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?

Do you love death?

I’m pretty sure anyone reading this  would answer a resounding “no!” Well, perhaps not. There are a few fringe groups of people who may announce that they have a loving relationship with death. But since they haven’t died, there is only so much they can say. Death does carry a fascination for most people, but they say they love death, they probably don’t understand the nature of it.

But do you know that you can metaphorically love death.

You might be thinking, I love life. I don’t want to die! But in reality, you’re living a life that will bring you death.

In Proverbs 8:30, the personification of wisdom says, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.”

If you hate wisdom, you love death. It’s that simple.

If you filled a room full of people, and asked them, “Do you hate wisdom?” Few to none would raise their hands. But oftentimes we hate wisdom in little ways.

We neglect to listen to our parents. We think that we can have it all figured out. We disregard our pastor’s message. Or our friends advice.

Look at it another way. Are you actively seeking wisdom? Are you looking for wise people to mentor you? Do you spend time searching the scriptures for guidance?

Do you love wisdom?

I would venture to say that for every bit you edge away from loving wisdom, you move towards hating it. The difference between love and hate is not black and white. Sin is missing the mark. There is no in between. Either you hit the mark, or you missed it.

Are you satisfied with how you love and seek out wisdom? Or do you need to work in that area? I challenge you, choose to love wisdom. Live your life searching it out. If you love your life by loving wisdom, you will probably find yourself with more of both.

“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not . . . For whoso findeth me [wisdom] findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.” Proverbs 8:33,35

When you need the utterance

Have you ever seen someone speak the truth, but you knew that something about it wasn’t right. Perhaps it was their attitude, or maybe they were addressing a side issue when they probably should have focused on something else. In short, they spoke what they believed to be right, but it was not led by the Spirit at all. They were in the flesh, and the truth that they spoke seemed to go unheeded.

That is how the speech of many Christians is, when they do not try to give truth according to the Spirit’s leading. It’s not that God can’t do anything with that sort of speech, it is simply that He could do so much more if they would heed His leading.

Paul gives a very clear example of this when He asks the Ephesians to pray for him. He asks them to pray, “for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

So let’s break this down, Paul asks for utterance, or speech, so he can speak boldly to preach the gospel. He mentions that the gospel is the reason he is an ambassador in bonds, and because he is an ambassador, he should speak boldly.

I think the key to truly understanding this short passage is understanding the world “utterance.” It’s a very common word that refers to spoken word or speech. Here’s the key, Paul wasn’t asking for boldness. He was asking for words so that he could speak boldly. That’s the key to understanding this whole passage.

Paul was asking that the Ephesians would pray that God would give Him the words to say so that he could speak freely and with confidence and declare the mystery of the gospel. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” If you look throughout the Bible, you will find many men of God who declare God’s truth. And when they declare it, things happen. I honestly believe the best way to declare God’s truth is to declare His truth after receiving His utterance. When you receive utterance from God, you can truly speak boldly and with freedom and declare His truth with maximum effect.

I challenge you to first declare God’s truth. Both with your life, and with your words. Secondly, I pray that you would receive utterance to speak with boldness, and that you would be sensitive to God’s leading in how and when to speak His truth.

When you don’t need to know

Little kids want to know everything. They are always asking why, or how much, or how much longer, where did this come from, when will we do this, etc. Sometimes their questions are relevant. Sometimes they are not. It’s the same with all of us grown ups. We can ask a lot questions: some that need answering, and some that aren’t so pressing.

When we read the Bible, we can gain so much information. There is a multitude of knowledge woven into God’s Holy Book and we can gain much from any study of the Word. However, if we approach the Bible without a proper attitude and understanding, we can waste a lot of time. Yes, I said you can waste time when studying your Bible. It’s true!

In John 20:30, we can read, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:” Think about that, God left a whole bunch of information out of the Bible. Jesus did so much, and we only have a small portion of what He did. Why would God leave so much out? Well, the next verse gives us insight. It says, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

It’s quite simple, God wanted us to have life. He wanted us to believe on Him. And that’s why He ordained the Bible to be written. The Bible was written that we might be saved, and that we might continue on living a full life with God.

The Bible was not written to satisfy our every curiosity. There is much profit in studying God’s word, but every once in a while we should examine our method and motive for studying it. Sometimes our questions aren’t relevant. Questions perhaps like, “I wonder what the sop was at the last supper?” “What color were Jesus’ eyes?” “Who are the two witnesses in Revelation 11?” Obviously God didn’t tell us. There might be a reason why. It’s fun to wonder now and then, but we don’t necessarily need to spend exorbitant amounts of time theorizing about what God found proper not to tell us.

