Do You Seek It?

Today’s reading is Proverbs 1.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and knowledge.

Proverbs 1:7

Just last week our 10-year old asked us what fearing the Lord meant. I know at least for me it is not easy to explain. However, if you look up the definition of the word ‘fear,’ Merriam-Webster gives one definition as, “profound reverence and awe especially toward God.” Thank you, Meriam-Webster…that helps. When I think of standing in awe of something, I think of the time our family visited the Grand Canyon as a child. None of us had ever been there before. When we got out of the car and walked up near the edge, I don’t think anyone said a word for a while. If there were flies around, one of us probably could have caught one in our mouths because our jaws may have been dropped, too! While the Grand Canyon is not a person, I would say we had respect for it pretty quickly…I know I wasn’t getting too close to the edge! Now, if we were in that much awe of the Grand Canyon, imagine what it will be like when we see the God who made it…

If we respect God immensely and we are in awe of his power and creation, we likely will not only want to please Him and follow His instruction, but we should also want to seek His wisdom. Sometimes we may move away from things we are in awe of like me from the edge of the Grand Canyon. However, how cool is that despite God wanting us to have reverence for Him, He wants us to actually get closer to Him? James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. ” Proverbs 1 is pretty poignant that if we don’t seek wisdom from Him we will experience bad things using words like calamity, anguish, distress, and terror.

So, how do we seek God’s wisdom?

Here a few ways….

  • Attend a church that preaches and teaches from the Bible
  • Read His Word and possibly a daily devotional to help with the interpretation and explanation, as well as perhaps giving thought provoking commentary and reflection
  • Attend a small group/Bible study
  • Pray and also ask for His wisdom

What area is the one area you feel like you could improve on to gain wisdom from God?

For me, I would say it’s prayer. It’s not lack of prayer (although I could and should pray more) as much as it is I need to remember to ask God for wisdom in my prayers. And that’s not just for wisdom in my perceived problem areas I’m praying to God for help, but also just wisdom daily to be a better Christ-follower, better husband, better father, better son, better friend, and wisdom to be a better financial planner (my career)….wisdom in the ‘little decisions’ I will make that day and that I make each and every day. I should also be in conversation (prayer) with Him throughout the day asking for wisdom in these things.

I pray that as we stand in awe and reverence in fear of God, we seek His wisdom and reflect on how we can better do so.

 

 

 

Completing A Good Work?

Today’s reading is Psalm 132.

Here the unknown Psalmist gives God praise for keeping His promise to David that although David would not himself build the Temple, David’s son Solomon would complete one of David’s greatest desires in doing so (Psalm 132:11-13).

Building the Temple for God was extremely important to David as it says in Psalm 132:2-5. In these verses it says David stated he was so dedicated and committed to it that would not sleep in his house or bed, or even close his eyes and rest, until the Temple was built.  However, the prophet Nathan delivered the sobering message from God to David that he himself would not build the Temple, but that his son would in 1 Chronicles 17. We can learn from David that although he I’m sure was disappointed, he was happy that his son would serve as king and gave God praise in 1 Chronicles 17:26-27.

What have you been committed to in your life that you feel God is just not bringing to fruition? Are you working towards a promotion or career goal that’s not happening? Are you wanting to start a business but don’t feel you have the resources? Are you dedicating yourself to helping a family member or friend get on the right path to make good life decisions or follow Jesus but neither are happening? Or what is a noble goal, life mission/purpose, or positive impact you are trying to accomplish but are not completing?

Why aren’t these things happening? Well..I think the first thing we need to ask ourselves is…are we working towards and desiring these things for our own glory or His? We also need to reflect on whether or not we are asking for wisdom and guidance from God on our journey or just trying to make it happen our own way. God did not let David build the Temple because he was responsible for much bloodshed and war as God said in 1 Chronicles 22:8. God did not let Moses reach the Promised Land because he did not have the faith that God would spew water from the rock from just telling it to do so,  so he disobeyed God’s specific instructions and struck it with his staff instead (Deuteronomy 32:51-52). Just like David, Moses handled the disappointing news he would not accomplish during his lifetime something he had worked most of his life towards by giving a blessing to Israel after in Deuteronomy 33.

