Good sense!

I love the first thing that King David says when he meets Abigail (his future wife) – “Thank God for your good sense!” (‭1 Samuel‬ ‭25‬:‭33‬ NLT)

He obviously put a high value on wisdom … on good sense. And he must have taught his children about its importance, as well, because when his son Solomon became King, he prayed for wisdom. And because God was pleased to grant him his request, (1 Kings 3:5-14) he was considered wiser than anyone else. (1 kings 4:29-30)

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Solomon went on to write a book all about wisdom – Proverbs. – These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭1‬:‭1-2‬ NLT)

The whole book is full of advice on how to live a God honoring life that remains pure and is honored by others. – I have written thirty sayings for you, filled with advice and knowledge. (Proverbs‬ ‭22‬:‭20‬ NLT) – The following are some of the passages that specifically talk about wisdom … about good sense.

My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding…For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding…Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose words are twisted. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭2‬:‭1-2, 6, 11-12‬ NLT)

My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭21-25‬ NLT)

My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment…Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them…Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭1, 5, 7‬ NLT)

Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭9‬:‭10-12‬ NLT)

A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction. Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness…Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭15-16, 20‬ NLT)

The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence…Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart; wisdom is not found among fools. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭14‬:‭16, 33‬ NLT)

The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive…From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭16‬:‭21, 23‬ NLT)

A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭17‬:‭27‬ NLT)

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭19‬:‭20‬ NLT)

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Preparing for eternity

If you’ve made the decision to put your faith in Jesus as the only way to heaven, then the fact that the world is approaching its final curtain call doesn’t have to be scary. All the ugly in the world shouldn’t make you throw your hands in the air and just give up. No need for the “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach, but certainly no need to run and hide. 

One of the most amazing things about the fact that God created you as an individual is that he made you exactly who you are at exactly the time in which you should be living. The fact that we’re alive in the midst of all of the turmoil in the world today means something. The fact that we’ve been chosen by Jesus to know the truth gives a purpose far beyond “live life and die”.  The moments we spend on earth are just a tiny piece of what our entire existence will be, so our moments on earth should be spent preparing us for our moments in eternity. 

As a mother, I try to notice “teachable moments” with my kids. I know that the lessons they learn while under my roof are preparing them for the future in the real world. I think a lot about what kind of person I want them to be and how the opportunities I have to teach them will impact that. So much of what I try to teach them has a whole lot more to do with their future then it does with the moment. If it was only all about their childhood… only about the here and now… then how they act and what choices they make wouldn’t matter all that much.  I’d be much more likely to just let them do whatever makes them feel good – which could sometimes be a scary thing. 

In much the same way, the choices we make as we walk this earth are about who we are becoming. About who we will be when we finally stand in the presence of our Savior. Will we look back on our life and see all that we accomplished for ourselves?  About how much personal success we had, or how many things we accumulated? Jesus isn’t interested in our resume or the stuff in our storage unit. We don’t want to look him in the eyes and proclaim, “I figured out life on earth just fine, but I’m not sure how to do this eternity thing.” We want to be able to say, “I had a lot of practice praising God and serving others, I’m ready to apply it here with you!”

The moment we decide to follow Jesus is the moment we begin the process of becoming Christlike. It’s a process, and obviously one we won’t finish on this side of heaven. But we should be getting closer and closer to who He is with every waking moment.  We should be able to ask ourselves, “What part of who I was today resembled who Jesus is?”  And we should see more and more of his attributes in ourself with every passing day. 

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand…Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. (‭Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭1, 10‬ NLT)

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Jesus is coming back!

Jesus is coming back!  That’s the good news. The bad news … many people don’t believe it or don’t seem to care. But just watch the news.  Increasing conflict in the Middle East …Increasing devastation of natural disasters … Increasing deaths from incurable illnesses … All amidst the daily decreasing of God and his word being allowed, even tolerated, in public places.  Not only does this make me believe that Christ’s return is quickly getting closer, but it makes me long for it even more. 

Jesus himself talked about the signs we’d see as his return grew closer. (Matthew 24). 