In Daniel 12, God tells Daniel many things. Daniel asks God how everything will end and God says, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” Just like we can, Daniel asked out of curiosity, and not out of a desire for holiness and maturity. There is nothing wrong with being curious, but sometimes it can be wiser to simply use the information revealed to live a righteous life.

God knew what He was doing when He wrote the Bible, and He knew what He was doing when he left information out. He gave us more than enough to live an abundant life. Let us not fritter away our time away wistfully wondering about information God considered unnecessary. I challenge you as I challenge myself: Let us take what God has given us and allow it to refine us into who we need to be for Him.

We can never exhaust the supply of wisdom to be found in the Scriptures, but we can strive to gain as much as we can in the few short hours given to us. Lets use the Word to gain Holiness and Glorify God!

The patient wait

What stirs the heart of God? What brings the interest of God? In what is God pleased? What causes God to move to action? These questions could be answered by many different qualities found in righteous people, but I honestly believe that a person’s patientce combined with expectation or hope is most effective in bringing God’s intervention.

Proverbs 40:1 says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” Notice the action that David took. He waited patiently. In our fast paced world, we don’t like to wait for things. We want it now, or we want something else that we can have now. These impulses are deeply rooted in pride and selfishness. Think about it, humility brings us patience. Many people would wait all day to meet a famous actor or politician. Why? Because they find that person worthy of their time. But many times people fail to recognize the God of the universe as worthy of their time as a mortal being.

In order to patiently wait, David had humility.

One interesting thing about this verse is that the Hebrew word for “patiently” and the Hebrew word for “waited” are exactly the same. The word carries more than one meaning and in Hebrew, its interpretation is intensified by it’s repetition.  One other meaning in this word is to expect or hope for something. Honestly, you don’t have to be an amazing scholar to recognize that the only reason that you would wait for something, is that you actually expect it. I mean, who waits for something that they know is not going to happen?

So two qualities of David’s heart are portrayed by his waiting: his humility in his willingness to wait, and his expectation (faith).

And what was the answer? God inclined to him and heard him. We see such an equation repeated over and over in the Bible. When people humbly stand in faith for God to move, He moves. When they humbly ask and believe, He answers. Over and over again.

So how about you? What do you need from God today? Are you asking in humility? Do you ask God for something, and then soon give up because He doesn’t answer immediately, or do you patiently and expectantly wait for His reply?

I challenge you, whatever you desire from God: deliverance, wisdom, ability, strength, health, patience, etc. , ask Him. Ask in humility, and ask in expectation and He will answer.

Do you cover the sins of others?

Have you ever made a huge mistake? I’m talking about a huge mistake. A mistake that had some repercussions. And while you were staring at your mistake and being overwhelmed by it, someone came, corrected the mistake, and didn’t say anything. In a sense, they “covered” for you. I know I’ve had the blessing of that happen to me more than once.

The Bible seems to mention that exact situation in Proverbs 10. It says, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. Think about that for a moment. Hatred increases contention, but love hides it. Imagine your making a mistake, and someone comes over, points it out, complains about it, tells all kinds of people, makes a big deal about correcting it, and then brings it up all the time. That’s the hatred that increases strife.

But remember the first situation. If they simply helped you fix the problem and moved on, then life was a lot simpler and peace was maintained.

I think it’s obvious which situation we should opt for. Love covers sin.

When you see that someone has made a mistake that either harms themselves or you, don’t make a scene. Don’t let your hatred increase strife. Decide to love, cover the sin, and move on. Obviously, if someone is being repetitive about their “mistakes” then you may need to cut ties with them, but make sure it is necessary. Many times we unnecessarily take opportunity to stir up strife, when in actuality, we should be covering each other’s sins.

I encourage you, cover the sins of those around you and keep strife at a minimum. Ask God for wisdom if you ever believe you must depart from another’s company, but until then, keep your love covering, and your forgiveness free.

It’s a stretch of the heart

Have you ever forgotten important information? Ever fallen asleep during church or during a lecture or meeting? Ever just “blank out” when you were supposed to remember something? I used to do that all the time when I was younger, and even now there are plenty of times when I fail to apply myself to listen to the important things in life.

In Proverbs 2, Solomon gives instruction about wisdom. He tells his son to get wisdom, search it out, treasure it, etc, etc. He says, if you receive what I have to say and do it, then you will have great reward. I noticed something in verse 2 that I had never seen before.

