Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wisdom and Discernment

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways. The wise/the prudent reflect carefully before they act. They don't follow impulse. They deliberately follow God's truth in their daily living. They pray for guidance. They seek God's will. The true wisdom is to understand our ways according to God's relation to God, to others, and to ourselves. A prudent person shows his/her wisdom by considering consequences of his/her actions and choosing the conduct which is right and best. "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise." (Ephesians 5:15) Make wise choices in life. The prudent discern their paths, examine the risks involved, and find the means to accomplish what they need to do. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "prudence" as “The ability to recognize and follow the most suitable or sensible course of action...In early use: the wisdom to see what is virtuous.”

The folly of fools is that they think they can deceive God and others to their own advantage. Fools may try all kinds of deceitful ways for their own gain. Fools may try to cover up their wicked ways. This is indeed folly. Who can ever deceive God who is all-knowing? This is folly because deception eventually will be discovered and bring about bad results to themselves. In the end, they really deceive themselves into their own detriment. Fools live foolishly; their folly comes from their deceived mind. The deceit of the devil is this: he makes fools think they are on the right track when they are not!

Prayer: Abba Father, thank You for Your Word which is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path! Please grant me wisdom and discernment and help me to always make right choices, according to Your will and ways. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Don't Be A Fool!

Fools are quick-tempered. They get angry/annoyed easily and are quick to express their anger/annoyance. They are easily provoked and immediately & visibly show it by their words, facial expressions, and/or actions. They react rashly without thinking first. They disgrace themselves by giving way to their madness. They display self-importance, pride and arrogance.

On the contrary, the wise stay calm when insulted. They overlook offenses. The wise (prudent) exhibit patience and self-control. They put up with the contempt and they don't seek revenge. Instead, they respond in love, grace, humility, kindness, and gentleness. By doing so, they are less likely to get into trouble and more likely to gain respect from others. The fool react without thinking; the wise think before reacting. The wise will think first and avoid the shame of anger causing them to react foolishly. The fool are controlled by their anger; the wise control their anger. "Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end." (Proverbs 29:11) "A quick-tempered person does foolish things." (Proverbs 14:17a) "Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly." (Proverbs 14:29)

There are many irritations in life. We can choose to be angry & annoyed like a fool or we can choose to let it go and forgive like a wise person. "Love is patient, love is kind...It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." (1 Corinthians 13:4a, 5) May we do everything in love! "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." (James 1:19) "Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools." (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

"Humble yourself and cease to care what men think. A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather,...he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over." (A.W. Tozer) Stay calm when people insult you. Remember that God is our Defender! We won't be so easily offended when we realize who we are in Christ and our goal is to glorify Him, not self.

Prayer: Abba Father, please forgive me for the times I reacted in anger and in foolish ways. Please help me to not be easily offended or annoyed. Please enable me to overlook insults/offenses, be quick to forgive, and respond in love, grace, humility, kindness, and gentleness. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Great Is the Lord!

"Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends Your works to another; they tell of Your mighty acts." (Psalm 145:2-4)

God is good all the time. He is beyond awesome (His greatness is unfathomable)! He is indeed most worthy of our praise. I rely on God and receive blessings from Him everyday. Each breath is a gift from God. He supplies me new grace and mercy every morning. It's proper that I praise and thank Him everyday. What better way to use our words for than to worship, praise, and thank God! How often do we express to God our appreciation and adoration? Praise God privately and publicly. Tell others what great things He has done for you and Who He is to you. No matter what is going on in our lives, we should always praise God. Our attitude should be like Job's: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the Name of the Lord be praised." (Job 1:21b) How do we extol (hold high/esteem greatly) God's Name? Let's do everything to honor and glorify Him, not self. "Your Name and renown are the desire of our hearts." (Isaiah 26:8b)

May we declare God's wonderous works all day long...every chance we get! May we faithfully tell of our Redeemer's righteousness, redemption, deliverance, and victory! Leave a testimony for succeeding generations. How often do you talk with your children about God and the Bible? "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 11:19) God wants us to tell our children of His mighty acts so that each generation will remember His faithfulness and keep passing on a godly heritage. Let's make sure that we continue to declare accounts of God's faithful works in our lives to our children (and grandchildren).

I want my life to be a constant praise song and a bright thank-You card that the world hears and sees. I hope and pray that my words and actions will always draw people to our Lord and Savior. I will never stop praising God, tell others how great He is, proclaiming Christ and what He did on the cross. 
"O Lord, my God, I will praise You forever!" (Psalm 30:12b)"I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips." (Psalm 34:1)"My tongue will proclaim Your righteousness, Your praises all day long." (Psalm 35:28)
"My mouth is filled with Your praise, declaring Your splendor all day long...My mouth will tell of Your righteous deeds, of Your saving acts all day long--though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim Your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim Your righteous deeds, Yours alone!" (Psalm 71:8,15-16)
"As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my Refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds." (Psalm 73:28)
"May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees. May my tongue sing of Your Word, for all Your commands are righteous." (Psalm 119:171-172)

