Category Archives: Wisdom Hunters

Wisdom Hunters – I Don’t Feel Heard 

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply. Job 32:20

Two-way communication is critical for the health of organizations and relationships. If I am so busy that I do not take time to talk through expectations, then I set up all parties for frustration. For example, I may expect a project to be due at a certain date, but if I do not monitor the progress along the way then the deadline may come and go unaccomplished. If, however, a system is in place for ongoing feedback, then everyone is clear on where we are and where we need to go. Two-way communication brings clarity.

What about our most important relationships? Do we take the time to interact so there is authentic understanding of each other’s needs? If we are not careful, we can take for granted the very ones we care for the most and, in a moment of misunderstanding, become angry in our disappointment. Two-way communication takes time to talk.

Communication that goes both ways requires knowledge and comprehension. If you speak out of emotion before you gain insight into the situation, then you only prolong a productive exchange. Suffering in adversity, Job struggled with this. “Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight” (Job 34:35). Two-way communication is a product of two people listening, understanding, and taking responsibility for the next steps.

Perhaps a weekly progress report on a present project at work is necessary to keep all team members accountable and up-to-date. At home you could incorporate a daily walk together just to catch up and hear each other’s hearts. Quality communication flows from quantity time to hear and to be heard. Slow down and make sure you speak up.

Most importantly, communication with Christ is your greatest opportunity to gain insight and understanding into His heart. If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy. The Bible is His love letter to you. As you read Scripture, do you fill in your name as you read its admonishments? Two-way communication with Him means you desire to learn.

“Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path” (Proverbs 23:19).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart to help others feel heard and understood, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Do I listen intently to the Lord? Do I honor others with constructive conversation?

Related Readings: Psalm 15:1–3; Proverbs 8:6–7; Ephesians 4:25; Jude 1:10

Worship Resource: 6-minute music video- Lily Cottrell: What a Beautiful Name

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

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Wisdom Hunters – Holy Spirit Influenced 

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:17–18

Who is my number-one influencer? Is it my wife? Is it a friend? Is it my mom, brother, or mentor? All of these are important and influential, but I desire the number-one influencer in my life to be the Holy Spirit. He is the one whose advice is always full of integrity. When I am Spirit led, I can be confident of an outcome that mirrors God’s will.

It is easy to be influenced by a culture whose standards are below what is best. For example, the world may whine and say it is old-fashioned to have boundaries with the opposite sex. But, as believers in Jesus, we know it is wise to keep emotional distance from someone who is not our spouse. Spirit-led living does not linger long around unwise activities.

Who is your number-one influencer? Perhaps it is a coach, colleague, or counselor who gives you good advice. All of these have their place, but never allow an individual to replace the Holy Spirit as your most-important influencer. Sometimes a friend will suggest one thing and God’s Spirit another. Go with God! His promptings are meant to triumph any attractive offer that may tease your emotions. Trust the Spirit’s leading.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).

It may be hard for you to follow the influence of your heavenly Father because your earthly father may have abandoned his responsibilities. However, the Spirit of your Father in heaven is trustworthy and true. He never leaves you or forsakes you. His Holy Spirit is sensitive to exactly what you need, when you need it. He is reliable.

So, once you have confessed and repented of your sin, ask Him for the fullness of His Spirit to flood your soul. The Spirit of God flushes out the foolishness of the flesh and fills it with wisdom from the Lord. The Holy Spirit brings wholeness to your heart and truth to your head. Be intoxicated by the Spirit’s influence, and you will walk wisely.

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).

Prayer: Dear Lord, I surrender my soul, fill me with Your Spirit and power, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Do I submit daily to the Holy Spirit’s control? How do I know when the Spirit leads me?

Related Readings: Galatians 5:25; 2 Timothy 1:14; James 4:4; 1 John 3:24

 

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Family of Faith 

 

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.  Matthew 12:50

Sometimes I forget to thank the Lord for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are like family. They are there to check on me, pray for me, encourage me, and hold me accountable. Blood is thicker than water, but the bond around the blood of Christ can be even thicker. My family in the faith is a gift from God not to be taken for granted.

Are you engaged with a community of Christ followers? Some of your family members may have forsaken you for your faith, but Jesus can more than compensate with those who love Him and His children. You have a family of faith that longs to love you. Have you initiated relationships at church or a Bible study? Look around you to love and be loved.

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).

Be with those who want to do the will of their heavenly Father, and you will want to do the will of your heavenly Father. The family of faith is contagious in its commitment to Christ. But how do you respond to relatives who want to pull you away from the presence of Jesus? How do you stay true to the Lord when there is tension over your trust in Him?

