When Giving Advice: “It is always wise, wiser, and wisest to pay close, closer, closest attention to who you pay close, closer, closest attention to.” 1Kings 12

The Bible tells us to seek advice.

But not all advice is good advice.

It pays to pay attention to whom you pay attention to.

But how do I know the difference between good advice and bad?

In my files I have the following pieces of advice that you may want to consider:

· Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

· Never buy a car you cannot push to the service station five miles away.

  • When everything’s coming your way, you’re probably in the wrong lane.

· Find out what you do not do well, then do not do it.

· Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have any legs to stand on.

· An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of bandages and adhesive tape.

· It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

The world is filled with people who would like to give us advice.

And the Bible SAYS it is a good thing to listen to advice.

For example:

Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”

Proverbs 15:22 “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 19:20-21 “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.

Proverbs 16:1 “The plans and reflections of the heart belong to man,
But the [wise] answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

Interestingly enough those proverbs were written by Solomon for the benefit of his sons – those who would come to sit on the very throne of Israel after he died.

Repeatedly – throughout Proverbs – Solomon would say things like this:

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:8

From One Generation to the next, we try to impart the very best advice to then that they might come to avoid making the same mistakes we made, they would come to make better, sounder and much more thoroughly considered decisions.

But does this always work?

It would be so much greater than great for everyone in whole the world if it did.

But as we are about to read and consider from our biblical text – our answer is:

Obviously, Unfortunately, Ultimately, NOT!

1 Kings 12:1-19Amplified Bible

King Rehoboam Acts Foolishly

12 Rehoboam went to [a]Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. Now when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard about it, he was living in Egypt (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon)So they sent word and called for him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, “Your father made our yoke (burden) heavy; so now lighten the hard labor and the heavy yoke your father imposed on us, and we will serve you.” Rehoboam replied to them, “Leave for three days, then come back to me [for my decision].” So, the people left.

King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served and advised his father Solomon while he was still alive and said, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” They spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant their request, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he [b]ignored the advice which the elders gave him and consulted the young men who grew up with him and served him. He said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke (burden) which your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who had grown up with him answered, “This is what you should say to this people who told you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but as for you, make our yoke lighter’—say this to them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins [and my reign will be even more severe]. 11 And now, whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with [c]scorpions.’”

12 Jeroboam and all the people came back to Rehoboam on the third day, just as the king had instructed, saying, “Return to me on the third day.” 13 The king answered the people harshly and [d]ignored the advice which the elders had given him, 14 and spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but as for me, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for the situation was from the Lord, so that He might fulfill His word which He spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

The Kingdom Divided, Jeroboam Rules Israel

16 So when all [the ten northern tribes of] Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people replied to the king, saying,

“What portion do we have in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
To your tents, O Israel!
Look now after [e]your own house, David!”

Then Israel went back to their tents. 17 But as for the sons (descendants) of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah [including Benjamin], Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then King Rehoboam sent [f]Adoram, who was in charge of the forced labor [to represent him], and all Israel stoned him to death. And King Rehoboam quickly mounted his chariot to escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel (the ten northern tribes) has rebelled against the house (royal line) of David to this day (the date of this writing).

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Solomon’s oldest son was Rehoboam.

Solomon’s oldest son was Rehoboam, and today we’re reading about the day Rehoboam sought that very kind of advice.

When Solomon died, his throne was passed down to his eldest son Rehoboam.

Rehoboam was approached by his people saying they needed relief from the high taxes his father had imposed during his reign to build the Temple and to govern and run the kingdom.

Wisely, Rehoboam asked for 3 days so that he could consult with his advisors.

1st he goes to his father’s advisors… older men whom Solomon trusted for good advice.

These men tell Rehoboam to listen to the people.

They say, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” 12:7

But Rehoboam rejected the advice of these Elders.

Instead, Rehoboam goes to his friends, his younger inexperienced friends … and asks their advice.

But HIS friends are not wise and experienced men.

They are proud, arrogant and selfish men.

They like to “talk big”.

They probably spend a great deal of their time sitting around and making fun of people who aren’t like them.

These are men who probably enjoyed the “trash talk” of their day.

And you can tell – that’s the kind of men they are – from the kind of answer they give Rehoboam

“Tell these people who have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter’— tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

Now, it doesn’t take much of a genius to realize that this was definitely NOT the smartest advice they could have given in that moment when Charity is required.

