Charles Stanley – Pursuing Wisdom

 

Proverbs 4:5-10

We live in the information age, where news pops up on our cellphones and college can be attended online. But I’ve noticed that while there is an abundance of knowledge floating around, there isn’t much wisdom. Godly wisdom is the capacity to see things from the Lord’s viewpoint and respond according to scriptural principles. This wisdom isn’t a natural characteristic, but you can develop it gradually over time through practice and prayer.

In God’s opinion, wisdom is a valuable treasure (Prov. 8:11). Believers need His perspective and His principles to live abundantly and obediently—that’s why acquiring wisdom is not a suggestion but a command (Prov. 4:5).

Think back to stories about “gold fever” during the 19th-century gold rush. People risked their lives in a single-minded quest for riches. Wisdom is worth so much more than a vein of precious metal. In comparing the two, the Lord calls us to passionately pursue godly knowledge and discernment.

Proverbs 8:17 personifies wisdom, who says, “I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me.” God will see to it that believers who pursue wisdom acquire it. Moreover, when the desire of our heart is something with lasting value, we receive a bonus—knowledge, prudence, and discretion (Prov. 8:12).

King Solomon, the wisest man of his time, wrote about the importance of acquiring wisdom (Prov. 4:7). Determine in your heart to pursue this great treasure. As you study the Word, seek the Lord’s will, and observe His principles in action, God will pour wisdom into your mind and spirit.

Bible in One Year: Joshua 23-24

 

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Our Daily Bread — Expect Delays

 

Bible in a Year:Deuteronomy 17–19; Mark 13:1–20

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lordestablishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Proverbs 16:1-3

Are you kidding me? I was already late. But the road sign ahead instructed me to adjust my expectations: “Expect Delays,” it announced. Traffic was slowing down.

I had to laugh: I expect things to work on my ideal timeline; I don’t expect road construction.

On a spiritual level, few of us plan for crises that slow us down or reroute our lives. Yet, if I think about it, I can recall many times when circumstances redirected me—in big ways and small. Delays happen.

Solomon never saw a sign that said, “Expect Delays.” But in Proverbs 16, he does contrast our plans with God’s providential guidance. The Message paraphrases verse 1 as follows: “Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” Solomon restates that idea in verse 9, where he adds that even though we “plan [our] course . . . the Lord establishes [our] steps.” In other words, we have ideas about what’s supposed to happen, but sometimes God has another path for us.

How do I lose track of this spiritual truth? I make my plans, sometimes forgetting to ask Him what His plans are. I get frustrated when interruptions interfere.

But in place of that worrying, we could, as Solomon teaches, grow in simply trusting that God guides us, step-by-step, as we prayerfully seek Him, await His leading, and—yes—allow Him to continually redirect us.

By Adam Holz

Today’s Reflection

How do you typically face unexpected delays and detours? When frustrations come, what will help you lean into God and trust Him more?

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Stronger Than Fear

I remember a cerulean, cloudless sky. It was an extraordinarily beautiful fall day, unusually so for a city with poor air quality most days of the year. The air was still warm, but the cloak of heat and humidity so common in the south, had been taken off and hung up for repose during the season of cooler weather. It was a day much like other days until the unimaginable happened.

At first, rumors circulated quickly about planes, buildings, and New York City. I assumed a private plane had lost its way and flown into the side of the Trade Center tower. But, then, our normal workday routines ended. We all ran to the youth building at the church and watched on the big-screen television, not one, but two planes crash into the Twin Towers. The rumors continued… there were other planes. I panicked—what if we were under attack? What if countless commercial airplanes had been co-opted as weapons of mass destruction? What if my city was next?

Like many others, I watched the Twin Towers collapse and fall to the ground. Like others, I went home that day and sat in my backyard and looked into that same cerulean sky and was scared by the silence. I did not know if I would ever have another restful night of sleep again, and I felt regret over taking for granted something as simple and as lovely as peaceful sleep. At the end of the day, more than three thousand persons, representing countries all over the world, were dead, including one of my high school classmates. I remember the numbness that I felt, followed by a heightened sense of caution, and then outright fear at every stranger, in every public place.

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Joyce Meyer – We’re Adopted

 

Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the lord will take me up [adopt me as His child]. — Psalm 27:10 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Today’s scripture has been particularly meaningful and encouraging to me over the course of my life.

