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The Peace of Wisdom

The Peace of Wisdom

Today’s Scripture: “ By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place” Proverbs 3:19

Godly wisdom can be defined as the capacity to see things the way the Lord sees them and to respond according to His principles. One of the great benefits of this mindset is inner peace and contentment. Generally, when life’s running smoothly and all is well with us and our loved ones, we have no trouble experiencing contentment. But so often when situations become difficult, God’s perspective eludes us, and our peace is rapidly replaced with stress, anxiety, and fear.

To view a difficult circumstance from the Lord’s perspective, we need to see it encompassed by the boundaries of His character and attributes. Even when the particulars of life are beyond our control, the One who rules the universe remains sovereign over all things—down to the smallest details. He loves us unconditionally and always works for our best interest. Therefore, if He has allowed a situation, there is a divine plan and reason, and the outcome will be for our good and His glory.

That wise perspective will lead to a godly response—complete confidence and trust in the Lord despite any pain or hardship. Because of the indwelling Spirit, we have the assurance that He is more than adequate for whatever comes our way, which means we are sufficient in Him.

When difficulty hits, don’t let sound wisdom vanish from your sight. Keep your eyes on the Lord. By seeing every situation through His eyes, you can rest in His wisdom and good purposes. Then stress will lift, anxiety will be replaced with peace, and confidence in the Lord will silence your fears.

 

 

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Put Your Trust In Him

Put Your Trust In Him

Today’s Scripture: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust I You.” Psalm 56:3

God has not given His children a spirit of fear or timidity (II Timothy 1:7). Yet fear paralyzes many Christians in states of hopelessness, torment, and uselessness. The opposite of fear is faith. When we are tempted to fear, we must put our trust in the Lord.

We Can Trust God Exclusively. The only person who will never let you down is Jesus. He is absolutely dependable. All people, even those you love and cherish the most, are sinners filled with flaws. Even the best of people are capable of disappointing you. The Lord alone is worthy of your complete trust. He is the wholly faithful One.

We Can Trust God Entirely. You can trust God in every situation. Fear can only grip you in its despair and doubt if you let it. You can trust God with your salvation, your prayer requests, and your personal needs. Nothing is too large or small to bring to Him in prayer. No matter what you face, you can depend on Him.

We Can Trust God Eternally. Not only can you trust God exclusively and completely in this life, but you can also trust Him in eternity. Should Jesus tarry in His return, all people will encounter death. Regardless of how healthy, wealthy, or wise you are, you will share in the common experience of death. As a Christian, death should not cause you to fear. When you are at last absent from your body, you will be present with the Lord. In His presence there is no fear; only abundant life and joy forevermore!

Are you tempted to be afraid? You do not have to be. Instead, you can depend on Christ exclusively, entirely, and eternally. What man does to you does not matter if your hope is in Jesus. Walk in faith, not fear. Lean on the One who is worthy of your trust!

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True Freedom

True Freedom

Today’s Scripture: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

At the time when Jesus was born, the Israelites were experiencing great oppression. They looked forward to the promised Messiah, who would bring freedom and victory.

But instead of overtaking the Romans, Jesus spoke about respecting authority and loving enemies. Rather than win victory for the Jews alone, He brought blessing even to despised Gentiles (John 4:4-30; Luke 7:6-10). The people expected Him to overpower the domineering nation through battle, but He allowed those in authority to crucify Him.

So the Jews rejected Jesus. Surely, they thought, this was not the promised Savior who would liberate the chosen people. They failed to understand that Christ was most concerned about the freedom of our hearts. He came to release us from the sin bondage in our lives, but He does not always free us from our current circumstance.
A letter I received illustrates this beautifully. After 15 years in prison for habitual criminal acts and drug addiction, the writer shared that everyone had given up on him. He felt hopeless until he was saved and began following Jesus. Now, the bitterness and anger are gone, and he is filled with joy and peace. He has been liberated. He still faces temptations and he still is in jail, but he has experienced true freedom.

Jesus came for you—He died to pay your sin debt. Have you accepted His free gift of salvation? His power can tackle sin in your life, and His truth can overcome harmful faulty thinking. Walking with Him is truly walking in freedom, so lean on His strength, and choose the right path.

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On Trial Before Pilate

On Trial Before Pilate

Today’s Scripture: “And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, ‘ Art thou the King of the Jews?’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou sayest.’” Matthew 27:11

The most famous trial in history is about to begin.

The judge is short and patrician with darting eyes and expensive clothes. His graying hair trimmed and face beardless. He is apprehensive, nervous about being thrust into a decision he can’t avoid. Two soldiers lead him down the stone stairs of the fortress into the broad courtyard. Shafts of morning sunlight stretch across the stone floor.