Those were not words destined to make a whole lot of people very happy with their new King Rehoboam.

Those weren’t the words a good king would say.

Those were the words of tyrants and bullies.

People who like to push others around.

(Pause…) But those were the words Rehoboam listened to.

Where Charity and Love Prevail ….

Where Greed and Avarice Prevail ….

And so, when the people of Israel reassembled 3 days later,

King Rehoboam shows off for his friends and as a result — he loses nearly everything he’d inherited from his father. He lost more than half his kingdom and neither he nor any of his descendants could ever get it back again.

From that day forward,

the 10 tribes of Israel (to the North) and the two tribes of Judah (to the South and ruled by the descendants of Rehoboam) were never to be reunited again.

The ultimate focus of this devotional message today is this:

Proverbs 16:1 Amplified Bible

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

16 The plans and reflections of the heart belong to man,
But the [wise] answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

It pays to pay attention to who you pay attention to.

NOT ALL advice is good advice.

Psalm 1 Amplified Bible

Book One

The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.

[a]Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example],
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of [b]scoffers (ridiculers).


But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night.


And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season;
Its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity].


The wicked [those who live in disobedience to God’s law] are not so,
But they are like the chaff [worthless and without substance] which the wind blows away.


Therefore, the wicked will not stand [unpunished] in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.


For the Lord knows and fully approves the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked shall perish.

In that short Psalm, God warns us to be careful who we hang around with.

Who we listen to.

Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does

· Doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked

· Doesn’t stand in the way of the sinners

· Doesn’t sit in the seat of mockers.

Why not?

Why don’t I want to spend time with these folks?

Because, the reason they are the way they are, is because they think the way they think.

God tells us these folks are more wise in their own eyes than in God’s eyes.

They won’t stand in the judgment.

They’re not going to sit with the righteous in the last day.

They will perish!

And you DO NOT want to go where they end up.

Their actions and their words tell us what kind of people they are, and what kind of advice they’d give us.

What about Psalm 1 makes it so relevant here?

Psalm 1 is called the preamble to the book of Psalms.

That is, it serves as an introduction to the entire book.

What is said in Psalm 1 is relevant to all the rest of the book of Psalms.

Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon viewed it this way:

The matter of the first Psalm, which may be looked upon, in some respects, as the text upon which the whole of the Psalms make up a divine sermon.

The psalms begin with these words: “Blessed is the man.”

In Psalm 1, God addresses man’s most basic question: How can I be happy (blessed, fortunate, prosperous, favored by God) in this life?

Is this true?

Does God really want us to be blessed, fortunate, prosperous, favored by God?

Absolutely!

And this happiness is not temporary, but perpetual.

The word translated blessed is plural in the original Hebrew.

That is, it means perpetual blessings.

It can be read blessedness’s or happiness’s.

So how can I be happy, truly happy?

Psalm 1 is called a wisdom psalm because we learn that happiness results from our choice to follow God’s direction of life.

In this psalm the writer sets forth two ways or two directions in life.

One is the right way that leads to happiness,

and the other is the wrong way that leads to misery.

The Right Way

Psalm 1:1–3
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1 captures a basic fundamental teaching found in both the Old and New Testaments.

In the Old Testament God teaches His people that one’s choice will determine both the direction and the outcome of your life.

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. (Deuteronomy. 30:19)

In the New Testament, Jesus’ message to the crowds is to choose the right way in life:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew. 7:13–14)

Choosing the Right Path

First, in Psalm 1:1 we learn that happiness comes by choosing to walk on a righteous path.

This determination is directly connected to other people.

Each line in this verse tells us to avoid the wrong kinds of interpersonal relationships.

Your friends and your enemies make all the difference in your life.

Notice what this verse says: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.”

Choosing the righteous path includes refusing advice from those who hold godless values and whose moral choices violate the laws of God.

The second line goes a step further: “nor standeth in the way of sinners.”

It is one thing to listen to wicked counsel. It is another to decisively side with that viewpoint. Instead, the happy person refuses to follow the worldly crowd.

You don’t see him “hanging out” with those who pursue sin as a lifestyle.

Finally, he refuses to sit and associate with those whose conversations mock and curse God: “nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”

If you want to be miserable, make your best friends those who are scornful, critical and disrespectful.

