sarai’s slave Hagar.

The ancient story contains moral weakness, self pity, jealousy, competition, contempt, scorn, rejection, revenge, meanness, and other emotional violence.

When the situation becomes unbearable, Sarai sends Hagar to Abram that Abram should have sexual relations with her and then bear the family a child.

A child is conceived and this is where things really break down.

Hagar looks down with jealousy and contempt upon Sarai in her infertility.

What had started with Sarai good intentions, her self sacrifice to give Abram a lasting hope for the continued future of his lineage, just turned seriously sour.

Sarai blamed Abram ….

Sarai wanted maximum accountability from Abram for Hagar’s behaviors.

Then Sarai said to Abram, “May [the responsibility for] the wrong done to me [by the arrogant behavior of Hagar] be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, and when she realized that she had conceived, I was despised and looked on with disrespect. May the Lord judge [who has done right] between you and me.” 

Abram washes his hands of the matter ….

But Abram said to Sarai, “Look, your maid is entirely in your hands and subject to your authority; do as you please with her.” So Sarai treated her harshly and she humiliated her, and Hagar fled from her.

But now she is in a desperate situation: pregnant and alone in the desert with barely enough provisions for survival.

It all began with a promise from God to secure Abram’s family future.

Time had lapsed and a hopeful, hope-filled promise turned into a situation of impatience and desperation, a lapse of personal faith in God to change lives.

We are greatly shocked by the sequence of events – great promise to an even greater descent into great jealously, rage, humiliation – threatening the family.

Putting the prospect of great hope in a blessed and abundant future in jeopardy.

But the one thing we notice which seems to be missing from this tragic story is anyone’s attempt to seek out God, to pray for change, courage, patience, mercy.

The one thing we do not see is any sincere desire for an “attitude adjustment.”

To caught up in their very raw emotions …. there is no offer of prayer to God.

This instantaneous moment when all Abram, Hagar and Sarai can see is each other trying to sort out an extraordinarily volatile situation by their own wills.

Was grace an unknown commodity?

Was the thought of compassion or mercy an unknown commodity lost to anger?

On the human side … very much so.

Too fast to respond with raw unfiltered emotions is all too soon our first hope, first response for lasting meaningful successful resolution to a hopeless cause.

But, what if we were to counsel these parties and try to insert a moment or two of “attitude adjustment” – set these people apart – insert another perspective?

Remind them in the midst of this, there’s grace and mercy in this raw story too.

Remind them and ourselves of the promise: the presence, sovereignty of God?

The name for God in this text draws from the Hebrew word ‘roi’, which has to do with “looking,” “appearance,” “seeing,” and “sight.”

Abram and Sarai seem to have lost their sight, vision, of God’s faithfulness.

Yet, alone and utterly forsaken in the desert—in her darkest moment—Hagar realizes that El Roi, “the God who sees,” sees her, has never lost sight of her.

Some choose to see God, envision God, prayed, inserted into their situations.

Look for hope in seemingly hopeless situations ….

Believe all things “impossible in our eyes” are always possible in God’s eyes.

Others?

Like Abram and Sarai (and perhaps us?) in that moment …. not so much ….

Don’t we all find ourselves at times in desperate situations?

Even if our circumstances are not desperate, they can certainly be difficult at times, and we can absolutely feel as if we will never have a hope for any future.

Life was harsh and difficult in those ancient of days and even today is difficult, and living in today as a Christian does not mean we are spared those difficulties.

As we will continue to confront and face illness, unemployment, heartache, broken relationships, separations and divorces and other moral challenges, we are always and forever will be confronted by this single fundamental question:

Is their an “Attitude Adjustment” anywhere in our futures?

Is there time for a “God sized” “Attitude Adjustment” anywhere in our plans?

Is God’s perspective going to be even minimally, voluntarily sought out?

Remember the faithful Promises of God for an abundant future of hope?

Not our own hope or lack of hope we exclusively reserved for ourselves?

Lose sight of God’s wisdom to know how we should respond to adversity?

Walk the narrow paths of God’s promises?

Walk the broad pathways which lead to our destruction? (Matthew 7:13-14)

Walk the path of faith or will we try to take matters into our own hands?

Abraham was a man who was just like us—he experienced both triumph and failure in his walk of faith.

God had personally promised Abram to make his family a nation and to bless the world through someone from that nation (Genesis 12:1-3).

Though childless, elderly Abraham and his wife, Sarah, would have their “very own son” who would be their heir (Genesis 15:4).

Abraham “believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” an even Sarah herself received the ability to conceive Isaac. (Hebrews 11:8-11)

But after years and years of waiting, Abram and Sarai’s faith had wavered.

They were expecting God to act in good faith, but now had grown impatient.

Presumably, on a monthly basis, their hopes would rise and collapse—and with every passing month and year, Sarah grew older, sadder, and more impatient.

So it was that they reached an explosive crisis of faith.

They knew that God is real, that God is all-powerful, and that God had promised them a son, but they also knew they both got older and didn’t yet have a son.

Would they allow the questions of their hearts to overturn their faith or would they allow their vision of faith in God to overturn the questions of their hearts?

The verses above narrate the sorry conclusion: they took matters into their own hands, and the “best” solution that they adopted was a destructive self-effort.