As he enters, Syrian soldiers dressed in short togas yank themselves and their spears erect and stare straight ahead. The floor on which they stand is a mosaic of broad, brown, smooth rocks. On the floor are carved the games the soldiers play while awaiting the sentencing of the prisoner.

But in the presence of the procurator, they don’t play.

A regal chair is placed on a landing five steps up from the floor. The magistrate ascends and takes his seat. The accused is brought into the room and placed below him. A covey of robed religious leaders follow, walk over to one side of the room, and stand.

Pilate looks at the lone figure…

“Are you the king of the Jews?”

For the first time, Jesus lifts His eyes. He doesn’t raise His head, but He lifts His eyes. He peers at the procurator from beneath His brow. Pilate is surprised at the tone in Jesus’ voice.

“Those are your words.”

Before Pilate can respond, the knot of Jewish leaders mock the accused from the side of the courtroom.

“See, he has no respect.”

“He stirs the people!”

“He claims to be king!”

Pilate doesn’t hear them. Those are your words. No defense. No explanation. No panic. The Galilean is looking at the floor again.

Something about this country rabbi appeals to Pilate. He’s different from the bleeding hearts who cluster outside. He’s not like the leaders with the chest-length beards who one minute boast of a sovereign God and the next beg for lower taxes. His eyes are not the fiery ones of the zealots who are such a pain to the Pax Romana he tries to keep. He’s different, this up-country Messiah.

Pilate wants to let Jesus go. Just give me a reason, he thinks, almost aloud. I’ll set you free.

His thoughts are interrupted by a tap on the shoulder. A messenger leans and whispers. Strange. Pilate’s wife has sent word not to get involved in the case. Something about a dream she had.

Pilate walks back to his chair, sits, and stares at Jesus. “Even the gods are on your side?” he states with no explanation.

He has sat in this chair before. It’s a curule seat: cobalt blue with thick, ornate legs. The traditional seat of decision. By sitting on it Pilate transforms any room or street into a courtroom. It is from here he renders decisions.
How many times has he sat here? How many stories has he heard? How many pleas has he received? How many wide eyes have stared at him, pleading for mercy, begging for acquittal?

But the eyes of this Nazarene are calm, silent. They don’t scream. They don’t dart. Pilate searches them for anxiety … for anger. He doesn’t find it. What he finds makes him shift again.

He’s not angry with me. He’s not afraid … He seems to understand.

Pilate is correct in his observation. Jesus is not afraid. He is not angry. He is not on the verge of panic. For He is not surprised. Jesus knows His hour and the hour has come.

Pilate is correct in his curiosity. Where, if Jesus is a leader, are his followers? What, if he is the Messiah, does He intend to do? Why, if He is a teacher, are the religious leaders so angry at Him?

Pilate is also correct in his question. “What should I do with Jesus, the one called the Christ?” (Matthew 27:22)

Perhaps you, like Pilate, are curious about this one called Jesus. You, like Pilate, are puzzled by His claims and stirred by His passions

What do you do with a man who calls himself the Savior, yet condemns systems? What do you do with a man who knows the place and time of his death, yet goes there anyway?

Pilate’s question is yours. “What will I do with this man, Jesus?”

You have two choices.

You can reject Him. That is an option. You can, as have many, decide that the idea of God’s becoming a carpenter is too bizarre—and walk away.

Or you can accept Him. You can journey with Him. You can listen for His voice amidst the hundreds of voices and follow Him.

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A Place of Thus Far

A Place of Thus Far

“Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, ‘Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?'”  2 Samuel 7:18 (ESV)

Have you ever been in a place of “thus far?” A place where you are experiencing God’s blessing and favor on your life. Not blessings and favor by the world’s standards of materialism and wealth, but by the Lord’s standard of provision, protection, providence, and peace that come from walking in His presence daily.

I want to be in that place of faith, like David, following the Lord’s leading and trusting His ways, not my own. I want to meet regularly with the Lord, sitting and taking summary of all He has done for me. With thankfulness and humility, I want to say, “Who am I that you have brought me thus far?”

Oh the places David had seen in his lifetime! From grassy meadows to the splendor of palace life. From dirty fields tending sheep to hiding in a drafty cave, and then to the throne itself, King David arrived at a place of “thus far” in his life. He had experienced every emotion that exists, from confidence to fear, love to hate, and sadness to joy. After all that King David had been through I can certainly understand why he needed to go sit before the LORD and ask, “Who am I?”