The three verbs—walkstand and sit—show the slippery slope of evil. Evil is not passive. It is ever descending. The longer you go, the worse you get. A pattern of evil choices causes a downward spiral in character that leads to destruction.

But we must also be very careful with our interpretation of this “right way.”

“Our interpretation” and “Our actions which follow our interpretation,” can go horribly wrong, and the only thing created is useless division inconsistent with the Words and essential Gospel Teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Jesus took His disciples into the much hated, thoroughly avoided Samaria to interact with the Woman at the Well with the message: How to Worship God.

John 4:15-25 Amplified

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not get thirsty nor [have to continually] come all the way here to draw.” 16 At this, Jesus said, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 The woman answered, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I do not have a husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your [a]husband. You have said this truthfully.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I see that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place where one ought to worship is in Jerusalem [at the temple].” 21 Jesus replied, “Woman, believe Me, a time is coming [when God’s kingdom comes] when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You [Samaritans] do not know what you worship; we [Jews] do know what we worship, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ—the Anointed); when that One comes, He will tell us everything [we need to know].”

Jesus sat with and shared a meal with the hated, thoroughly avoided ones.

Matthew 9:9-13 Amplified

Matthew Called

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew (Levi) sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me [as My disciple, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk].” And Matthew got up and followed Him.

10 Then as Jesus was reclining at the table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and [a]sinners [including non-observant Jews] came and ate with Him and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but [only] those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this [Scripture] means: ‘I desire compassion [for those in distress], and not [animal] sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call [to repentance] the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to change], but sinners [those who recognize their sin and actively seek forgiveness].”

John 21:15-17 Amplified

The Love Motivation

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [a]love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you [really] [b]love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

John 10:11-18 Amplified

11 [a]I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd [b]lays down His [own] life for the sheep. 12 But the hired man [who merely serves for wages], who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away; and the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The man runs because he is a hired hand [who serves only for wages] and is not concerned about the [safety of the] sheep. 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 [c]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 [d]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. 18 No one takes it away from Me, but I lay it down voluntarily. I am authorized and have power to lay it down and to give it up, and I am authorized and have power to take it back. This command I have received from My Father.”

The essential key here to properly contextualizing and applying the essential lessons from the Word of God from Psalm 1 into our New Covenant times is:

Hungering for God’s Word – ALL OF IT!

Second, Psalm 1:2 declares that happiness comes by developing a strong appetite for God’s Word.

We learn to enjoy the Bible by nurturing the disciplined habit of meditation.

Meditation involves a 24/7— “day and night”—focus on the Scripture.

This means seeking to understand the Bible’s meaning as well as its application to us personally.

The Spirit of God makes the Word of God satisfying to the soul of man.

The Scriptures are “sweeter than honey” (Psalm. 119:103) and “more to be desired [desirable] are they than gold” (Psalm. 19:10).

In some contexts, the word meditate can be translated growl or groan or moan.

It conveys the idea of muttering.

Perhaps you know someone who walks around mumbling to himself.

We tend to view such behavior as socially odd.

But the reality is that all of us talk to ourselves inside our heads all the time.

There is a mental discussion going on continuously.

Some people simply express parts of their dialogue audibly.

This mental conversation is meditation.

God blesses us as we mull over ALL OF HIS Words, both day and night.

The reason this way of life makes one so happy is that is fulfills the purpose for which we were created.

God’s first command to man was to “be fruitful” (Genesis. 1:28).

Psalm 1 describes the happy man as being “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3).

Fruit bearing is the result of deep roots’ finding an abundant supply of nourishment from underground streams of water. God’s Word is an all-sufficient, eternal supply of empowering grace for all of life.

Even during difficult, seemingly barren times, the Word will sustain life.

A fruitful life is a blessed life.

So, David states that God’s way to happiness is being in, but separated from the world, saturated with the Word, and fruitful and successful in doing God’s will.

Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer for us as we navigate through our seasons today;

John 17:13-21 Amplified

The Disciples in the World

13 But now I am coming to You; and I say these things [while I am still] in the world so that they may experience My joy made full and complete and perfect within them [filling their hearts with My delight]. 14 I have given to them Your word [the message You gave Me]; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world and do not belong to the world, just as I am not of the world and do not belong to it. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. 18 Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world. 19 For their sake [e]I sanctify Myself [to do Your will], so that they also may be sanctified [set apart, dedicated, made holy] in [Your] truth.

