Nothing wavering

Faith is such a simple thing, and yet oftentimes it seems to be so difficult. Faith is something that God demands of us as His followers. He says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

In order to come to God, we need to come in faith. We need to realize that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. And in that statement comes the idea that we will seek Him diligently. If the King of all the Universe says He will reward you if you seek Him diligently, and you believe Him, how could you decide not to seek Him?

Having true faith in the reward, brings us to work for it.

Have you been seeking God lately? Have you been seeking Him diligently?

If not, you may want to check your faith. Have you spent time in the Word? Are you truly believing in His vision for your life? Do you need to pursue Him more?

I know for me, I definitely need to.  It is far too easy for me to become lax in my eagerness to seek out God.

One more part of this faith is having it without wavering. James 1:6 says, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Here James is talking about asking God for wisdom, but the faith aspect applies to any time we ask God for something.

God tells us to ask in faith, without wavering.

Think about a person who wavers, if they are unsure of everything, or if God will answer, why would it glorify God to give them anything? When they get it, they will not glorify God or praise Him for His goodness. They will not see that the answer is from God. They will not point others to Christ.

God is jealous for the glory He deserves, and what’s more, He wants His gifts to bring us closer to Him. He wants us to come to Him without wavering. He wants us to see Him as the source of all goodness and reward. That is why He asks for faith in Him.

So I invite you, search the scriptures, build your faith, refuse to waver, and see God’s reward for diligently seeking Him.

It doesn’t matter what you need from Christ, wisdom, grace, understanding, or simply help. If you’re tired, if you’re weary, if you’re lost- go to Him.

He is the source of everything we need. Won’t you seek Him without wavering today?

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Adjusting the white balance

One of my old roommates was taking a photography class back in the day. As part of his projects he had to take several pictures with different lightings, and being his roommate, I observed his work. I noticed that every time he was about to take a picture he would hold up a white piece of paper and do some tinkering on the camera. He called this adjusting the white balance.

You see, no matter what lighting the picture was taken in, the camera had to be adjusted- and it had to be adjusted only by a certain card. As I thought about this, I realized that it was a lot like our focus in the Christian life.

Proverbs 28:5 tells us, “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.”

Evil men don’t understand righteousness and proper judgment because their lives aren’t based on any standard. They live how they want. They’re like a camera that hasn’t been balanced. They are unaware of what is proper because they live without any guidelines.

Those who seek the Lord, however, they understand. It’s interesting, they understand not only judgment, but they understand all things. No matter what situation, circumstance, or ‘lighting’ these people are in, they can make sense of it. They can judge what is true. Their view isn’t off color or wrongly shaded because they have a standard, and their standard is the Lord. With their eyes on Christ they perceive what is truly important and what is not. What is righteous and what is evil. What is proper and what is not.

If we try to focus our lives on what we see around us, and the “light” around us we will never have a clear picture of our situations. But if we keep the standard of Christ before our eyes, and seek Him, we can have understanding in any situation.

I challenge you, let us not be as the wicked who are tossed to and fro. Let us seek the Lord, and while we seek Him, and adopt Him as our standard of living, we can live our lives on the rock. While others may find themselves in confusion, we will have a sure foundation from which to stand, and to pull others out of the storm.

Let’s live on the Rock!

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

It works while you sleep . . .

Imagine if you could benefit yourself while you sleep. I mean, other than just rejuvenating your body. Imagine if you had a way to benefit yourself spiritually while you slept. That would be pretty amazing right? Well, I’m not going to try to tell you about playing audio books of the gospels or anything. I’d like to share something with you found in Proverbs 6:22.

It says, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother . . .  When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.”

Notice the second verse, it tells us that obeying the wise instruction of our parents will, lead us and show us the way. It will guard us when we sleep. And it will communicate with us when we awake.

The Bible tells us that if we will pay attention to the wisdom and commands of our parents we can gain all these benefits. One of them, is being protected while we sleep. I interpret, “When thou sleepest, it shall keep thee.” as referring to protecting your thought life even while you sleep. But it could have other interpretations. It could mean that the wise choices that wisdom helps you make in the day indirectly bring physical protection to you. Or it could be referring to a direct supernatural protection from God that comes from being in His will.

Whatever the protection is, it must be something good.

So I challenge you, “Keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.” If you do these things and treasure the wisdom of your parents, God promises that you will prosper and reap His blessings- even while you sleep!

Better than any return

Let me share with you a principle of financing that may very well change your life. Whenever you go to work, you trade time and energy for money. Later, you trade money for other people’s time and energy in the form of goods and services. Many people live like this and never take advantage of the principles of true wealth. True wealth is not just value, it’s return.

For instance, your money has value, but when you put it in the bank for a little time, it make 2 cents or so. That minuscule amount is your return. If you trade stocks wisely or buy a stock with dividends you gain money. When you buy a house, that house has value. When you rent a house, that house(value) makes you money. It’s return on your investment.

The secret to residual income is being able to live off your return.