In doubting and despair, Sarai ordered Abram to sleep with her maid servant, Hagar, in hopes of bringing about the promised child, and Abraham complied.

Perhaps this was acceptable practice in that time and culture, based on the idea that the children of such a union would belong to the owner of the slave-girl.

Abram undoubtedly informed Sarai of God’s promise to him, and Sarai perhaps thought that this was necessary in order to bring about God’s plan for them.

Ancient and Contemporary 20/20 hindsight being what it is, always will be;

It was the wrong decision.

Doubting that God would keep His promise, they instead sought to bring it about by their own (immoral) actions.

They made their decision based on expediency.

They didn’t ask, What is right? 

They asked, What can we do for ourselves that will “work things out” for us? 

They allowed pragmatism to be their guide over and against faith—and in doing so, they brought about more suffering, more pain, and more heartache for themselves and for Hagar.

They thought intervening by their own devices and their understanding of human nature would simplify things; instead, it complicated everything.

Making Attitude Adjustment, Leaving Matters in God’s Hands

Whenever we set faith aside and apply self-effort, we complicate our lives.

Whenever we seek to take things into our own hands and make our own plans instead of trusting God to keep His promises, we end up with chaos, heartache.

Faith and waiting go hand in hand.

Do not lose heart as you sit in life’s waiting rooms.

It is always right to wait upon God, and it is always right to wait for God.

God sees and knows everything and everyone.

We do not know everything and everyone.

But we can know God more than we do now – if we want to know Him more.

If we want to surrender the sum total of who we believe we are in our eyes.

What areas of life do we need to “make adjustments” to live this out today?

But even in times of hopelessness,

can we adjust our way of thinking an believing we are each Blessedly Assured:

El Roi, “the God who sees,” is 100% watching over us, 100% seeing us, 100% protecting, 100% providing for us all in our darkest hour of need (Psalm 23)?

It is too deep in our human nature, our bleakest moments we too feel all alone.

What is my natural response?

What is your natural response?

What is our natural response?

With a bit of tweaking (attitude adjustment) by the Lord our Savior,

By God’s matchless grace, faithful mercy. one and done forgiveness and love,

What might our “God-Adjusted” responses become?

Job 19:23-27Amplified Bible

Job Says, “My Redeemer Lives”

23 
“Oh, that the words I now speak were written!
Oh, that they were recorded in a scroll!
24 
“That with an iron stylus and [molten] lead
They were engraved in the rock forever!
25 
“For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives,
And at the last He will take His stand upon the earth.
26 
“Even after my [mortal] skin is destroyed [by death],
Yet from my [immortal] flesh I will see God,
27 
Whom I, even I, will see for myself,
And my eyes will see Him and not another!
My heart faints within me.

El Roi, “the God who sees,” has never lost sight of us, promises to care for us.

Surely, the Goodness and Mercy of God do follow us all the days of our lives!

What greater, more blessed assurance can we “adjust” ourselves to believing?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 16 The Message

16 1-2 Keep me safe, O God,
    I’ve run for dear life to you.
I say to God, “Be my Lord!”
    Without you, nothing makes sense.

And these God-chosen lives all around—
    what splendid friends they make!

Don’t just go shopping for a god.
    Gods are not for sale.
I swear I’ll never treat god-names
    like brand-names.

5-6 My choice is you, God, first and only.
    And now I find I’m your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
    And then you made me your heir!

7-8 The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake
    is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
Day and night I’ll stick with God;
    I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go.

9-10 I’m happy from the inside out,
    and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed.
You canceled my ticket to hell—
    that’s not my destination!

11 Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
    all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
    I’m on the right way.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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The Quickest and Most Courageous Way to Make an Attitude Adjustment. Hebrews 4:10-13

Hebrews 4:10-13 Amplified Bible

10 For the one who has once entered His rest has also rested from [the weariness and pain of] his [human] labors, just as God rested from [those labors uniquely] His own. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest [of God, to know, experience it for ourselves], so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience [as those who died in the wilderness]. 12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [a]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [b]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

The 19th-century English preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said the Reformation began when Martin Luther found an old discarded Bible in his monastery.

As he postured himself, he began to read it, subtly God’s Word grew like a seed in his heart and his soul, and the result was a world-transforming movement.

But this gentle image of a seed is not the way the incomparable power of God’s Word is described in Hebrews 4:12, one of the key verses in the foundational idea of sola Scriptura, or “Scripture alone.”

Here God’s Word is described as a sharp, powerful, and precise blade, dividing the whole complete truth from all of the rebellious lies we harbor in our hearts.

Only Scripture has this power—not the traditions of any church, nor the acutely accurate insights of any leader.

As Luther said, “A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it.”

Indeed, in speaking about the Reformation that he initiated, Luther said, “I did nothing. The Word did everything.”

God’s Word, the Bible, has a precision and a power we will find nowhere else.

Will you let it be active in you?

Read it with an open heart?

Let it form the words that come from your mouth?

Let it shape the actions you take?

Adjusting (without our permission and utterly against our wills) our attitudes?

Eventually arriving at the God anointed place where only by knowing and living in and through God’s Word can we please him and serve him in our daily lives?

Is there enough moral courage to let the Word of God take command of our life?

What Does it take to be Courageous?