20 “I do not pray for these alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message, 21 that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me.

The Wrong Way

Psalm 1:4–6
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

David goes on in verse 4 to contrast the way of the righteous with the way of the ungodly: “the ungodly are not so.”

Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon makes a powerful point when he notes that the Hebrew proposes a double negative:

“‘Not so the ungodly, no so.’ Oh! how terrible is it to have a double negative put upon the promises! and yet this is just the condition of the ungodly.”

Ungodliness will never, never prosper!

In the end ungodly people’s lives are deemed as “chaff.”

In other words, they are worthless, lifeless and useless.

They will be driven away by the wind of God’s judgment.

They will not dwell with the people of God in the congregation of the righteous (Psalm 1:5).

At the end of the passage, the psalmist sets forth two directions

—the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly; two decisions

—to meditate on God’s Word or to listen to ungodly counsel; and two destinies

—the righteous will enjoy God’s presence forever, but the ungodly will perish.

So let me repeat: It pays to pay attention to who you pay attention to.

BUT who SHOULD I pay attention to?

Well, the reason Jesus created the church was so that we could look to each other for support and advice.

When you listen to the counsel of fellow Christians, you at least stand a good chance of getting Biblical advice.

But it’s interesting. The first people Rehoboam consulted were the Elders.

1Kings 12:6 tells us “Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. ‘How would you advise me to answer these people?’ he asked.”

Now, of course, these were not exactly “Elders” like a church might have.

They were older men whom Solomon had trusted for advice when he was King.

But older men have always the standard advisors in the Bible.

When Moses was leading the people out of Egypt, he was helped by 70 Elders of Israel, and these 70 Elders were often part of God’s dealing with His people because these 70 men were recognized leaders and wise men in Israel. Numbers 11:16, 25

Later, Elders of each city would sit at the city gates, and they’d act as judges in civil disputes. Deuteronomy 25:7

And throughout much of Israel’s history, the Elders of the people often guided Israel both in good and bad ways.

And that continued once God began His church.

Paul told the two young preachers – Timothy and Titus – to appoint Elders in their churches.

But these Elders were not just to be older men.

“An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.

Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless— not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather they must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that they can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” Titus 1:6-9

When God began His church, He intended that Elders, both ordained and Laity, should be the ultimate “advisors” for church.

They had to be men with a proven track record.

They had to be good husbands and fathers.

They had to have a good reputation in the community.

AND they had to be men who stood firmly with good doctrine because their main job was

“… encourage others by sound doctrine”

“… and refute those who oppose it”

That’s why it is so critical for a church to prayerfully consider who gets to be an Elder.

These men are the guardians of Christ’s bride/ His church.

They stand beside the preacher to do the work of the ministry.

They stand before the congregation to lead.

And they are here to help give you and I Godly advice when we need it.

And they can be counted on to give good advice because…

· they are good fathers

· they are good husbands

· They are men you can trust to stand with God’s Word.

But my point is this:

When you need advice… look to God’s people (that’s why God formed the church)

When you need serious advice… look to your Elders (that’s why God formed the Eldership)

If you follow this guideline in your life God will protect the things that are important to you.

If you don’t, you may end up listening to foolish people– whose advice may cost you everything you hold precious.

Now Solomon gave one more piece of guidance to his son Rehoboam that Rehoboam ignored:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.” Proverbs 3:4-7

In this entire story in I Kings 12, we don’t find ONE time that Rehoboam even prayed to God.

He never consulted the priests at the Temple.

He never visited one of the Prophets God used to proclaim His will.

Even when he visited with the Elders for advice, He wasn’t really looking for God’s will.

Rehoboam was looking for someone who would agree with what he’d already decided to do.

One person observed: “When we ask others for their advice, we are usually, actually, looking for a willing accomplice.” Marquis de la Grange

Rehoboam was looking for a willing accomplice.

He wasn’t looking for God’s advice or counsel.

He probably had already made up his mind what he wanted to do and his friends only confirmed the decision he’d already made.

But why would Rehoboam ignore God?

Why seek his own counsel rather than God’s?

Perhaps because Rehoboam thought he was wiser than both his father and God.

He didn’t think God would be wise enough for him to do what was best for him?

Why would he want to entrust his life to the wisdom of God when he did not believe God’s wisdom would be wise enough for him in the important matters.