Verse 2 says, “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;” When your reading, you can easily skip over a verse like this. Honestly, it’s sortof reduntant, and all Solomon is saying is that you should listen up. But if you take the time to treasure the word of God, you are rewarded.

The interesting thing about this verse is that suggests that in order to listen and attend to the words of wisdom, you have to work, and you have to change. The word for “incline” actually carries the idea of sharpening. Sharpen your hearing abilities to hear wisdom. When you sharpen something, you can use it less and get a better result. Think about that, if you take the time to “work” on hearing, you won’t have to hear God’s wisdom fifty times before you “get it.” If you incline (sharpen) your ears, you can hear something less, and gain more.

Secondly, you must apply your heart to understanding. The word for “apply” also holds a gem for us. It means to stretch. Think about stretching, it’s not comfortable, most people don’t want to do it, and sometimes it hurts. But in the end, you can reach what you couldn’t before ( like maybe your toes), and you have more capabilities. Think, after you stretch, things that weren’t in reach, now are.

So I challenge you, make a decision today to sharpen your hearing when it comes to understanding. Make a decision to stretch your heart. If you do, you can learn more while hearing less, and reach higher levels of understanding that you couldn’t before. It might be work, and it might be uncomfortable, but you will be the better for it.

I am embarrassed to confess this, but I must. I was once asked, (after I had fallen asleep in church) if I could have managed to stay awake if I would be paid a million dollars to do so. I replied, “of course!” Then I was left with the uncomfortable realization that money was more important to me than God’s wisdom. This should never be true of myself, or any person. We can sharpen our hearing, and stretch our hearts, we simply must value the right things to do so.

Let’s ask God to help us value His wisdom.

God’s time warp?

Imagine if you could have more than 24 hours in a day. If you could choose to lengthen your day. Throughout my life I’ve always heard people say things like, “We all only have 24 hours a day.” or “I wish I had more time today.” While I was reading the Scripture, I found that it seems that God has provided a way for us to get more “time” out of our day.

In Proverbs 3, Solomon tells his son to keep his commandments. Solomon tells him that the reward for this is, “length of days, and long life, and peace.” Long life and peace are both easily understandable. But length of days, seems a little confusing. How can your day be longer? Is God talking about a time warp for the righteous?

I don’t really think so. I once heard the phrase “length of days” interpreted as the ability to get more done in your day than others.

You see, when you follow the Lord and obey His commandments, He is with you. When Joseph was in Potiphar’s house, he was highly favored, and God prospered everything he put his hand to. I honestly believe that when we follow the commands of the Lord and work for His glory, then we can accomplish far more in a day for Him than we could ever accomplish by ourselves.

So I encourage you, obey the commands of God, and when you go to work in the course of your day, remember who is with you. Ask God to give you length of days. Ask Him to help you get more done in the time you have. You might be surprised how much you can accomplish when God divinely directs you.

Oh, and if you ever need a day to be a few hours longer, don’t be afraid to ask for a few hours. I mean, He did it for Hezekiah, and for Joshua, so why not for you?

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!

Don’t knock it till you try it?

Have you ever heard that phrase before? Maybe one of your friends was doing something weird with their condiments or they were eating frog legs or something. Perhaps they were telling you of some amazing experience they had with an extreme sport. People use the phrase many times and in many different contexts. In some situations, it may be wisdom, but in others, it is pure folly.

Think of your favorite hobby, favorite dessert, or favorite music. Imagine, if you stubbornly refused to try it, you would have missed out on something great!  But now that you have tried it, you can enjoy just one more of God’s blessings. From this perspective, “Don’t knock it till you try it” can seem like a pretty good life’s motto.

But it isn’t always wisdom.

In Proverbs 4, Solomon gives this wisdom, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” He describes the life of the wicked as one that is restless, violent, and in darkness. In contrast, the life of the just man is, “as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

Solomon’s charge is clear. Stay away from wickedness. Trust me, you don’t need to try sin to know that it’s harmful, just like you don’t need to try jumping off a skyscraper to know it will kill you. Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of wisdom. God knows what is good for us and what is not. If we insist on “trying” evil so we can experience it, we aren’t like some wise open-minded philosopher. Instead, we are like the stubborn 5 year old who shoves his hand on the stove because he doesn’t believe what mommy said.

So next time you hear “Don’t knock it till you try it” use some discretion. If it’s a simple matter of preference, why not? Go out and try something new! If it is morally wrong or ethically shady, I leave you with the wisdom of Solomon: “Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”