We can learn much from David and Moses in how they reacted to not accomplishing what they thought was their life’s purpose and mission. They reacted with reverence and praise trusting in God’s decision.  Also, despite them not fully realizing the fruits of their labor and the mistakes they made, the Bible still tells us there has been no prophet of the Lord like Moses (Deuteronomy 33:10-12), and God knew David was a man after His heart (1 Samuel 13:14). The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8 that while we were still sinners Jesus died for us. He still loves us more than we can imagine no matter what we have done, and there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

We can also learn that God will accomplish His purpose in the ways and timing He sees best fit. His ways and thoughts are wiser than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). And many times, He will accomplish His purpose through us, but we just may not witness it during our lifetime or even know it occurred. God still used David and Moses to accomplish both His goals and what they strived for…even though they didn’t witness it while here on this Earth. You never know the impact you might be having during your life which you just don’t see. Maybe you had a conversation with someone about Jesus where they didn’t give their life to Christ then, but that laid the foundation for them doing so later. Or someone saw your faith and dedication which led them to do something great with their life even though they didn’t tell you so. We have heard the great things said about someone and the impact they had at their funeral which sadly people never told them while they were living, and they likely didn’t even know about.

As you reflect on the nobleness of your vision and whether it is for God’s glory and aligns also with His vision, continue to ask for wisdom and clarity from Him in your journey. As Pastor Mike Baker stated in his 3/27/2022 sermon at Eastview Christian church in discussing Jesus’ scourging and mocking in Mark 15:15-20, God sometimes allows difficult seasons and pain so something really great will come in the end. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I’m sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Are you doing a good work? This verse says it will be completed ‘‘at the day of Jesus Christ”, but it does not say it will be completed during our lifetime. We may be like David and Moses or we may not even realize His vision and purpose are being accomplished in a different way to impact others for His glory through us.

Heart Check

Today’s reading is 1 Kings 8:22-40.

In these last few days, we’ve gotten a glimpse into the heart of Solomon. As I read 1 Kings 3:1-15 on Tuesday, it occurred to me more clearly that Solomon didn’t ask for wisdom exactly. He asked in 1 Kings 3:9 for understanding to properly govern God’s great people. Then, as a result of seeing his heart to help others God gave him wisdom, riches, and honor (1 Kings 3:12-13).

Now, now not only do we see him praising God’s greatness in adoration (1 Kings 3:1 and 1 Kings 3:27), but we also see him asking God to forgive others. He does so in 1 Kings 8:30, 1 Kings 8:34, 1 Kings 8:36, and 1 Kings 8:39. The people he’s asking God to forgive are not those who have sinned against him where he might really be elevating himself to say in a way…”I’m right..they’re wrong…please forgive them.” He’s not doing to put himself on a pedestal. He’s asking for forgiveness for his people who have sinned in general. His heart is for others in asking God to intercede on their behalf. We know God did this not only for the Jewish people, but the Gentiles as well in sending Jesus (John 3:16).

Solomon also gives us great wisdom in 1 Kings 8:39 in saying only God knows the heart of each person. How often do we judge people without knowing their story and what they are going through? We may think we know, but we don’t know what’s happened in their past or happening behind closed doors which may be causing them to act in a certain way or turn to drugs or alcohol perhaps even struggling from alcoholism which they wouldn’t choose on their own. They may be making some poor choices, but they may actually be telling God they are sorry for their sin problem and asking God to not only forgive them but help them turn from their sinful ways. On the flip side, we may think someone else has a great heart, but really has ulterior motives or is not who they appear to be behind closed doors. They may be in denial of their sin problem. Two weeks ago I wrote on Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Everyone judged him, but Jesus knew who he truly was on the inside. Yet, those Jewish leaders who many likely looked to as being great were the ones with a bigger sin problem.

A few questions for us to ponder on today.

  • Who am I leading that I should ask God for wisdom in leading them..not just at work, but in my home, community organization, or small group?
  • Who might I be judging and condemning where I may not know their whole story?
  • Do I often think about that only God knows the true heart of others?
  • How are my actions, and what is the condition of my heart right now?

Expressions of God’s Anger & a prayer request

Today’s Reading: Revelations 15-17

Today we get the opportunity to read through some very intense, detailed reading that looks at the expression of God’s final anger.  I will admit that many of the descriptions and details were hard to imagine.  I lean back on the truth of God’s Word being the truth ad that when these days come if I’m still in this physical space, I want to be written in His book.