Why would we want to entrust our life to the wisdom of God when/if we do not believe God’s wisdom will/would be wise enough for us in our critical times?

But Paul wrote: “… I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that

He is [wise enough, able enough {my emphasis}] able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV)

In other words, Paul believed that no matter what happened in his life – if he entrusted that which was precious to God’s hands – God would take care of it.

Finally,

Anne Graham Lotz, in her book Just Give Me Jesus declared:

“No means of measure can define God’s limitless love…

No far-seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply…

No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings…

· He forgives and He forgets

· He creates and He cleanses.

· He restores and He rebuilds

· He heals and He helps

· He reconciles and He redeems

· He comforts and He carries

· He lifts and He loves.

He is the God of the 2nd chance, the fat chance, the slim chance…

Just give me Jesus!

He makes change possible!

Just give me Jesus.

Just give me His counsel and guidance.

Just give me His will and way for my life.”

And the best way to have those blessings in your life?

Is to give your not so “wise” self to GOD’S “WISER SELF” completely.

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

Let us Pray,

Lord of wisdom, I sometimes finding understanding my life and my connection to the Bible to be far too 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 much wiser advice. Amen.

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Psalm 1: God’s Stability within an Unstable World: The Blessed Man Feeds Himself, and He Nourishes Himself, by the Whole Word of God.

Is there any way in which we can be secured in this ever-changing world? Is our “impossible” dream of stability possible? Is revival and renewal even possible within our hearts and within our souls today? The lessons in Psalms One serves as great encouragement for those who dare to walk upright in a fallen world.

Psalm 1 The Message

How well God must like you— [when]
    you don’t walk in the ruts of those blind-as-bats,
    you don’t stand with the good-for-nothings,
    you don’t take your seat among the know-it-alls.

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,
    who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
    unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.
The road they take leads to nowhere.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Is there any way that we can be secured in this ever-changing world? Is our “impossible” dream of stability possible? Do we all still accept that the word “impossible” ought to be spoken? Is revival and renewal even possible today! Is it possible that our hearts and our souls and our hands and our feet and our lives can once again reach our atrophying spirits? Are we so weighed down by the whole host of worldly concerns that our heavenly focus is been distorted, pressed down to the thinness of a penny or a dime through an arcade machine?

There is only one important difference between saints and sinners, and that is the life blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus. There is nothing else that separates us. We are Godly for one reason and one reason only, because we have accepted the full sovereignty of God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in our lives and been born from above and have taken on the nature of Christ by believing in the full life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus through faith.

The lessons in Psalms one serves as great encouragement for those who dare to walk upright in a fallen world. Are these verses then instructing us not to ever or even associate with sinners? Not really. Jesus hung out with the sinners of His day – the tax collectors and even the “questionable” women, but he did it to redeem them, not to gain their supposed “wisdom”. There is a difference.

These verses are instructing us to not draw wisdom from the “counsel of the ungodly” or hang out with the “scornful” – those who dare to mock God.

So many times, we try to gain wisdom from universities, scholars, and leaders in our country that don’t know God. They don’t have any understanding of what is right or wrong, or what is truth. Listening to them can give us knowledge, but they don’t hold ultimate wisdom. We have to pray that we are not led down the wrong “rabbit trail,” the wrong path as “knowledge puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:2).

That is why who we are listening to and whom we are walking with alongside and within our lives is so critically important. Priority 1: We need godly wisdom.

True wisdom is only found in one place as it says in verse 2, the “law of the LORD”. The blessed man finds his delight in the “law of the LORD”.

First the psalmist makes it clear that there are only two roads in life. There are only two paths of life. The godly path or the ungodly path are manifested in the choices we make. Our decisions are important. First, everyone must decide.

God graciously granted us the gift of “self-determination.” Everyone single one of us freely choose the “path of life” as he or she pleases. The decision is yours. The decision is mine as are the consequences. Secondly, not choosing is not an option. Even our indecision is a choice either for God or against God. Finally, no one gets to freely choose the consequences of the choice. Each choice is leading us somewhere. Every decision is drawing us closes to God or a way from God.

We must choose to decide whether or not to allow God access into our lives. In order to experience change, we must desire change. We must desire to embrace either the ways of the acculturated world or God, God’s word. It is a choice. We must be opened to God. If we are going to live stable in an unstable world, then make good choices about where you walk, where you sit and where you stand.