Isaiah 45:5-7Amplified Bible


“I am the Lord, and there is no one else;
There is no God except Me.
I will embrace and arm you, though you have not known Me,

That people may know from the rising to the setting of the sun [the world over]
That there is no one except Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,

The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing peace and creating disaster;
I am the Lord who does all these things.

Courage back-builds as we spend time soaked in the Truth of God’s Word.

Understanding who God is and who we are as His children allows us to realize our need for Him.

When we don’t know what’s going to happen, God is already there.

He is all-knowing, everywhere, all of the time.

There is no other God, …..

Isaiah repeated three times in today’s key verses.

Any time a word or phrase is repeated in Scripture, we can assume it’s of heightened importance. 

There is no other God. 

He alone is mighty to save.

He gives us what we need to live the lives He’s put us on earth to live, before we even know who He is.

We have a never-ending supply of courage available to us, through Christ Jesus.

His Holy Spirit lives in us, activating a supernatural bravery in each of us who dare to publicly proclaim Him our Lord and our Savior.

The One True God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

There is no other – period!

There can never be another – period!

There will never be another – period!

Our only living hope is in living for Him.

Our only living hope comes from living from Him,

…. as does the courage and bravery we need to wait patiently on Him. 

How does the Word of God define Courage?

Joshua 1:5-9Amplified Bible

No man will [be able to] stand before you [to oppose you] as long as you live. Just as I was [present] with Moses, so will I be with you; I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and confident and courageous, for you will give this people as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers (ancestors) to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do [everything] in accordance with the entire law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may prosper and be successful wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, so that you may be careful to do [everything] in accordance with all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be [a]successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Courage is born from confidence in our Creator.

Courage shows up 124 times in the Amplified translation of the Bible.

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=courage&version=AMP

The dictionary definition of courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

We aren’t promised an easy life following Christ Jesus, but we are guaranteed all we need is the courage drawn from living into, out from, the unchangeable moral, ethical truths in, and throughout the length and breadth of the Word of God to move forward boldly to accomplish what the Lord has set us here to do.

Halley’s Bible Handbook Notes explains “God’s superiority over idols is proven by His ability to foretell the future.

Says Isaiah, our God, whom we worship in our Hebrew nation, not only can do what human beings do, He can do some things that they cannot do: He can foretell things to come.” 

Psalm 27:14 says, 

“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, with patiently for the LORD.”

Courage can be stillness, seeking the Lord and waiting patiently for His direction and wisdom.

Instead of rushing to the aid of others to download a situation in exchange for opinions, we wait on the Lord.

Instead of allowing our reactions to go unfiltered, we wait on the Lord’s direction.

It sometimes takes more courage to be still and silent.

Jesus often retreated to pray to the Lord, and returned strengthened.

Isaiah wrote:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

God is doing all of the work!

He is with us, and He is God!

He strengthens us and helps us. He holds us up in His victorious right hand. Christ Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, victorious over death.

He willingly sacrificed His life for us on the cross, rose three days later, and then ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of His Father.

It’s His sacrifice and His victory we draw strength from!

Moses told God’s people, and Joshua, before they entered the promised land:

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD you God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

God is doing all of the work!

He is with us, and He is God!

He strengthens us and helps us. He holds us up in His victorious right hand.

Christ Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, victorious over death.

He willingly sacrificed His life for us on the cross, rose three days later, and then ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of His Father.

It’s His sacrifice and His victory we draw strength from!

Moses told God’s people, and Joshua, before they entered the promised land:

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD you God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Quickest Way From Timidity to Courage to Attitude Adjustment

Hebrews 4:12Amplified Bible

12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [a]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [b]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Have you ever found yourself in need of an attitude adjustment?

If so, be encouraged, as you’ve reached the most critical step in receiving one by acknowledging and recognizing, confessing and believing you are in need of it. 

Realizing and recognizing there are wrong attitudes in your heart and mind is the breakthrough moment to a new attitude.

So many of us walk around, living day-to-day with no idea we might need some adjustments. 

For sure, God is quick to recognize wrong attitudes in us, even if we think we’re covering them up with our words.

“These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Matthew 15:8).

Although wrong attitudes are often easy for us to see in others, for some reason, they are usually very difficult to see in ourselves.

Because it is sometimes almost impossible to see wrong attitudes within us, what is the quickest way to an attitude adjustment? 

As Hebrews 4:12 explains, when we commit to reading God’s Word, it has the power to cut through our soul and spirit and to judge our heart’s attitudes.

Nothing else in the world has the ability to do so like the living Word of God.

God’s Word Actively Exposes and Corrects Wrong Attitudes

God’s Word is so vital to our daily lives and the quickest way to recognize and reveal hidden mindsets, especially helpful in addressing and adjusting wrong and sinful attitudes.

Because it is alive and active, it doesn’t ever grow outdated or irrelevant to correct current incorrect thoughts and ways of thinking. 

Before wrong attitudes can enter our hearts, God’s Word has the power to stop them before we accept them into our thinking.

As 2 Timothy 3:16 explains, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”

Three Ways God’s Word Adjusts Attitudes

As well, Proverbs 6:21,22 describes three ways it has the ability to help us live daily with the right attitude when we take the time to make it the top priority in our lives by reading, studying, and applying it to our lives. 

”Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.”

1. God’s Word guides our attitudes.

His Living Word will not ask our permission to take the lead in our lives to help us guide our thoughts, Words, and actions each and every day to be aligned with His ways over worldly wisdom and philosophies. 

As 2 Corinthians 10:5 explains, with God’s Living and Active Word,

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2. God’s Word protects our attitudes as we sleep.

Have you ever woken up in a bad mood, feeling disgruntled, upset, negative, and on edge, not knowing why?

Well, that isn’t just by accident.

The enemy of our souls works through the night to influence our thoughts and attitudes. 

But as Christians, we don’t have to wake up with wrong thinking and mindsets because God says His words will protect and watch over us when we’re sleeping, guarding our hearts and minds against the onslaught of the enemy’s attacks.

His Word works as a shield against the enemy’s midnight assaults.

As Proverbs 30:5 assures, “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”

3. God’s Word speaks to our attitudes during the day.

When we’re awake, God will personally speak to us through His Word.

Because it is alive and active, when we take the time to read it, study it and too, know it, God will speak to us through it at times when we need to hear His voice.

Although some think and believe God’s Word only speaks to us in a general way, truth and Holy Spirit reality reveals He speaks through it to our hearts, to our souls and minds in very personal deep, life-changing, transformational ways.

Intersecting Faith and Life:

How is your attitude today?

How is your attitude right exactly in this exacting moment?

Did you wake up in a bad mood?

Wake up on the Wrong side of the bed or the leftover grounds Coffee Pot?

Too many twists and turns and not enough “straight roads ahead?”

Everybody and their grandmother honking their horns behind a stalled car?

Most of us often don’t recognize wrong attitudes within ourselves, or even worse, until somebody else notices us, repeatedly, annoyingly starts tapping on our shoulder, or nudges their elbows in our ribcage and we justify having them.

If you and I are not sure how you and I are doing today, Pray to God to expose any wrong attitudes in your heart and correct wrong thinking with His Word.

A Hand holding a wrench to adjust the brain in an opened human head.
adjusting, fixing or changing, or creating a new ,better way of thinking.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Lord, today, in this moment I must confess that sometimes I choose to focus on the contraries and negatives, instead of focusing on what you’ve called me to focus on. Help me take the words of Philippians 4:8 to heart. Help me to find those Words of Scripture which in every moment of every day, will help me to narrow my focus onto whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, so that my attitude may adjusted, fine tuned to reflect and honor you. As I practice shifting my perspective, keep my heart from growing cold or bitter. Teach me to remember that I am not a slave to my negative emotions. Because of your Holy Spirit, I can tell those emotions to be removed and turn my eyes to the things of you, instead. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Benefits and Value of God’s Wisdom. Proverbs Chapter 2

Proverbs 2:1-5 English Standard Version

The Value of Wisdom

My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
    and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Wisdom, Knowledge and Happiness

As a boy, Charles Dickens knew poverty from bitter experience.

He never forgot what he had learned.

Many of his novels deal with the huge gap between wealth and poverty.

Perhaps the most unforgettable is A Christmas Carol.

Its main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, is a “grasping, clutching, covetous old sinner” who can squeeze blood out of a stone.

Bob Cratchit, his underpaid bookkeeper, shivers in his unheated corner of the office.

But Bob has learned to be content in his situation.

At the meager Cratchit-family Christmas dinner, Bob proposes a toast: “Merry Christmas to Mr. Scrooge, the founder of the feast!”

Mrs. Cratchit objects with the scornful words about Scrooge, but Bob, in all humility replies mildly, “My dear, it’s Christmas … and for the children!”

For all his poverty, Cratchit has wisdom and happiness.

But Scrooge, for all his wealth, has a bleak and miserable “business sense” life.

Here is something of the complexity and mystery about wealth and poverty.

Most people think and deeply believe that wealth brings happiness.

But that is not always so.

Happiness and contentment can exist in the midst of scarcity.

What’s more, the rich can be righteous, and they can be a blessing to the poor.

And just the opposite is equally true, the righteous poor can be a humble and humbled and humbling blessing to the rich – all one needs is a bit more wisdom.

Knowledge of God, Understanding of God through study of His Word, Faith in God, Wisdom from God and living by his love are the keys to finding happiness.

The “Keys” to “Finding” Happiness

Have you ever had someone try to sell you something? What’s the typical pattern a salesperson uses? First, they tell you all the amazing benefits of their service or product. “Our miracle product…

…will lower cholesterol…”
…will help you burn fat and lose weight…”
…will keep your information safe and secure…”
…will give you better gas mileage…”
…will make you happy and content…”

And then once you’re convinced they show you the price tag…

“For only four payments of $999.99…”
“If you only eat Subway for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day…”
“If you sign up for our monthly never-ending subscription-based service…”
“Your monthly car payment can be as low as…”
“If you sign your life and soul over we will…”

The typical pattern is—here’s the benefits and then here’s how you get them.

Today, I want to reverse that pattern.

First, I want to tell you how to get wisdom, then I want to tell you its benefits.

This is the pattern our passage takes and I like it because when I finally tell you the benefits of wisdom you’ll be able to weigh in your own mind if it’s worth it.

So first… 

How to get Wisdom

Wisdom is “skill for living”, but living God’s way instead of our own way.