He warned that we’d see many people coming, claiming to be the Messiah. Deceiving many.  Of course he was talking about actual individuals literally making these claims, which we’ve seen and will no doubt continue to see.   But I wonder if all of the religions out there making false claims about the way to salvation might fall under this warning, too. Everyone seems to have confidence in their own cookie-cutter religion.  One that that fits with their lifestyle choices, and doesn’t require them to acknowledge they’re sinful and need a Savior. But the simple truth is there is only one way to be saved from eternal separation from God.  There is only one Messiah – and that is Jesus Christ. 

He warned of wars and threats of wars. And although there’s always been wars, the threat of much bigger wars – especially as it relates to Israel, the center of the last days – is certainly a much bigger reality today than it was yesterday. 

People around the world still die from starvation, even though so much of the world is wealthy enough to do something about it. And modern transportation makes access to even the remotest locations possible. 

Jesus goes on to say that “Sin will be rampant everywhere.” How sadly true is this. In fact, so much of what God abhors is becoming common place that people don’t even call it sin anymore. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is sin. And it is rampant. 

Then there’s the part where evangelism is highlighted. Something all believers are called to do. Jesus said that the Good News (the gospel) would be “preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it.” I’m sure when he said this to his disciples they couldn’t fathom how the whole world could be reached. And the “whole world” was a lot smaller then. But they started preaching. And the Good News was spread. And now with technology as it is, the whole world can be reached very easily. Much of it with media, but even areas where there are no television or computers are reachable by missionaries.  How close are we to being able to declare that all nations have heard the Good News?  Because Jesus said once that has happened “then the end will come.”

Jesus is coming back!  So what does that mean to you?

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God Provides

How seriously do we take God’s promise to provide?  What are we expecting to receive through this provision?  How does he make it happen?  Does he expect anything from us in this process?

Besides the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ – the only means by which salvation comes, God’s promise to provide is probably the most reassuring promise he gives. But what do we try to hold him to when we claim that promise?  Nowhere is this promise necessarily tied to riches or materialistic gains. God promises to provide what we need. And depending on who we are and what particular season of life we are in, our needs could differ greatly. 

And by what means will God provide for us?  Obviously he is the Almighty God and can provide for us in any way he chooses. If he wanted to, he could drop our particular need right down from the sky into our laps. But in most cases, he chooses to provide for us through other people. People that follow the prompting of the Spirit and reach out to those in need. People that faithfully give, trusting God to use their gifts mightily. 

There are countless stories in the Bible of God providing for his people. There are countless more stories around us proving that God still provides. I encourage you to seek these stories out as well as to share your own stories of God’s provision. Stories like these are incredibly faith-building!  

And right along with these stories are the stories of the faithful that have been used by God to meet the needs of others. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be used by God!  Give with all of your heart. Give as you feel the Spirit leading you to do. Give your money. Give your time. Give your talents. After all, as a child of God we are only stewards of the earthly things we receive. They belong to God, and he loans them to us so that they can be fed back into His Kingdom…for His glory!

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God provided food for sustenance…

To the Israelites in the wilderness – But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. (‭Exodus‬ ‭16‬:‭18‬ NLT)

To Elijah in his loneliness and despair – Then the angel of the LORD came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” (‭1 Kings‬ ‭19‬:‭7‬ NLT)

God provided protection…

The Israelites on their way to the promised land…“See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. (‭Exodus‬ ‭23‬:‭20‬ NLT)

David as he fled from King Saul…my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. (‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22‬:‭3‬ NLT)

Jeremiah and the prophets as they went out with His message…And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1‬:‭8‬ NLT)

God provided a better story…

For Joseph when he was left to die – And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you…“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. (‭Genesis‬ ‭45‬:‭5, 8‬ NIV)

For Moses when he was left as a baby – Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” (‭Exodus‬ ‭3‬:‭10‬ NLT)

For Paul when he was conspirator – You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it…But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him (‭Galatians‬ ‭1‬:‭13, 15‬ NLT)

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