If you can live off your return, then you aren’t loosing value and your wealth can last for generations. Many people live off the value of their time and energy and rarely if ever take advantage of this valuable principle.

And now, if you’re wondering why I’m giving out financial advice on a devotional website, the reason is that I really wanted to share with you this really cool word picture God makes in Proverbs.

You see, in Proverbs 1 and 2, Solomon speaks of wisdom and understanding like it’s a great treasure. He tells his son to go seek it out and search for it like he would seek for hidden treasure. He continues by telling his son that God hides special wisdom for the righteous. In Proverbs 3, the picture continues.

Proverbs 3:13 says, “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than find gold.”

Solomon was an amazingly rich king. He definitely understood principles of financing. He tells his son, that wisdom and understanding (the kind you get from God) has a better return than silver and gold. Realize this, Solomon wasn’t just saying that wisdom was more valuable that silver and gold. Solomon said that wisdom produces things that are more valuable than silver and gold.

If you think that paying off your mortgage is cool, or having loads of gold and silver is amazing, think again. The wisdom that comes from God is more valuable than any earthly treasure.  I challenge you, seek to acquire the wisdom of God. It’s value surpasses the best investment. God tells us that the man that finds the wisdom of God is happy, and I believe He meant that as an understatement.

Oh and if you decide to accept this quest of searching for one of the greatest treasure/investments on earth, then I wish to give you three clues.

Psalm 111:10 Proverbs 1:7 Proverbs 9:10

Happy Hunting!

PS: I realize I was a little vague with the benefits of gaining wisdom and understanding. For more details see: Proverbs 3:14-18

 

Are you awesome?

A lot of things depend on our perspective. For instance, if I consider myself an awesome person, and someone insults me and tells me I’m an idiot, then my deductive reasoning would go like this: "I am awesome. They say I am not awesome. They are wrong." If however, I value the opinions of others more than my own thinking, I’ll think something like this: "They say I’m an idiot. Popular opinion is always correct. I am an idiot." Well, in all reasonableness, neither schools of thought are correct, but they serve as an example. Whatever you accept above all else, will govern your beliefs.

I would like to give you another example, an example that is a little more serious and relevant. John has a Christian family member that dies of a serious disease. John thinks, "This disease was a terrible thing. God allowed this disease. God is terrible." You see how having an improper focus can distort the truth.

Let’s turn that same thing around. Imagine if John were to have a firm biblical basis for his thinking. John would think, "This disease is terrible. God allowed this disease. I know God is good. Somehow, someway God must have had a reason for allowing this disease. God is still good even though He allowed this "terrible" thing.

Now, if John were to continue to read his Bible, He might find a verse such as Romans 8:28, "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Using that verse, John could deduce that God had a loving purpose in allowing the disease.

Now, I don’t know of many people who want to have Romans 8:28 quoted to them when they are grieving a serious loss. Please don’t try to tell grieving people that they should cheer up. Grieving is normal and natural. Our Lord and Savior wept for Lazarus even though he knew that he would raise him from the dead in a few moments!

But, I would like to share this thought with you: Take God at His word. Whether you are a "logical" person or not, you use some form of logic. We all have beliefs that we take without proof. As a Christian, I would challenge you to take God’s Word, The Holy Bible, as your ultimate proof. When you face the world, never question it. Trust God alone, and you will find your life a lot simpler.

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." – Proverbs 3:5

When you’ve been wronged . . .

Have you ever just known that you had been wronged. Something played out, and you knew that someone had wronged you and you had rights. You were ready to fight for yourself and enact vengeance, and get justice! Take it all the way to the Supreme Court! if you will. When we think we have been wronged, it is not our place to seek out absolute justice. We must seek God on the correct action.

Remember when Joseph and Mary were planning to get married? (Matthew 1:18-24) Turns out Mary became pregnant. We know that the child was conceived by the Holy Ghost, but Joseph didn’t. From my limited understanding of Jewish law, I believe he was within his rights to have her publicly stoned. According to Jewish culture they were already married, and from Joseph’s viewpoint, she had committed adultery.

Joseph reacted mercifully. Joseph choose to show love and compassion. He was going to put her away privately. Isn’t that a perfect picture of Christ? While it’s typical of the world to cry justice, Christ shows mercy to us.

But let’s take another look at the situation. How embarrassing would it have been for Joseph if he had angrily decided to stone her. Imagine, the Lord intervening and shining a light and telling him that the Messiah was to come from his wife. All in all, it would have been a messy situation.

Keep that idea in your mind. The awkward correction and the anger inside being forced to subside. Every time we react in anger to a situation that we don’t have all the facts for, we have the potential of having that exact type of situation. How easy is it to go from showing mercy, to finding out that no mercy in needed. How hard is it to go from an angry obsession with justice, to a realization that we are wrong.