Once again the father-figure in Proverbs is teaching his son (who we can all put ourselves in the place of) how to get wisdom.

He tells him four ways to get wisdom (not four different ways).

You should do them all if you want to get wisdom.

Proverbs 2:1-5New International Version

Moral Benefits of Wisdom

My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.

The first way to get wisdom we find in verse one.

1. BELIEF IN GOD’S WORD (VERSE 1)

The father-figure says, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you…”

The author Solomon is talking about a father’s words found in the book of Proverbs, but he’s also talking about God’s whole Word, the Hebrew Scriptures.

The word for commands (mitzvah) can also mean the laws God gave his people Israel (Genesis 26:5; Exodus 26:28).

So it’s like Solomon or the father-figure is saying, “My son, if you want wisdom, believe in God’s Word.” 

Each one of us comes to a turning point in our lives where we have to decide the final rule for our lives.

Is it going to be God’s unchanging perfect words and commands that although they are hard we know they are good, true, and best?

Or are we going to choose our own feelings and intuitions and desires and what the world says is best?

God’s Word offers us a firm-foundation for our lives, a foundation that won’t let us down.

But if we choose anything else we’re choosing something that might say one thing today and a different thing tomorrow.

Eggs are good for you. Eggs are bad for you.

Drink coffee. Coffee is bad for you.

Drink more milk. Drink soy milk. Drink almond milk.

Turn right when we should have turned left or stayed straight and narrow.

Stay with Gasoline Vehicles or “Go Green” with Hybrids and Electric cars.

This career path or that career path

How about with what we understand to be the “serious things” of our lives?

Changing and Shifting winds, sands, and crashing waves “defining” what our “correct” Morals and Ethics are “supposed to be” according to the wisest of the most educated, connected, influential, powerful, wealthy “people” on internet.

How many issues can you think or heard of where 10-20 years ago everyone said one things was seriously averse, now today people say just the opposite?

That is generational shifting sands, that’s stormy waters (James 1:5-8).

How about those who “stay the course on the narrow road” and stay steadfast:

“I only want to build my life on the rock of God’s Word that never changes!” 

Resolving the Ceaseless Conflict between belief and unbelief in Christ the Lord.

Does knowledge and understanding the Word of God for His Children and the outpouring of the anointing oils its blessed wisdom still have any relevance?

First, we get wisdom by believing in God’s Word.

2. MEMORIZATION OF GOD’S WORD (VERSE 1)

We’re still in verse one. What does it mean to “store up” something?

Did any of you prepare for the Y2K bug?

So kids, a long time ago everyone was worried that when the clocks on our computers turned from December 31st 1999 to January 1st 2000 there was going to be a computer meltdown that would cause world food shortages and financial errors—basically, the apocalypse to end all apocalypses.

So prepare people stored up canned food, powdered food, dried food, and water and drinks that would not go bad.

Our single person household bought whole shelves of Kool-Aid powdered drink.

So by golly if the world failed I am still going to have a storehouse of Kool-Aid.

And when Y2K came and no one but Blockbuster video had problems I still had my Kool-Aid powdered drink, for a while it tasted good, then I got tired of it all.

Wisdom ended up throwing most of it out, to this day wisdom will not drink it.

I “stored up” for the long term to avert disaster.

But so much of what I had stored up for the long term spoiled, went to waste.

Likewise, God calls us to “store up” his Word within us to avert disaster in our lives.

How do we do that?

By memorizing themes and passages weaved in and throughout the Bible.

I want to encourage everyone to “store up” God’s Word in our own hearts because God uses it to strengthen us, give us hope, and teach us how to live.

Outline, underline, color mark foundational verses from the bible – what text speaks to your heart and to your soul and to your life at the moment you read it.

Put it on your mirror or fold it over in your Bible, somewhere you will see it and memorize it.

Read, study, pray and memorize other verses too, one’s that will remind you of the never ending relevance, significance of hope and God’s love and promises. 

Second, we get wisdom by memorizing God’s Word. 

3. ACCEPTANCE OF GOD’S WORD (VERSE 2)

Proverbs 2:2 says to turn our ears to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding.

Do you ever get in a disagreement and the person you are fighting with says, “You’re not listening to me!”

Sometimes that’s true.

One person is not paying attention because they’re too busy talking or thinking.

But usually that means “You’re not agreeing with me.” 

Proverbs 2:2 is saying to get wisdom we need to hear it with our ears and accept it with our hearts and agree to it with our lives.

We need to open ourselves up and let God’s Words and ways sink deep into who we are.

In Hebrew culture the heart was the core of a person, their true identity.

We do not want God’s Word to go in one ear and out the other, but go in through the ear, through the mind, and down deep into our heart.

When I prepare devotionals that’s one of the things I think about.

I want God’s Word to affect me first but then I want it to affect you all too.

We don’t want to just sit here and hear without listing or agreeing.

The absolute significance of God’s Word and truth is too eternally important. 

Third, we get wisdom by accepting God’s Word. 

4. ASK GOD FOR IT THROUGH PRAYER (VERSES 3 AND 4)

This is perhaps the simplest way to get wisdom, ask God for it.

Verse 3 tells us to “call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding” (NIV).

