Wisdom

“Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south?”

—Job 39:26

 

My wisdom.

What is that?

A pastor friend once made this statement in our home:

“There is no wisdom apart from that of Christ.”

I have always remembered that statement, because it rings true in my heart.

The hawk I photographed yesterday at the lake was beautiful.

Stately, in fact.

Although he was perched, I knew at any moment he could fly away, far from my view.

Who taught him that?

Who gave him wings that function so perfectly as to lift him high in the air and carry him swiftly on the wind?

I didn’t.

It’s not from any wisdom I have.

It is by God’s wisdom that the hawk exists.

It is by God’s wisdom that he can fly.

Every day I must seek to trust God’s wisdom and not my own.

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Gratitude

It’s actually cold outside, with an expected low of 39 degrees. 

For a long time tonight, I have been sitting in a recliner, reading the Bible and some devotional material and also talking with my sister on the phone. 

My cat has been with me, lying on the top of the back of my chair, above my head. At times, he climbs down to be petted or held. 

We have had this cat as a member of our family for four and a half years. 

He came to our yard in 2012, starving and in sad condition. 

His body was long and lank. 

Adopting him as our own, we took him to the veterinarian and saw to his medical needs.

We fed him and loved him. 

Within a short amount of time, he was in much better condition.  

He is a most loving cat, greeting us every day as we come home from work. 

It is common for him to want to lie near us as he has done tonight. 

In his own way, he is telling us that he is grateful to have been rescued from his life of poverty and ill health. 

With every purr I feel in my chest when I am holding him, I sense that he is happy to be loved and to belong to us. 

Before I became a Christian, I was like our cat when he came to the yard. 

I had been living on my own, trying to survive by making my own decisions. 

Sometimes they were good decisions—many times they were not. 

I came to a point where I felt like I was emotionally starving. 

More accurately, I was spiritually starving. 

I finally decided to ask God for forgiveness of my sins. God forgave me and adopted me into His family. Jesus died on the cross, paying the penalty for my sin, allowing this gift of forgiveness to be offered to me. 

I am no longer starving spiritually. 

Our cat wants to be close to us. 

He is grateful for all we’ve done for him. 

I want to be close to God out of gratitude for all He has done for me…
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

—Colossians 3:16

Appearance

Do you remember the first time you ever saw a balloon before it was inflated?

I can honestly say that I don’t.

If I think about what that would have been like for me, though, I can imagine that I might not have thought that a colorful and small piece of stretchy plastic could ever have changed into an air filled toy that would bounce and float in the air.

Of course, I would have been wrong.

More than likely, my little child’s mind wouldn’t have considered any possibilities past what I could’ve actually seen.

As recorded in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, the Lord sent Samuel to anoint a new king.

Samuel was sent to a man named Jesse, who had several sons.

When Samuel saw Eliab, he thought that he would be the one that the Lord had chosen–but he wasn’t:

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:6-7)

When Samuel had seen seven of Jesse’s sons, the Lord had not chosen any of them.

Samuel asked Jesse if he had any more sons.

There was one other, who was tending to the sheep.

That son was David.

It was David that the Lord had chosen.

The Lord could see in David what others may not have seen.

He saw David’s heart.

He knew what David could be.

When we look at other people, it’s easy to just take them at “face value”—their apparent worth— isn’t it?

What do you think when you see a homeless person on the street?

An old man on a park bench?

A child running in the park?

A clerk in the grocery store?

We see them as they appear, but the Lord sees their hearts.

He sees the talents He has given them.

He sees their great worth.

He sees what they can become.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could try to see past appearances and look at others’ hearts?

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Look to the Lord

Look to the Lord and His strength;
    seek His face always.

—1 Chronicles 16:11

 

 

What should we do when we pray and then we don’t understand what happens next?

What if situations in our lives seem confusing, even though we have prayed about them?

God’s thoughts are not ours and His timing is not our timing.

His understanding of every human heart is beyond our comprehension.

No matter what happens to us, we are to look to God and His strength.

We need to always be seeking Him.

He knows what is best.

 

 

 

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The Old Things

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

—2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Yesterday was Christmas.

After family had visited and presents had been opened, I took some time to just walk around outside and take in a few moments of quiet and beauty.

I walked in the yard.

Making my way down the street a bit, I looked over the land near a farm.

The sky was filled with powdery hues of creamy peach as the sun was beginning to set in the late afternoon.

Where I live, it’s warm most of the year, sometimes even on Christmas.

So was the case yesterday.

The air conditioner had been on to help us feel comfortable.

Outside, the leaves on the trees had not completely fallen.

In many ways, it seemed like a warm, autumn day as the crimson red leaves still clung to the branches above me, even as some had dropped to the grass and sidewalk.

In just a matter of days, “Happy New Year!” will be the greeting on everyone’s lips.

2016 will have become the old and 2017 will be ushered in as the new.

Just like the red leaf on the concrete, the old ways have to part from our lives as we become followers of Jesus.

We become new, and God brings newness of life every day.

A new heart.

A new beginning.

A new existence in relationship with Him.

 

 

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Born to You

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. 

—Luke 2:11
This morning, after the Christmas Day church service was over, I paused as I was walking out by a  stained glass window. 

It was depicting Jesus, our Savior. 

His arms were outstretched and welcoming. 

On a night in Bethlehem, Jesus was born. 

When that happened, everything changed. 

Everything changed for all people everywhere. 