Prayer: Lord, You are my God and King! May my lifesong sing to You, praising You and extoling Your Name forever! Thank You for each breath that I take, each day that I live! Thank You for loving me, saving me, and giving me eternal life! May my tongue continue to testify of Who You are and what You have done! I praise You for Your unfailing love, goodness, faithfulness, grace, mercy, presence, provision, protection, power, promises, and sovereignty. May Your wonderous works be proclaimed through all generations! Please bless all my children and all generations thereafter to be Christ's faithful followers and servants. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Speak Up for Those In Need

"The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern." (Proverbs 29:7)

"Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

There's a time to be silent and there's a time to speak up. We are to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Be the voice for the voiceless. Defend the defenseless. Help the helpless. Be advocates for the unborn, the orphans, the widows, the homeless, the human-trafficking victims, the weak, the oppressed, the elderly, the bullied, the afflicted, the abused, the poor and needy, the mentally challenged, etc. May we boldly stand up and speak up for what's right in God's eyes! We are to use our time, talents, treasures, and energy to serve God's purposes and make the world a better place. Let's take a look at the blessings, the gifts, the abilities, the skills, the passions, and the sphere of influence we have been given and then resolve to use them to help the hurting world for God's glory and for His kingdom! There are so many social issues such as poverty, starvation, lack of clean drinking water, injustice, oppression, racism, abortion, human trafficking, orphans, bullying, mental health, and more. We are to be Christ's hands and feet to care for those in need. Let us welcome and help the marginalized with the love, kindness, and compassion of Christ!

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke) 

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Prayer: Abba Father, thank You for Your loving, caring heart! Let my heart be broken by the things that break Yours. Please open my eyes to see the hurts and the needs around me. Please empower me to speak up and stand up for those in need. You are God of justice. Please enable me to uphold justice like You do. Thank You for being my Provider and Defender! Please help me to provide and defend others as You lead me to. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Encourage One Another

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)
"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV)

Because of the marvelous truth regarding our blessed hope of Christ's return and our eternal life with Christ (see 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10), Paul exhorts us to encourage (comfort) and edify (build up) one another. Paul acknowledges that the believers in Thessalonica were already doing this and spurs them to excel even more. Knowing great truths about Christ's return should strengthen our hearts and minds and influence how we live our lives. May we come alongside one another and help one another face trials and difficulties with courage and confidence. Let's keep reminding one another that because Christ died for us and now lives in us, we would not have to experience the wrath of God in the day of the Lord. Let's build one another up in faith, love, and hope! Mutual encouragement and edification are needed in the Body of Christ for we live in a world of increasing spiritual darkness. When one encourages and edifies another person, both will benefit and be blessed. There are so many people who are lost, lonely, sad, depressed, anxious, and/or discouraged. Let's find ways to give them hope, comfort, and encouragement! "Be an encourager. The world has plenty of  critics already." (Dave Willis)

"Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." (Hebrews 3:13)

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25) 

Prayer: Thank You, Abba Father, for Your unending love, grace, and mercy! I am forever grateful for Christ's substitutionary sacrifice for me. Through Jesus, I received salvation, instead of Your wrath. Please help me faithfully share the gospel with those who need to hear. Please show me how I can best daily encourage and edify others. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Take Note of This

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19)

Here James is exhorting us his fellow believers to be quick to listen (in this context, to the Word of Truth), slow to speak (think before you speak), and slow to become angry (because our anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires). These three qualities are needed in the trials of life. Are you quick to listen to God's Word? Or are you quick to blame God for your trials and/or complain? Do you get mad easily when things don't go your way/when you face trials? In short, we must be attentive to our ears, our mouth, and our heart. People who are quick to speak or talk a lot most likely do not make good listeners. Listen more. Speak less. Stay calm. Exercise self-control. We learn more by listening more and we sin less by speaking less and by keeping calm. I'm personally guilty many times of reacting with careless, thoughtless words and anger that I regret and need to repent of. I'm still learning to remind myself not to react without thinking things through, staying calm, and choosing the right words. In order to be effective witnesses for the Lord, we must strive to control our tongue & our temper and to be better listeners. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” (Stephen Covey) We also need God's wisdom to know when to hold our tongue and be silent. "There is so much sin in us that the less we speak, the better." (Charles Spurgeon)

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who hold his tongue is wise." (Proverbs 10:19)
"He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." (Proverbs 13:3)
"Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise." (Proverbs 17:28)
"Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (Proverbs 29:20)
"Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools." (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

Let's put James 1:19 into practice daily! Our family and friends will be very grateful and feel loved. Essentially, these are some ways we can show our love: taking time to listen attentively without interrupting, being mindful of what and how we communicate orally, and being patient & forgiving...not being easily angered/ annoyed/frustrated/irritated. "
We can learn to be slow to wrath by first learning to be swift to hear and slow to speak. So much of our anger and wrath comes from being self-centered not others-centered. Swift to hear is a way to be others-centered. Slow to speak is a way to be others-centered." (Guzik)