If you and I want wisdom, pray that God will give us some.

Sometimes prayer is the only step we take.

We ask God for wisdom but we don’t try to memorize and understand his Word.

Prayer goes hand and hand with God’s Word.

It’s like peanut butter and jelly or eggs and bacon or it is like fish and chips.

God’s Word and prayer together make a delicious wisdom platter.

If you and I want wisdom, we have to ask God for it. (1 Kings 3:5-15) 

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (NIV) 

One of the points Spurgeon makes is that wisdom isn’t just knowing how to “be wise ‘enough’ to make the ‘right decisions’,” but wisdom is a character quality molded, shaped, then reshaped by “interpreting” our experiences.

When you and I pray for wisdom it’s not only that we would make the right choice (it is that) but it’s also praying that God would make us into the kind of people who would make the right choice.

It’s praying God would mold, shape, develop and transform our moral and our ethical character so we choose to do we do it with integrity and discernment. 

So how do we get wisdom? 

First, by believing in God’s Word.

Second, by studying and memorizing God’s Word.

Third, by accepting God’s Word,

and fourth, by asking God for wisdom through prayer. 

Now I’ve told you how to get wisdom, but what are the benefits of wisdom?

What makes it worth doing all those things?

What makes it worth signing up for and sitting inside a classroom for?

The Benefits and Value of Wisdom

The point of these things is not just to do them for the sake of doing them, but for the sake of something greater.

Did you ever watch those old Mastercard commercials?

A man and woman walk into a gas station.

As the gas station attendant rings up their purchases he says:

chips: $3
frozen beverage: $2
gas: $31
starting a new life together: priceless… 

But then the woman shakes her head “no” so the gas station attendant tries again.

rekindling a fire that never went out? (she shakes her head again)
satisfying a much-needed slushy fix?… Priceless.

So what’s the priceless things we are seeking by pursuing wisdom?

God himself. 

Proverbs 2:5-6New International Version

then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Verse 5 says if we seek wisdom, “then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

The fear of the Lord is believing that God’s “threats are real and his promises are true”.

Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave shows us that God’s threats are real—that if we don’t deal with our sins he will put us to death—but his promises are real—that if we put our faith and trust in him he will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It’s as we come to understand who God is through Christ Jesus that we begin to actually know God.

Do you want to know about God or know God?

You might know a lot of things about your favorite celebrity or professional sports athlete, you might know what movies they’re in or their batting average, but that doesn’t mean you know them.

There’s a simple test for if you know them.

Do they know you?

If I were to walk up to Tom Cruise or Tom Brady and if I were to name drop your name what would they say?

“Oh yeah. I know him!” Or more likely … “I am sorry, Who?” 

Come with me one step further.

If I were to walk up to God and to name drop your name what would he say?

“Oh yes, I know him/her. I love him/her very much … Or “I am sorry, Who?”

We seek wisdom because we’re seeking God.

We want to know him.

But the next verse tells us this is only possible by God’s grace.

Proverbs 2:6 
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (NIV)

We can only know God if we want to acknowledge God, to know us.

We can only acquire wisdom if God wants to give it to us.

It’s both an “as we seek” and an “as he gives” kind of exchange.

We seek to obey and know God and God gives us a relationship with him.

Or put it in the reverse.

God gives us a relationship with him and so we obey and know God. 

What’s the priceless benefit of wisdom? Knowing God himself. 

The benefits just keep growing out of this.

If you know God you are part of the family and God protects you.

Proverbs 2:7-8New International Version

He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Benefit and Value of God’s Protection (Verses 7-19)

Proverbs 2:7-19 New International Version

He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you.

12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
    from men whose words are perverse,
13 who have left the straight paths
    to walk in dark ways,
14 who delight in doing wrong
    and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
15 whose paths are crooked
    and who are devious in their ways.

16 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
    from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
17 who has left the partner of her youth
    and ignored the covenant she made before God.[a]
18 Surely her house leads down to death
    and her paths to the spirits of the dead.
19 None who go to her return
    or attain the paths of life.

God’s wisdom grants us protection from potential disasters.

I don’t mean natural disasters but rather God’s wisdom protect us from ourselves, from bad things we might do.

God’s wisdom protects us from:

  • Committing injustice (v9-11) – Sinning against others by treating them unfairly. If God gives us his wisdom we will want to treat others with fairness and equity even at cost to ourselves.
  • Wicked men (or women) who love sin (v12-15) – “those who take advantage of others for their own gain.” As God grants us wisdom and character like His we won’t be drawn to them but will learn how to recognize them for who they are.
  • Unfaithful women (or men) who break their marriage promise (v16-19) Verse 16 says that “Wisdom will save you […] from the wayward woman with her seductive words.” (NIV) Sometimes beauty might cause a break in marriage vows but often it is words, words of affirmation and acceptance. It’s a listening ear. Emotional adultery comes before acting it out. God gives us wisdom so we know how to stay away from relationships that lead to this kind of disaster.

But there’s one more benefit to wisdom. 

A FOREVER HOME WITH GOD (VERSES 20 to 22)

Proverbs 2:20-22New International Version

20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will live in the land,
    and the blameless will remain in it;
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
    and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

Proverbs 2:21 says, “For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it;” (NIV)

It’s an interesting way to close this passage in Proverbs because it’s a reminder to the Israelite people that they get to stay in the promised land if they obey God and keep his commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). 