Psalm 63 The Message

63 God—you’re my God!
    I can’t get enough of you!
I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God,
    traveling across dry and weary deserts.

2-4 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
    drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
    My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
    My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

5-8 I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;
    I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises!
If I’m sleepless at midnight,
    I spend the hours in grateful reflection.
Because you’ve always stood up for me,
    I’m free to run and play.
I hold on to you for dear life,
    and you hold me steady as a post.

9-11 Those who are out to get me are marked for doom,
    marked for death, bound for hell.
They’ll die violent deaths;
    jackals will tear them limb from limb.
But the king is glad in God;
    his true friends spread the joy,
While small-minded gossips
    are gagged for good.

Every moment we are alive and upright and breathing we are constantly and continuously at a crossroads we cannot always see or even be aware of in life. We will constantly and continuously encounter a series of choices and then more choices after that with each breath we take and with every step we take. Some are so easy we do not even think about them overmuch – its automatic. Then we inevitably run into to those moral and ethical crossroads where the decision of what path to take becomes muddled by “what everyone else does.”

Every crossroads has an end point where we must stop what we are doing in that exact and exacting moment and ponder, decide to go to the left or to the right of to go straight or to stay put. Now, what is it which dictated direction?

There are thousands upon thousands of books which offer a whole host of ideas, guidance, recommendations and suggestions. Many are quite worthy to giving serious consideration to. Very intelligent and well-meaning people write them. Their hearts are in a good place. Their experiences are completely legitimate. Their honesty and integrity in communicating their care of others is crystal. I consider quite a few of these writings in my researching for each devotional.

Yet, to get the maximum balance of “do I or do I not” apply their principles, I weigh them heavily with and against the Word of God revealed in Scriptures. God has got a far better grip on my and everyone else’s reality than I ever do. I accept that God’s wisdom has some very significant lessons for me to ponder over through a disciplined course of study and prayer and waiting on my God. God has all of the answers I will ever need in my life – His methods are better!

What does that mean?

The law of the Lord is the instructions, teachings, and words of God that are superior to the words of man. That is where the “blessed man” finds his hope, and what we need to cleave to. The blessed man (or woman) knows that above all his earthly wisdom and thoughts, he can run to the words of God and find truth and life. He (or she) knows above everything that his bread and his food, his nourishment for life are found exclusively in one place – the Word of God.

So, what does he and she do?

The blessed man meditates on the “law” and the teachings of God “day and night”. He or she cannot ever get enough. He and she always put the words of God always before them and chews on them over and over and over again. He does not stop regardless of how difficult the words are [to hear and obey].

The blessed man who is constantly meditating on the Word of God is BLESSED. He is like a deeply rooted tree that grows fruit and is nourished by the waters of God. He doesn’t get weak or get sickly; the blessed man, woman is producing life and has vibrancy. This verse says that “whatever he does shall prosper.”

Why is he prospering? Why is he or she blessed?

Because they have found THE source of life – the Word of God, the teachings of the law, the teachings of Jesus. They have found stability and freedom and will produce good fruit that is eternal because they are focused on eternal things.

Colossians 3:1-4 The Message

He Is Your Life

1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

I sometimes wish prosperity in our souls and in our families happened by osmosis. I wish a fairy godmother just waves a wand and we would prosper.  

I wish that prosperity where our businesses or jobs just flourished was the result of just a snap of our fingers, but it was never meant to work that way.

It takes hard work and being connected to a Source. It takes running to God and staying tied to the Source of Life especially on these days when the adversary is fighting tooth and nail to keep us from the presence of God. If we are planted by the deeply refreshing rivers of the presence of God, we know what we will reap eventually. We will reap prosperity in our souls, our families, our finances, and our lives. We will find the ultimate HOPE and PROSPERITY which is JESUS.

That is God’s desire for us that we would be fully fed and watered, so that we will produce fruit. Isn’t that your desire as well?

Proverbs 5:15 says “Drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well.”

It is time for the 21st century manifestation of the Body of Christ to grow up and just learn how to water and feed themselves. That is why the Psalms are such a crucial starting place, because they are easy to digest. We cannot continue to depend on others to feed us – we must learn to feed ourselves the Word of God.