This anger described is in 7 bowls of wrath shared by seven angels.  These bowls included different wraths given around the following areas.

  1. Sores –  These were given to those who had the mark of the beast.
  2. Water – was turned to blood and all sea creatures died.
  3. Rivers and Springs-  of water were turned to blood.
  4. Sun –  people were burned by the heat.
  5. Throne of Beast – darkness
  6. The Euphrates – dries up, and the kings all come together for a battle. Frogs come from the mouth of dragons.
  7. Air – Lightning, thunder, earthquakes, and 100 lbs hail.

At the time of the seventh bowl, a loud voice came from the throne in the temple saying, “It is done!”

Going back to Revelation 13:16, the beast forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, slave and free, to have the mark placed on their right hands or foreheads.  I had read a commentary saying these markings were put on their hands and foreheads based on actions and choices.

Chapter 17 talks about the great prostitute, beast, abominations, and impurities.  And while I struggled with all the meaning behind many of these stories, I landed on a few reminders.

They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with I’m recalled and chosen and faithful.”

As I read through these chapters, I was reminded of the importance of turning our life over to God.  Many had an opportunity to turn to God throughout these chapters, but they didn’t.  The infinite time we equally have consisted of 24 hours 7 days a week.  The most precious commodity we have is time.  The time we have with others gets shorter every day. I pray that we share in these days between Christmas and New Year with friends, family, and others who need to know of our Lord’s victory these days.  I ask for wisdom and prayers from all of you to share and influence my family in making this most important decision of their lives so they will continue to transform their own children’s lives.  Thank you.

Finish 2021 Well

Today’s Reading 2 Timothy 3-4 & Titus 1 

Leadership, Instructions, and Fatherly Advice were the last few posts inspiring and encouraging to us all as we lead in our ways daily.  As we continue reading 2 Timothy and Titus, Paul shares his final charge to Timothy and his advice to Titus as he takes on many church responsibilities.  I’m sure Titus was taking notes, highlighting, and jotting down his notes as he read the letter from Paul. For Titus, following a fantastic leader can be very challenging.  Leaders can make many changes to put themselves at the forefront or improve and enhance upon previous successes while walking alongside those they lead.  In Paul’s instructions to Titus, I see Paul sharing advice and providing him with a plan.  

In any leadership position, having a plan is essential. Remember, we are all leaders because we all have influence.  Paul’s advice was not of his own, but that always of our Heavenly Father. 

  • Have a good character that church leaders should have
  • How to teach to various groups
  • How to conduct ourselves

Reading through the verses between Titus and 2 Timothy, I caught myself capturing the contrast between the last days Paul warns us about in 2 Timothy 3 and what will equip us on our journey to Heaven in Titus.

Without fault Selfish 
Not arrogant – or quick-tempered  Greedy 
Not drunkard  Conceited 
Not greedy for money  Irreligious 
Hospitable  Ungrateful 
Self-controllable  unkind/merciless 
Agree with doctrine  Love pleasure more than God 

 

2 Timothy 3 

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Titus 1 

6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

What way will I choose to live? What path will you choose to lead? Many will say that we are in some of the last days.  I know that only He knows that day.  All we can do is choose how to lead every day this side of Heaven. One of my favorite Spiritual Audit questions is,  “Who did I serve in the name of Jesus today?”  Have no regrets about how and who you lead today. 

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Finish Well!

What’s your Yeast?

Daily prayer is for obedience.  We keep an index card with Romans 12:2 written on it from a small group activity years ago.  The world has so much to offer.  An achievement-focused lifestyle can pridefully lift you to where you feel like nothing else matters.  In this breath of life until you realize our eternity.

Today’s Reading: Mark 8 (verse 15 & 34-37)

15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

The world can infect and change your heart and mind.  The same pridefulness that the Pharisees and Herod held can be seen in our world today.  So I ask myself, do I provide lip service and merely admiring the truth?  Or am I singing praises and obeying the truth?  Pastor Charlie Welke rechallenged me this weekend as he talked about our “Domesticated Faith.”  I reflected on the finite nature of our world and the infinite power of God.  Am I allowing any yeast of the world to enter into my life? I prayerfully ask the Lord to search my heart, see if there is any offensive way, and lead me. Psalm 139:23-24

Author MaryLu Tyndall writes about the World system vs. God’s Truth.