I was abused as a child. During my childhood, my mother was deeply afraid of my father, so she was unable to rescue me from the various kinds of abuse he perpetrated against me. I felt very alone, forgotten, and abandoned.

I have come to understand firsthand that multitudes of people we encounter daily are just trying to survive until someone rescues them—and that someone could be you or me.

The Bible says that in God’s love, He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world… (Ephesians 1:4 AMPC). He planned for us to be adopted as His own children. These beautiful words brought a great deal of healing to my wounded soul. God adopts the forsaken and the lonely, and He lifts them up and gives them value.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta felt that each person she met was “Jesus in disguise.” Just try to imagine how much differently we would treat people if we thought of them as she did. She realized that God loves everyone as His own sons and daughters.

If someone insulted, slighted, ignored, or devalued one of my children, I would take it as a personal insult, so why is it so hard to understand that God feels the same way when one of His children is mistreated?

You and I belong to Him, so we need to love ourselves appropriately and treat ourselves well. We also need to treat others as part of God’s family and do what we can to build them up and add value to their lives.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for personally choosing me—picking me out as Your very own. Help me today and every day to encourage and value others, treating them as Your precious sons and daughters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Thank Him for Answers

 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7).

Some years ago there was an occasion when my world was crumbling. All that my associates and I had worked and planned for in the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ was hanging by a slender thread which was about to break.

Because of a series of unforeseen circumstances, we were facing a financial crisis which could bankrupt the movement and result in the loss of our beautiful facilities at Arrowhead Springs, California, acquired just a few years earlier.

Already thousands of students and laymen from all over the world were receiving training which would influence millions of lives for Christ. Now we were in danger of losing it all.

When the word came to me that everything we had planned and prayed for was in jeopardy and almost certain to be lost, I fell to my knees and began to give thanks to the Lord. Why?

Because many years before I had discovered that thanksgiving demonstrates faith, and faith pleases God. When we demonstrate faith through thanksgiving, as an expression of obedience and gratitude to God, He releases His great power in our behalf so that we can serve Him better. Miraculously, God honored our faith and what could have been disaster and tragedy turned to victory and triumph. The end result was that we were stronger financially than we had ever been.

God fights the battles for those who trust and obey Him.

Bible Reading: I Timothy 2:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  With God’s help, my life will be characterized by praise and thanksgiving to God as an expression of my faith in Him and obedience to His commands. Today I will share the goodness and trustworthiness of God with at least one other person.

 

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Max Lucado – How to Love Growing Old

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The dawning of old age. Empty nest.  Bifocals. Everything hurts when you wake up. And what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work. Regret can become a major pastime and may lead to rebellion against whatever ties you down.

Growing old can be dangerous, so you need to be prepared. Luke 17:33 advises, “Whoever tries to keep his life safe will lose it, and the man who is prepared to lose his life will preserve it.”  The wisest are not the ones with the most years in their lives, but the most life in their years.

You can take the safe route, or you can hear the voice of God’s adventure.  Follow God’s impulses.  Adopt the child.  Move overseas.  Teach the class.  Change careers.  Make a difference. Your last chapters can be your best chapters.  God’s oldest have always been among his choicest.

Read more He Still Moves Stones

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – The man who was not allowed to board Flight 302: “Say thank you to God”

“When I arrived, boarding was closed and I watched the last passengers in (the) tunnel go in. I screamed to put me in but they didn’t allow it.”

This is how a Greek passenger named Antonis Mavropoulos described his attempt to board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 last Sunday morning.

He was not allowed to board the next flight to Nairobi after the airline lost contact with the flight he was supposed to take. He says that a security staff member “told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight.”

Antonis Mavropoulos has abundant reason to “say thank you to God” today. What about those who lost someone on the airplane he tried to board?

The 157 victims of Flight 302 were a small percentage of the 153,424 people who die every day around the world. But the sudden shock of their deaths made their loss especially tragic.

Is the Christian faith truly relevant at a time like this?

Is God a clockmaker?

One of the finest pastors in America, a dear friend of mine, lost his oldest son recently. As the father of two and grandfather of four, I cannot begin to imagine his pain. Or that of the families grieving over the Ethiopian airline tragedy.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The man who was not allowed to board Flight 302: “Say thank you to God”