He was overwhelmed with the goodness of God and the faithfulness he had experienced. He had been through some of the toughest situations a person could go through, yet he remained faithful and God gave David his reward. Yet, I have to think the reward of kingship and royalty paled in comparison to knowing the goodness and faithfulness of God.

Have you been there? Life has taken twists, turns, and changes at every bend, yet somehow for a season you have arrived at a place of seeing spiritual blessings from the Lord. Yet you realize your place of thus far pales in comparison to knowing and experiencing the goodness and faithfulness of God.

No matter what current circumstances you find yourself in, with our Living God there is always a place of “thus far” waiting around the next bend. This is a place of celebration, praise, complete humility and gratitude before the Lord. I have discovered the hardships we go through are all worthwhile when we get to our place of “thus far.” From a grateful heart, we can pour our blessings back out to the Lord as we cry, “Who I am Lord, that you have brought me thus far?”

Dear Lord, forgive me when I don’t sit and take summary of Your tremendous favor in my life. Your blessings are far superior to anything this world can give me. Help me to remember my place of “thus far” when Your plan for my life leads me to another season that may be risky and cause me to walk by faith and not by sight. I offer this praise of thanksgiving to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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Life’s Great Liberator

Life’s Great Liberator

Today’s Scripture: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” Luke 4:18

From some people’s countenance, we judge them to be happy. Smiles, makeup, and stylish clothing can create an appearance of inner peace. Internally, though, many are in bondage.

In today’s passage, Jesus clarifies His purpose: He has come to set free those in captivity. Christ was referring to several types of bonds that can imprison our souls.

First, Jesus breaks the chains of sin. All people have broken God’s law and consequently live apart from Him (Romans 3:23). But Christ’s death and resurrection free us when we accept His gift of forgiveness and place our trust in Him. Then we can have a relationship with the Lord.

Secondly, He liberates us from persistent sins like jealousy, bitterness, and gluttony. His Spirit resides within each believer and provides the power to overcome wrong choices that seemed to “own” us. He enables us to do what He desires—by bringing immediate healing or by giving guidance and strength in the ongoing battle.

The Creator of mankind made us with a void in our hearts for Jesus to fill. Everything we put there—whether it seems like a good thing at the time or an obvious bad choice—will ultimately leave us empty. And we will remain in bondage until God frees us and then provides the only true satisfaction.

Are you one of those people who appear happy and seem to have life figured out, and yet inside feel uneasy and empty? Jesus Christ is the only One who can redeem you, forgive your sins, and fill the vacant place in your soul. Allow Him to liberate you today.

 

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Acquiring Great Faith

Acquiring Great Faith

Today’s Scripture: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son “ Hebrews 11:17

I’ve had people tell me, “I wish that I had great faith.” While most of us would like God to just drop that kind of confidence into our laps, it’s not the way He operates. Faith increases as a result of our obedience in little things. We all marvel at Abraham’s willingness to offer up Isaac at the Lord’s command. But have you ever stopped to consider all of his smaller steps of submission that prepared the way for this enormous test?

Throughout his lifetime, Abraham obeyed God. At the Lord’s command, he left his country (Genesis 12:1-4), was circumcised (Genesis 17:10, 26), conceived Isaac in his old age (Genesis 21:1-3), and sent his son Ishmael away (Genesis 21:9-14). By the time he was asked to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, he already knew that his God would always be faithful to His promises. His previous experiences had taught Him to trust the Lord.

In the same way, each small step of obedience solidifies our confidence in God. Then, when He challenges us with a more difficult assignment, a firm foundation of assurance enables us to trust and obey Him. Great acts of faith flow from our past interactions with the Lord. By neglecting His simple commands, we miss priceless opportunities to witness His faithfulness.

Having trouble trusting God for something big? Maybe it’s because you’ve ignored those “small” and “insignificant” promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord considers each of His commands important and promises to reward every act of obedience, regardless of size. Great faith begins with little steps.

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The Secret Of The Quiet Heart

The Secret Of The Quiet Heart

Today’s Scripture: “Be still, and know that I am God.”—Psalm 46:10.

“Sit still, my daughter, for the man will not rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”—Ruth 3:18.

PARADISE HAS vanished from our world, as the picture of a landscape vanishes when swept by storm. And our race stands in much the same plight as did Naomi and Ruth in this old-world story. We have lost our inheritance, and the one barrier which stands between us and despair is the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, thank God, we need have no doubt as to the sequel. For as Boaz claimed back the estate for Ruth, so may we be confident that Jesus Christ will never be at rest till this sin-stained and distracted world is restored to her primitive order and beauty, as when the morning-stars sang for joy.