How are you when you find that you may have been wronged? Do you react rightly? Or do you react in anger and vengeance? The example of Joseph is not perfect, I grant you, but I leave you with this. Don’t make decisions without having all the facts, or without exercising God’s love. We must be very careful when we find ourselves administering justice. Sometimes it’s warranted, and sometimes we need to show mercy. No matter which, each action must be taken in an attitude of love. For without love, we are nothing.

Do you react in love?

The things of God

Remember being a little kid and wanting to understand something that your parents or another adult was doing? You may have tried to figure out what to do, but epically failed. You had seen them do it before, and you understood a little, but not much at all. In order for you to understand adult things, as a little kid, you needed an adult to explain things to you. Our relationship with God is just like that. If we want to understand the things of God, we must receive and operate in the Holy Spirit that God has provided for us.

1 Corinthians 2:11 says, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." In short this verse is saying, just like only humans understand human things, only God understands His things. It says in order for us to understand the things of God, we must be using the Spirit of God. If Paul ended with that, we would have no hope, but he continues.

In the next verse he says, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God." He says we have received this spirit so we could know what God has given us. You see, we can’t understand any thing that pertains to God unless we are using the Spirit which He has provided. So knowing that, we cannot use our natural human spirit (understanding) to understand and explain and learn from the Bible. We must ask God to give us the Spirit He has provided so we can understand.

Think about when you became saved. You probably were not studying the Bible like a textbook. Or maybe you were. But at some moment you began to realize that the Holy Spirit was working on your heart. You could have rejected His leading, and tried to think up how you could be saved through logic, but you didn’t, you allowed Him to convict you, (he used emotions) and you allowed him to explain to you, (logically, through a person or a Bible or both) and you responded. You see, God uses logic and emotions, but they must be in their proper place. If we try to put them above the understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit, they are not in the right place, and we will not be able to understand the things of God.

I would like to challenge you. Next time you read your Bible, ask God to help you understand it. Don’t try to figure out the Bible in your own head. You can’t. You can’t know God stuff without God explaining it to you. God wants to explain His blessings to you through His Holy Spirit. He says that he has offered His spirit to us. Why? So, "we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. " Do you want to understand everything God has given you? Ask God to start explaining!

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. " – 1 Corinthians 2:10

Seeking rebuke?

Being corrected is not always the easiest thing. When someone comes to correct us, even in love, we may be tempted to be offended. Being offended at correction, especially unasked for correction, is a wrong attitude. God tells us that wise men receive correction.

Proverbs 9:8-9 says, "Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." This passage tells us who to give advice to, but we can gather much more from these verses. In these verses we see both the wise and the foolish reactions to instruction. A wise man will take instruction and learn from it. A scorner will reject wise counsel.

I would invite you to search yourself. Do you receive correction easily? Are you willing to humble yourself and consider the advice of others? If not, ask God to give you the humility to accept the correction of others. Also, ask Him to give you the discretion to know whose advice is worthy of following, and whose advice you should discard. We can learn much from those around us, but only if we listen. Will you allow God to correct you through those around you?

"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." – Proverbs 1:5

A steward of the Word

Have you ever known someone is constantly looking to know more, but they don’t use the information they have? In this age of information people are constantly looking to acquire more and more information. In these times, we have study tools for the Bible that are accessible to the common man like never before, but does it honor God if we don’t use it?

James 1:22 says, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." God doesn’t want us to just hear about the Word of God, he wants us to apply it to our lives. Education is great, but it is only useful to those who use it to benefit their lives. How often do we as Christians spend time disputing minute details of theology when we have failed to follow the simple things that Christ commanded.

In Matthew 25, we find can find the parable of the talents. A Lord gave each of the servants an amount of money. When He returned he demanded to know what they had done with what He had given them. Those who had used His money were blessed, but the one who had buried it was cursed.

What has God given you?

Are you using the knowledge God has given you? Are you using Word of God to the Glory of God? Or have you simply read or memorized the Bible and not allowed it to affect your heart? God isn’t interested in degrees as much as He is interested in our diligent obedience to Him. I would like to challenge you. Whatever knowledge or understanding you have about God, use it! You don’t need to be a theologian to understand God’s Words. Christianity is simple. God’s Word is powerful, let’s use it as God intended it, as a guide for our lives.

"Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." – Psalm 119:105

Christ is praying, for you

Do you ever get discouraged? When a person goes through a trial, they may be tempted to think that they are all alone in the fight. As Christians, nothing could be farther from the truth.

A while ago, I was reading in Luke. Jesus is speaking prophetically to Peter and He says, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Don’t you think that it’s awesome that the answer to Jesus’ prayer was a ‘when’? Let me say that again, Jesus prayed and then He was able to say in confidence that, when my prayer is answered, do this. Jesus got guaranteed answers to His prayers, and He knew it. When I realized that, I thought to myself, "That must have been cool to have Jesus praying for you." I was almost jealous of Peter, until I read Romans 8.

Romans 8:34 says, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." He is praying His will for our lives. Christ’s prayers have power for obvious reasons, and He is praying, for us. Isn’t that a great encouragement?

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" – Romans 8:31