Death forever because of sin with no redemption would now be only for those who choose not to believe in Jesus. 

When Jesus was born, so was the only way to escape the punishment we deserved. 

Jesus would one day pay the penalty for our sin, offering us eternity with Him. 

A Savior—One who could save us—had come to the earth as a baby. 

Take the word, “you” out of the following scripture and insert your own name:

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to _______; He is the Messiah, the Lord. 

Born to Tom. 

Born to Robert. 

Born to Jason.

Born to Kayla. 

Born to Liz. 

Born to Kathy. 

Every name of every person on earth could be placed in that scripture and it would still be true. 

If you have not accepted Jesus’ gift of eternal life, please don’t delay. 

Pray and tell Him that you believe He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin. 

Repent of those things you have done that displeased Him. 

Ask Him to be the Lord of your life, giving you guidance. 

It’s not too late—–you can pray right now. 

A Savior has been born—to you. 

Armor of Light

—-Romans 13:12

The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

It had been a long night with a family member at the hospital for several hours. 

Driving to work as the sun was just breaking into the darkness, the beauty of the morning was before me. 

Jesus is our light. 

The Set Time

We know how long it takes for a baby to form before it is born.

We know how long it takes for certain crops to mature, ready for harvest.

We know how long it takes for the earth to make its journey around the sun.

Yet, there are so many things that we have no idea how long we will have to wait for.

In fact, we are not even sure that some of the things we are waiting for will ever take place.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to the earth at just the right time.

Jesus was not early in coming, nor was He late.

In our own lives, God is in control of time.

We pray, and God answers in His time frame.

He will never be late with an answered prayer.

He will never be early with an answered prayer.

When the set time has come, He will work in the lives of His children according to His will.

Through faith, we must trust Him completely to care for us as our all-knowing Father.

 

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But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman,

born under the law,  to redeem those under the law,

that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child;

and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.

—Galatians 4:4-7

 

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The Husband of Mary

Are you leaving a legacy for your family?What stories are written on their hearts about you and about your life?

What stories will they remember about what your life was like or your own parents and grandparents lives?

What times of God’s faithfulness are recorded in their hearts?

Just imagine this story:

“My great grandmother once told me of what had happened to her when she was young. She got married to a man from another country who had a brother and parents still living. After some time her husband’s father died. Later his brother and her own husband died. This left my great grandmother and her husband’s mother and also the widow of her husband’s brother. Three women and no men in the family. 

My great grandmother decided to stay with her husband’s mother as she decided to travel back to the place that she had come from. 

After arriving there, God provided for them through the generosity of another family member. My great grandmother ended up marrying this man and he provided for her. God created a home for my great grandmother after the loss of her husband, by providing a new husband. 

My great grandmother then gave birth to my grandfather. My grandfather and grandmother then had my father. From my great grandmother all the way to my father there was faith in God. I grew up knowing of His faithfulness in my family stretching many years back.”

What is your own personal legacy of faith?

The legacy you build now is of eternal significance. 

The story related above was of King David. 

His father was Jesse, his grandfather was Obed and his great grandfather was Boaz, husband of Ruth. 

Later in King David’s descendants, we find Joseph who was husband to Mary, the mother of Jesus. 

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Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

—Matthew 1:16

The Angel Said

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

—Luke 2:8-12

Sinners to Repentance

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

The Earth Will Be Full

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all My holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of Him, and His dwelling shall be glorious.

–Isaiah 11:6-10

I Will Help You

There’s a popular song out now that I hear on the radio a lot.

It’s “Just Be Held,” by Casting Crowns.

Here are part of the lyrics:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

 

I was recently privileged to hold a three month old goat.

It was cold outside and the little thing simply allowed me to hold him in my arms and rock him side to side for about twenty minutes.

I think he just about went to sleep, even though there were a lot of people walking around us.

He was trusting.

He was calm.

He was relaxed.

He wasn’t struggling to get away.

In fact, he seemed content and happy—just being held.

Can you just picture yourself as a little child, resting in Jesus’s arms?

Just allowing Him to rock you side to side as you drift to sleep, even though there are a lot of things happening all around you?

Can you picture yourself there?

Being trusting?

Being calm?

Being relaxed?

Not struggling to get away?

Content and happy–-just being held?

So, when we are on our knees in prayer, or in our car in prayer or at work in prayer, and answers seem so far away, can we trust that we are not alone?

Can we trust that Jesus is at work and that things in our lives are falling into place?

Can we understand that God is on His throne and He is in control–not us?

Can we stop struggling and just be held?

 

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For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

—Isaiah 41:13

 

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The Lord’s Servant

The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient…

—2 Timothy 2:24

What does it mean to quarrel?
To have an angry argument seems like the best definition. 
So, a servant of the Lord must not have angry arguments. 
I truly desire to be a servant of the Lord, but I have definitely been a part of some angry arguments…
I should also be gentle to all. 
At my workplace, there is an overarching motto that is put out to the employees:

“All means all.”

If there is a directive for a group of people at work, it is for all of them. No one should be left out. 
If I am to be gentle to all, well, all means all. 
I can’t pick one person to be mean or harsh with and pick another to be gentle to.   
As a servant, I should be able to teach. 

I should be able to teach others through my words and actions about God’s love and faithfulness. 
I should also be patient…
Not quickly frustrated with others, it would seem. 
Are these easy character traits and attitudes to have?
Sometimes, the answer would be, “no.”
Still, if I have the desire to do what God wants, He will strengthen me.