Jesus is our near Kinsman by His assumption of our nature. He is the nearest and dearest Friend of our race, who stooped to die for our redemption. And the fact that He carried our nature in Himself to heaven, and wears it there, is an indissoluble bond between us. Sit still! do not fret! He will never fail, as He will certainly never forsake!

Let us seek the quiet heart in our prayers. Prayer must arise within us as a fountain from unknown depths. But we must leave it to God to answer in His own wisest way. We are so impatient, and think that God does not answer. A child asked God for fine weather on her birthday, and it rained! Some one said, “God didn’t answer your prayer.” “Oh yes,” she replied, “He did, God always answers, but He said No!” God always answers! He never fails! Be still! If we abide in Him, and He abides in us, we ask what we will, and it is done. As a sound may dislodge an avalanche, so the prayer of faith sets in motion the power of God.

In times of difficulty–be still! Thine enemies are plotting thine overthrow! They laugh at thy strong confidence! But hast thou not heard His voice saying: “This is the way, walk ye in it”? Then leave Him to deal with thy foes from whatever quarter they come. He is thy Rock, and rocks do not shake. He is thy High Tower, and a high tower cannot be flooded. Thou needest mercy, and to Him belongeth mercy. Do not run hither and thither in panic! Just quietly wait, hushing thy soul, as He did the fears of His friends on the eve of Gethsemane and Calvary. “Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him.” “Be still, for He will not rest, until He hath finished the thing this day.”

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Our Standard of Measure

Our Standard of Measure

Today’s Scripture: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:36

Today I want you to think about your interactions with others in terms of filling up a bucket and pouring its contents onto those people. With that in mind, let’s consider two important factors.

First of all, what’s in your bucket? Jesus points out a number of things that we can choose to pour out on others—namely, material possessions, love, good deeds, money, mercy, and pardon. It’s quite an impressive list. And yet, the Lord calls His followers to an even higher standard. He instructs us to give to “takers,” love our enemies, do good to those who mistreat us, lend expecting nothing in return, and grant mercy and pardon to those who don’t deserve it.

Why would He call us to such extreme action? Because as God’s children, we are expected to treat others the way He treats them—for “He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35).

The second factor to consider is the size of our bucket. Jesus says that by our standard of measure, it will be measured back to us (Luke 6:38). However, we are also told to expect nothing in return from those we treat with kindness (Luke 6:35). The ultimate reward for our loving and gracious behavior will come, not from them, but from the Most High God.

What are you pouring onto others each day? By showering them with grace, you display the character of your Father and show yourself to be His child. Use a big bucket full of love and kindness, and you’ll discover that the Lord uses an even bigger bucket to lavish His goodness upon you.

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The Psalm Of Ascension

The Psalm Of Ascension

Today’s Scripture “But God, being rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, quickened us together with Christ, and raised us up with Him, and made us to sit with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.”—Ephesians 2:4-6.

THIS 24th Psalm is apparently in two parts, and yet there is one theme, the ascent of the holy soul and the triumphant Saviour into the presence of God. For us, the ascension of our Lord precedes our own; but in the days of the Psalmist that order was reversed.

Our Lord’s Ascension. In an outburst of poetry, kindled by the Divine Spirit, the Psalmist anticipates the coming of the King of Glory to the doors of the Eternal City–that ideal City which through the ages has beckoned forward the hearts of saints and patriots, and which in Rev. 21. is seen descending to our earth. It was as though the doors of the Unseen barred His entrance. They had opened to God, but never before to “God manifest in the flesh.” It was a new thing that He should take our nature with Him into the unseen and eternal world.

The soul’s ascension (Psalm 24:3-6). In Christ we have ascended and are seated at God’s right hand. No change in your emotions, not even the being overtaken by a fault can alter that. But we have to make our calling sure. What is ours in the divine purpose must be claimed and appropriated as a living daily experience. There are certain qualities of character which are requisite to those who should be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man, not hereafter only, but now and here and always (Luke 21:36).

We must have clean hands. The money that we earn must be clean money. If we are writers, artists, mechanics, professional or commercial men or women, we must never produce anything which would defile the imagination or heart. We must have a pure heart. In Isaiah 33:14-17, which is a parallel passage, the Holy Spirit is compared to a devouring fire, in the presence of which no evil thing can live. Let us ask Him so to possess us, and to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by His inspiration. We must not lift up our soul to vanity, i.e., we must not allow ourselves to be inflated with the applause or rewards of the world. Many sell their souls for these, and only at the end of life awaken to discover how worthless they are. We must not swear deceitfully, i.e., we must be absolutely transparent and sincere, for only the true can stand in the presence of the King of Truth.