The world says it’s all about you. God says it’s all about Him. 

The world says elevate yourself. God says to put others ahead of yourself. 

The world says grab as much power as you can. God says to be a servant. 

The world says to eat, drink, and be merry, for this is all there is. God says you are an eternal being, so be wise with your time. 

The world says the ends justify the means. God says the means will be judged in the end. 

The world says outward beauty is everything. God says those with inner beauty will shine at the end. 

The world says gather as many things as you can. God says only your treasure in Heaven will last. 

The world says truth is relative. God says I am the truth. 

The world says to be tolerant.  God says to call evil, evil. 

The world says it’s all about personal happiness. God says it’s all about personal sacrifice. 

The world says death is the end. God says death is only the beginning. 

 

Just as Jesus will warn us what to stay away from, he points us to the truth.

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

God Bless your day!

 

You’re invited…what are you wearing?

Today’s Reading: Matthew 22

v 1-14 The Kingdom of heaven is like…

The more I’ve reflected on our wedding, the more memories jog my mind.  The details that were put into everything.  From invitations selection to music played to the food and cake served.  What an amazing day.  This summer Jennifer and I celebrated our 12th anniversary.  I know I don’t say it or recognize enough the masterpiece our Lord created in my wife and our three wonderful children Jackson, Marshall, and Gianna, but I know they truly are.

The parable that Jesus shares in Matthew 22 talks about a wedding that various groups are invited to. Everyone in town was invited to, yet people refused and paid no attention to the invite for one reason or another.  For those who finally came, some didn’t come dressed for such an occasion.   There is always some thought that gets put into your outfit when attending a wedding.  For me, this parable makes me reflect on what I’m wearing.  What d do I put on each day in the presence of the Lord? What are my actions as a preparation for a wedding feast in Heaven? People like to pretend that our choices or actions don’t matter much in our modern-day world, but this parable shows that it isn’t true.

God’s invitation from Him is not a light matter. We are accepting or rejecting this once-in-a-lifetime invite. Our answer matters.  Our actions matter. Our dress matters.

What are you wearing?

Ephesians 4:20- 24  20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Every morning we all wake up and get dressed for the day. Am I clothed in Humility?

1 Peter 5:5 and be clothed in humility…

I’m grateful for His mercies He has shown me for the moments when my character lacks, and actions don’t represent Him. Lamentations 3:22-23 says Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

You are invited.  Do you accept? As we prepare now for His Kingdom, are there any garments that you are missing? Am I truly dressed and ready, or do I think I am?

Psalm 139:23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Lord,  I pray that my actions and words represent godliness in all I do.  In my sinful human moments, help me to repent and seek you.  Father, I know the Kingdom you have invited us to is bigger and better than anything the world has to offer.  Help me each day to know this truth and share it with others.  Amen

Enter His Gate

When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching. 

As we read Matthew 6-7 for today, I pray you will pause and see where God wants you to reflect and seek what God wants you to make clear to you on your journey closer to Him.  Jesus provides so much wisdom in these chapters that leave me thinking and praying for continued transformation.  Topics in these chapters include:

  • Giving
  • Prayer
  • Treasures
  • Worrying
  • Judging

These topics are all sections in my Bible underlined, highlighted, and have notes in the margins.  In prayer for open eyes and ears for today, I landed on a few verses that, for some reason, there was nothing.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate, and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Matthew 7:13-14

In the middle of one of the storms we had recently, it took my wife forty-five minutes to make a five drive.  As Jennifer drove back and forth, she ran into roadblocks and flooded streets that lead to some tears and fear.  Eventually, they made it home safely down a side street that led to home.  (prayers for everyone impacted by these recent storms)

What road or path are you on?  There are times when  I think I’m going in the direction, and I need to stop.  It seemed safe, and it wasn’t.  I follow the crowd and realize I’ve gone the wrong way.  God has a path laid out for you.

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6
  • The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 
  • The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in His way. Psalm 37:23 

The road seemed wide and perfect, but it led to a dead-end, just like Jennifer the other day.  God provides the perfect directions. The road that leads directly to Him.  Will you seek His path today? This world offers a path that can lead you in many directions.  Our Lord offers us one way.  I pray we are all seeking the narrow road that leads to Him.