But where’s the promise for us?

The benefits of wisdom are knowing God, protection from mistakes in this life, and an eternal home with God in the life to come.

Hebrews says that the heroes of our faith “were longing for a better country—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).

If that’s you, if you are the one longing for a better home, then pursue wisdom.

Seek God by believing his Word, memorizing it, accepting it, and prayer.

John 14:5-14New International Version

Jesus the Way to the Father

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Wisdom is a gift, but it’s a gift we help work for.

Knowing God is a gift!

Spending eternity with him is a gift!

His protection is a gift!

But they are gifts we have to choose to seek by choosing to seek His wisdom.

John 14:1-3New International Version

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Let our hearts not be troubled.

Believe in God!

Believe in His Resurrected Son, Jesus!

Believe in God’s Holy Spirit!

Let our Hearts Seek His wisdom and we WILL find our forever home with God!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Holy God, Word made flesh,
let us come to this word open to being surprised.
Silence our agendas; banish our assumptions; cast out our casual detachment.
Confound our expectations; clear the cobwebs from our ears;
penetrate the corners of our hearts with this word.
We know that you can, we pray that you will,
and we wait with great anticipation. Amen.

Empty us, Great God, of all that prevents us
from hearing what you want us to hear.
Empty us of our preconceptions,
our preoccupations and our prejudices.
Empty us that we might be filled
with your Spirit and your Word.
Empty us that we might be filled for ministry and mission.
In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Calm us now, O Lord, into a quietness that heals and listens.
Open wounded hearts to the balm of your Word.
Speak to us in clear tones so that we might feel our spirits leap for joy
and skip with a living hope as your resurrection witnesses. Amen.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Prerequisites for Purposeful Living: “Give Ear and Hear My voice, Listen and Hear My Speech.” Proverbs 2:1-5

Proverbs 2:1-5 The Message

Make Insight Your Priority

1-5 Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
    collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
    set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
    and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
    like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
    you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

On a brochure I saw in the Narthex of a new church I read these words in red:

“If I am really a Christian … then why isn’t Jesus Christ more real in my life?”

It made for rather interesting reading considering the church was a new plant and had only opened its doors to the community a scant ninety days before.

It was actually quite thought provoking – even more so than I first expected.

If you have ever wondered about that, “why isn’t Jesus more real to me,” you should know that you are not the first and you will not be the last one either.

Even writers of the Bible, especially the psalmists, wrestled with this question.

Even the Book of Proverbs offers its readers many intriguing statements which even today have turned into contemporary Parent to Children admonishments.

1. Many hands make light work

When many people work together to accomplish a difficult task, it doesn’t seem so difficult. That is the general meaning of this proverb. In other words, if many people work together, the work is easier and is usually completed more quickly.

2. Honesty is the best policy

It is best to always be honest and tell the truth, even when telling the truth hurts you. By doing so, humbling self will win the trust and respect of others.

3. Don’t judge a book by its cover

Don’t be too quick to form an opinion or make a judgment about someone or something based on its outward appearance – you could embarrass yourself.

4. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way

If your desire to accomplish something is strong enough, you will find a way to do it.

5. Actions speak louder than words

A person’s true character can be seen by what he does, not by what he says. A person can talk as much as he wants, but he may not actually do anything to back up his words. All the bluster and bravado of leadership loses its luster if the one doing all of the bragging inevitably does nothing, retreats from their words.

6. Always put your best foot forward

The meaning of this proverb is that you should always try your best to make a good first impression on others; reveal and show your best traits and qualities.

7. Do not be wise in thine own eyes

The meaning of this proverb is very clear: the consistent witness of Scripture is that Jehovah God and God alone is the One, only true source of wisdom and life.

If we are faith-filled and faithful in following Him, He will “abundantly” bless us; if not, in our own self righteousness, we risk significant peril and judgment.

One of the most dangerous traps we can fall prey to is justifying ourselves based on our own self reported, ideals, definitions and understandings of judgment.

When we assume that we are more in the right than not and others are more in the wrong than not, including “God is more wrong,” it is a recipe for disaster.

When we automatically assume we are smarter than others, then find out we are not … much to our detriment and personal embarrassment – “eating crow.”

When we try to assume that our understanding of smart is the same as God’s and we come up square against the mirrors of our wildest display of ignorance.

The Book of Proverbs puts our perspective of our lives directly in God’s face, the end result is we invariably learn we are neither smarter nor wiser than anyone.

God desires we understand balancing our life, morals and ethics with His Ways.

We desire and boast of our own abilities, about how we ourselves balance our own lives with our own understanding of own morals and ethics absent God.

There are many reasons, of course, why people might sometimes feel that way.

I will let each reader draw from their own experiences for their own rationales.

Wisdom of Self Reliance versus Wisdom of Reliance on God and God alone?

One place to start in reflecting on this is to recognize that God highly desires and also highly values an ever growing spiritual depth, maturity in his people.

Not necessarily intellectual depth or all kinds of biblical knowledge —though these things are good—but connectional depth in relationship with God, as opposed to the shallowness, superficiality of human to human relationships.