1. Make good decisions about where you walk, where you sit and where you stand.

Psalm 1:1-3 AKJV “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditates day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

a. Refuse to walk in the counsel of the ungodly (listen, follow the advice, be influenced by their actions and opinions)

b. Refuse to stand in the way of sinners (live by their choices, practice their lifestyle, nor adopted their attitude)

c. Refuse to sit in their company and partake in their sin (they take comfort in opposition against God)

There are ways that we can be secured in this ever-changing world.

There is a way to fulfil the “impossible” dream God has for us. We can be stable in an unstable environment.

After all the ups and downs experienced in the Joseph’s life, the bible said: Genesis 41:52 Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering.” The word “fruitful” means productive, rich, abundant, successful, fertile and rewarding.

In other words, stability in the midst of instability is very much possible even in this chaotic world which is full of uncertainty and sufferings. In Psalm 1, the Lord reveals to us the secret on how we can be stable in this unstable world. If we are going to live stable lives in an unstable world, study God’s Word, make good choices about where you walk, and where you sit and where you stand.

2. Make good decisions about what we delight in and what we meditate on.

Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law, he meditates day and night.” Those who are blessed by God not only must turn and flee from evil, but they must also build their lives up around the Words of the Lord. They must seek to diligently obey God’s will out of hearts that genuinely take great pleasure in knowing God’s way and word. Their heart must be captivated by His Living Word (Hebrews 4:12). Meditating on His word allows God’s word to shape our thinking, guide our actions, control our emotions and transform our lives.

3. Make good decisions about where we are planted because where we are planted determines our productivity.

Psalm 1:3 “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

The outcome of those who faithfully seek God and His word is fruitfulness. The word planted talks about stability. It is one of the CONDITIONS which should be met before our lives become spiritually fruitful. The word of God has become the moral FOUNDATION of their life. (Psalm 119:105, 2 Timothy 3:10-17)

This third verse from Psalm One describes the benefits of a stable life as a life full of God’s blessing and favor. I believe these verses contain the secret of a fruitful and stable life in this unstable world. We must choose an upright walk against the evil system of the world. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” We must choose a righteous stand with God and His word which is contrary to acculturated ways of the world. We must choose not to stand in the way of sinners or to sit on compromising seat with the scorners.

If we are going to live stable in an unstable world, I must choose to witness to sinners but the fellowship of the saints. I must develop a heart full of passion for the word of God. I choose to delight is in the law of the LORD and to fill my mind with the word of God by meditating in it day and night.

4. Make good decisions about what it means to be a godly and righteous.

The righteous in these verses are those whose lives are marked by consistency and stability between their Christian walk and talk. How consistent are you?

Their lives are certified by effectiveness, productivity. How productive are you?

John 14:11-14 The Message

11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

The righteous are those lives which are proven by evidence of transformation and productivity and recovery. How much sin do you tolerate in your life?

Finally, their lives are those which are confirmed by God’s favor, success and prosperity. “Whatever he does prospers”

Are you a prosperous person in your walk with God?

The strength of our stability always depends on the foundation where we stand. Christ and his word should always be the foundation of our life. A favorable environment increasing productivity and the blessings of God flow freely!

We must be born again with His life, filled with His Holy Spirit, and then discipled and disciplined into His daily food and water – the Word of God. This is the only sure and genuine path to maturity, substance, and true prosperity.

“For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Verse 6)

Psalm 1:6

I love the promise in verse 6 that the “LORD knows the way of the righteous.”  The Lord is aware of where we are going. He is intimately involved in our lives, and he has numbered even the hairs on our heads. (Matthew 10:30) It is so comforting to know that God cares about you and me and that if we call on the Name of the Lord that we will be saved (Acts 2:21). We can rest in those truths.

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

Let us Pray,

When I see, O Lord, the power of your Word, I wonder if I can see the power in my own life? I see the mistakes, and all of the times I walked in the way of the wicked. Forgive me. I have sat down at the table of the ungodly. Your law reveals the path away from evil. Your word is my delight, my satisfaction. I can find no other thing to fill me. Sinful habits, selfish ambitions, unbridled pride all try to fill me up with good things. Like the chaff, the wind blows away the pleasures and I’m left empty. And alone. For God, you see my life when I walk in righteousness. Not because I have to be perfect, but because walking with you makes me righteous. Help me to walk. Help me to meditate. Help me to grow in your instruction. My joy, my fruit, my peace will come from the streams of your living waters. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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