Matthew 6:10 Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

 

Picture Source: St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid; what can anyone do to me? 7. It is the Lord who helps me, and I will see my enemies defeated.  8 It is better to trust in the Lord than depend on people. 9 It is better to trust in the Lord than depend on human leaders.

I’m not sure what you have planned today.  Maybe you’ve just had a chance to read this, and your day is coming to a close.  In either case, you, as I reflect on Psalm 118, I’m reminded that as we believe and trust in the Lord, it is quick to lose sight that no matter time of day or task at hand, our Heavenly Father is always on our side.  When you truly believe and trust Him as the center of your life, you can live without fear. How awesome it is to know right now we can live every moment without any worry when we live in obedience.

Often, my lack of trust and wisdom throughout years and even in recent moments have led me down many dead-end roads. Times of complete self-absorption that goes opposite of where the Lord is asking me to be. He takes me through hills and valleys that remind me of my desire and need to put more trust in Him for every aspect of my life. Along this journey that includes being a parent, He has led me to a daily prayer asking the Lord to have His will with my life and to help me to show His love for Him in my actions and words. More Him, less me!

I think of the father in Mark that was asking Jesus for help with his son. He says in Mark 9:24 Immediately, the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  — Help me in any unbelieving time Lord. Or times where I think I have it figured out without your

The people-pleasing days and moments can come calling daily.  Pray, Listen, and take the next step. He is by our side!

Have a blessed day.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Hebrews 11:6

1 Corinthians 2:5

What’s Your Number?

Today’s reading is Psalm 90 which is attributed to Moses with some saying it’s the oldest Psalm, yet the author of every Psalm is not known so it can’t be confirmed it is the first.

What’s your number? This is the question asked in an old commercial of an investment firm regarding each person’s amount of money they need in order to retire. Each person’s number is hovering above them as they go about their daily life. What if the imaginary number above your head and this question was not about retirement money, but the number of days in your life?

Teach us to number our days

That we may get a heart of

wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

How would you live life differently if you knew your number? I find it ironic how most of us have a hard time wrapping our arms around the fact that God has always existed because everything we know has a beginning and end. Yet even though we know our life on Earth will end and we don’t know when, we don’t live that way.

Psalm 90:10 reads..

The years of our life are seventy

Or even by reason of strength

eighty…

Life is short…even if we live that long.

Psalm 90:14 says…

Satisfy us in the morning with

your steadfast love,

that we may rejoice and be

glad all our days.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled getting out of bed in the morning (although I’m still up early to get things done).  It drives my wife Shannon nuts that once I’m out of bed I’m awake with good energy. When we leave for vacation early in the morning before daybreak, I’m ready to chat and listen to music while she’s just ready to go back to sleep for another 3 hours while I drive. However, getting out of bed initially is always tough still..no matter what great things are going on that day. Would this be the case if I knew my number and how few might be left, or if I realized how fast the 25,000-30,000 days at full life expectancy will go?

Psalm 90:16 says…

Let your work be shown to your

servants,

and your glorious power to

their children.

My post 2 weeks ago was around our responsibility to teach our children to know and love God and His Word. Assuming our kids become adults, move out, or go to college around age 18, we have 6,570 days in which they are under our roof. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t seem like that many to me, and I’m sure it will feel even faster. Are we enjoying each one of those days with them and impacting them to help nurture and grow their relationship with God realizing they’ll only be with us for a short time to influence them for the rest of their life?

Psalm 90:17 reads…

Let the favor of the Lord our

God be upon us,

and establish the work of our

hands upon us;

yes, establish the work of our

hands.

Are we praying for a “heart of wisdom” as Psalm 90:12 mentions earlier and letting God do His work through our hands? What sort of impact are we having for His kingdom?

Psalm 90 tells us there will be challenges in this world no matter what our relationship with God (Psalm 90:10, Psalm 90:15). But we know God is with us through them. We know His love which He showed us on the cross. We know life is short here so those troubles are nothing compared to the joy we will experience in our eternal resting place in Heaven which is much longer. Jesus says in John 16:33,” I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He conquered death through His Resurrection on Easter allowing us to do the same through belief in Him. So, let’s live like our number is 1 which turns the number above our head to ∞.