“That we may know HIM more, that we may know OUR selves less.” (John 3:30)

Proverbs 2:1-5 talks about accepting and storing up and turning our ear and soul and applying our heart and calling out for insight and crying aloud for greater and greater understanding of God and looking and searching for God.

It uses action words like these; applying, calling, crying, looking, searching for, to describe what we should be actively engaging in our daily pursuit of wisdom.

Bottom line?

If we want to have it,

If we have to want it,

We have to be willing to engage in a process which involves actual action.

We have to be fully committed to the pursuit, wantonly going after wisdom.

It will take an enormous amount of work, and it will take your whole heart.

Most things, which nowadays, humanity is quite more reluctant to engage in.

But, without that, God, Jesus and Holy Spirit—and wisdom—won’t seem real.

With my eyes being widened from their slumber ….

With a constant sensation of a “tap tap tap” upon my shoulders ….

With someone or something putting their “elbows” into my side ….

With my interest being peaked ….

With my soul being quickened by something or someone ….

It makes me want to dig a little deeper, again.

It makes me want to listen more to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say to me.

“Where is Jehovah God nudging me towards … what future with what hope?”

What if we really listen and hear what God really says in Proverbs?

Proverbs 2:1-5 Amplified Bible

The Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security

2 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,

So that your ear is attentive to [skillful and godly] wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding [seeking it conscientiously and striving for it eagerly];


Yes, if you cry out for insight,
And lift up your voice for understanding;

If you seek skillful and godly wisdom as you would silver
And search for her as you would hidden treasures;


Then you will understand the [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome]
And discover the knowledge of God.

Have you ever thought about the difference between hearing and listening?

Did you know there was a real difference?

To “listen” means that we are paying attention to the sound, thoughtful and considerate attention to the sound.

To “hear” refers to perceiving something with our ears, kind of like seeing with our ears.

In the long and winding concourse of living and loving life today there are quite literally hundreds of diverse noises a day which are competing for our attention.

There are so many different noises and sounds that most of us do not pay very much attention to most of them – we shut them out as “background noises.”

The television can be on, the phone ringing, video games blasting, radios in our ears and everyone in my house talking at once and I can still tune most of it out.

It is not I am not hearing all the cacophony of noise, but I am not listening to it.

But all of that discipline of “tuning out,” and “not listening” carries a big risk.

What else am I “tuning out,” or “not hearing” or “listening to?”

Psalm 19:1-3 Amplified Bible

The Works and the Word of God.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

19 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And the expanse [of heaven] is declaring the work of His hands.

Day after day pours forth speech,
And night after night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there [spoken] words [from the stars];
Their voice is not heard.

My Mom used to tell me when everything seemed to be going backwards;

“Look unto the sun by day and the stars by night and know it will be alright!”

God gave us eyes to see the sunshine, beauty and grandeur of nature around us.

God gave us a curiosity that when we see the stars at night – we have to know just how many of them we can count – so we lie back on the ground and count.

God also gave each and everyone of us two ears to hear the beauty of sound and one mouth, He gave us the ability to listen so that the sound can be understood.

When both hearing and listening and minimal speaking working together in unison, we have a quiet, quieted, understanding of the purpose of the sound.

You can hear music and feel music but not actually listen to the words.

When both music and lyrics are understood, the beauty and meaning of the whole song is revealed to you.

You can hear the words of a person speaking to you, but if you truly listen to the person, you will better understand their heart, the meaning behind their words.

The same principle holds true with God’s Word.

We can hear the Word preached, taught and read.

We can read the Word ourselves and hear our own voices speak it.

But, when we really listen to God’s Word, then our understanding begins to change.

So many times, people leave church after having heard a sermon and not ever remember anything about it.

When we look up to the heavens, we may only hear the sound of the winds rushing through the trees, crickets or the frogs in the pond, birds in the air.

We cannot see the winds nor the crickets nor the frogs nor the birds in the air.

We know they are there because we can hear the sounds of the winds through the leaves, from rubbing of the crickets legs, frogs croaking and birds singing

When we are listening and giving consideration to what we are hearing, we will leave thinking about what we just heard.

The next step is to start talking back to God, asking Him to open up more of our hearts and souls to understanding what is being communicated from all sides.

Take time today, think about how much you hear versus how much you listen.

How much are you missing of what God has for you?

Is He talking to you but you are not paying attention?

Take your Bible, dust off its cover and read today’s text from Proverbs 2:1-5.

Instead of just reading the words and hearing them in our heads, pray the Holy Spirit will give us the power to listen, to understand the message God has for us.

When the Word of God truly becomes His voice in our life, then our hearing and our listening will open up our souls unto a new world of understanding for us.

Our lives are guaranteed to change.

But it all begins with God’s wisdom which comes from understanding the difference between hearing and listening—so, start listening to God today.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Jehovah God, Lord of wisdom, Author of my life, there are so any truths to sort out, so many ways of understanding what my eyes behold and what my ears hear, I cannot listen to it all for it is just too overwhelming. Being overwhelmed, I am sometimes finding understanding the wisdom of Bible to be difficult. I know you want me to apply your word to my life. I thank you for giving me your word so I can grow in my relationship with you. Help me to grasp what you want me to know as I read your revealed word. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Be my teacher, so I can live and obey your word. Thank you for your wise advice. Amen.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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