"You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth. People who feel like they're being listened to feel accepted and appreciated. They feel like they're being taken seriously and what they say really matters." (Harvey Mackay)
"The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love for God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brothers is learning to listen to them. It is [because of] God's love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your mercy and forgiveness! Thank You for being patient with me as I fail time and time again. Please help me to listen attentively, speak kindly, and respond calmly in any situation. Please empower me to not be easily offended but to be quick to forgive when wronged. Please give me wisdom to know when I should be silent. In Jesus's Name, I pray. Amen.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Our Words Are Heard by God

"Then he (Gabriel) continued, 'Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.'" (Daniel 10:12)

This encouraging verse shows that God hears our prayers immediately and God answers prayers (maybe not the way we expect) but sometimes the answer to our prayers may seem to be delayed (God has His reasons). Therefore, do not be anxious. Pray. Trust. Rest. We must trust God, His will, His wisdom, and His timing. He loves us and knows what's best for us! If our heart is right (humble before God) and our mind is set to gain understanding (not to get what we want, but rather to understand God's will), we have nothing to fear or worry about. Our prayers will be heard, accepted, and taken care of by our Abba Father. Being sure of this, our strength is renewed, our courage is revived, and our hope is rekindled, as we wait upon the Lord. We can approach God's throne of grace with calmness and confidence.
"This is the confidence
we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." (1 John 5:14)

Prayer is not about words but rather the attitude of the heart and the condition of the soul that enjoy dwelling in God's presence. Prayer is pouring our heart out to our Heavenly Father, in love, in faith, in humble submission, and in gratitude. Pray earnestly without ceasing. Pray first and pray most. Let's take full advantage of this amazing privilege God has given us! Even though we know His will prevails and He knows all our needs, God desires that we come to Him in prayer because it's a relationship thing. "The purpose of prayer is that we get a hold of God, not of the answer." (Oswald Chambers) He wants us to rely on Him, look to Him for fresh supplies of grace & mercy to sustain us, strengthen us, and keep us to the end, and keep our hearts and mind focused on Him...on His purpose.  We find shelter, rest, comfort, strength, joy, peace, encouragement, and assurance in sweet communion with our Father. Our attitude regarding praying should always be "not my will, but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42b). Praying draws us closer to God, and through prayer, God molds our heart's desires and our thoughts to be like His. Let us be thankful that God's answers are always wiser than our prayers!

"We speak. He listens. He speaks. We listen. This is prayer in its purest form. God changes His people through such moments...Just as a happy child cannot mis-hug, the sincere heart cannot mis-pray. Heaven knows, life has enough burdens without the burden of praying correctly. If prayer depends on how I pray, I'm sunk. But if the power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer, and if the One who hears the prayer is my Daddy, then I have hope.
(Max Lucado)

Prayer should be...constant, fervent, believing, hopeful, and incessant. God loves it, Satan hates it, and every true Christian values it. True prayer is always necessary, profitable and acceptable to God." (James Smith) 

"Be thou content to leave thy prayer in His hands, Who knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to withhold." (Charles H. Spurgeon)

Father, I'm so thankful that I can come to You anytime, anywhere and tell you about anything. I'm so glad that You never get tired of listening to my prayers and that You're always available. Please continue to transform my heart and mind, my desires and will to be like Yours. Please help me to be steadfast and patient in prayer when I don't see answers right away. I know You hear and You care. I surrender all to You and I trust You for all things in all circumstances.
In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Avoid Foolish and Stupid Arguments

We, God's children, are to avoid wasting our time and energy on foolish and stupid/ignorant arguments because they lead to quarrels. Nothing of value comes out of it. "Foolish and stupid" imply the character of being unable to use logic, discretion, or good sense. These types of arguments only lead to strife/contention. They are fruitless and unproductive. "And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." (2 Timothy 2:24) 

Paul is not saying that Christians should never argue. There are definitely some important theological and doctrinal issues that are worth defending. Here he is referring to pointless, meaningless issues that have nothing to do with salvation or godly living. If the issues are not essential doctrines to the Christian faith or are matters on which the Bible is silent, it's best for us to agree to disagree agreeably.

We can discuss our differences of opinions but we must not let our discussions turn into heated, senseless arguments because they only cause quarreling and division. We must examine our motives when we argue/discuss. Are you concerned about godliness and God's truths or about proving that you're right? Some people love to argue just to prove their point and to win. It's because of pride and arrogance. Have you ever engaged in a conversation (online or in person) where someone never wants an answer or truth, but he/she just wants to argue? This kind of person enjoys getting others riled up. Don't fall into the trap. Stay calm and keep your cool. Remember that we cannot argue a person into the kingdom of God or into godly living. Only the Holy Spirit can change heart and save soul.

"Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned." (Titus 3:9-11)

"The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions." (1 Timothy 1:5-7)

"Here then is the test. If at the end of our talk, we are closer to one another and God, then all is well; but if we have erected barriers between one another and have left God more distant, then all is not well. The aim of all Christian discussion and of all Christian action is to bring a man nearer to his fellows and to God." (William Barclay)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times I've got myself into fruitless arguments and lost my temper. Please take away my pride and help me be humble and teachable. Please give me wisdom and discernment to be able to distinguish between the worthwhile and the worthless discussions. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

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