You cannot ignore them, even when they are unruly, because God has family in your life to be a reflection of Him. Your behavior may be the only Bible they read, and your words may be the only Jesus they hear. You know better, so you forgive and extend grace while unbelieving family members do not know any better than to be harsh and hold grudges.

Lean into your family of faith so you in turn can lovingly serve your family outside the faith. Moreover, look for believers in your life who need family and invite them into yours. We need each other for the body of Christ is connected and sensitive to one another’s needs. When you have Jesus as a friend, you have a family in the faith.

Paul said, “To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior” (Titus 1:4).

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for my fellow followers of Jesus who inspire me to remain faithful and to rest in Your love and comfort, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Whom do I count as family in the faith? How can I bless them? Who needs me to be family for them?

Related Readings: Ruth 3:13; Matthew 19:29; Luke 2:49; 1 Timothy 5:8

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Worship When Worried 

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Psalm 100:1–3

I cannot worship and worry at the same time. When Christ is my focus, they do not coexist, because worship pushes worry into its own wilderness. In my personal and corporate worship, almighty God becomes bigger than life. His holiness heals my heart, His beauty soothes my soul, His majesty humbles my pride, and His glory gets my full attention. Worship recalibrates my thinking to trust and my emotions to the eternal.

Our worship is meant to move us toward our Master in a manner that transforms our weak faith to a bold proclamation of His faithfulness. Music is a facilitator for our heart to lift itself out of the worries of this world to the calming presence of Christ. As Christ followers we are privileged to approach Him anytime in authentic adoration and praise. We shout with thanksgiving or quietly whisper words of gratitude to our King.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the Lord, the King” (Psalm 98:4–6).

How is your daily and weekly worship? Is it rote or radical? Is it fresh or perfunctory? Worship is a way to wrap your mind around what matters. The cares and competition of this world become strangely dim as heaven comes into full focus in all its splendor. Like a giddy scientist peering through his Hubble telescope, your worship gives you glimpses into His glory. Your eyes of faith fall on the compassionate face of Christ.

Genuine worship focuses on your heavenly Father, but it changes you. You walk away wondering why you ever worried in the first place. You exit your place of worship having left the residue of your sin behind, because you came clean in confession and repentance.

Sin cannot bow at the footstool of Holy God without melting away in fear.

Worship and worry no more, for this is your opportunity to engage God. Worship matters, because the Lord matters. Worship freely, and watch Him free you from worry. Like the sun cutting into a fog-covered bridge, He burns away your mind’s clouded cares. Worship works, because worry cannot coexist in the presence of our King Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:28–29).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep my focus on You in grateful praise, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Do I regularly replace my worry with worship? Do I authentically worship almighty God?

Related Readings: Nehemiah 9:3; Daniel 3:28; Matthew 28:17; Revelation 22:8–9

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Heart Knowledge 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

There is a very important distinction between heart knowledge and head knowledge. A person can know facts about God in her head, without applying it to her heart by faith. A man or woman can hear all the right things, say the right things, attend church, and still be 18 inches away from heaven—the distance between the head and the heart.

We can play church, masquerade our true heart to others, and even fool ourselves, but God cannot be fooled. We can volunteer in ministry, give money and have accolades from genuine Christians, but has our heart truly been transformed by the grace of God? Evidence of conversion is a public declaration of Jesus as Lord, and an internal confession that God raised Him from the dead. A heart engaged with eternity is saved from sin.

“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught’” (Isaiah 29:13).

Where are you on the continuum of your commitment to Christ? Are you still seeking? Have you crossed over the line of belief by bowing in humble submission to your Savior and Lord Jesus? Be honest with yourself and God if you have not given your heart to heaven. Pray for the Lord to help your unbelief, and be bold to request prayer from others.

What life event will it take to lead you to authentic faith and repentance? Marriage? The birth of a child? The loss of a child? The loss of a parent? Health issues? Financial brokenness? When we are on our back, our heart looks to heaven for help. When we drop to our knees in humble prayer, we see the Lord lifted up, and we invite His warm embrace.

Don’t fight the hang-ups in your head—instead surrender your heart to Jesus. The enemy will always find an excuse for your mind to excuse eternal life in heaven. Do not dismiss childlike faith in Jesus for this is the entrance into His Kingdom. We are first born again with infant faith then we mature by grace and the meat of God’s word. Have you made this initial move of heart-felt faith? Take this first step of trust and start your walk with Jesus.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).

Prayer: What obstacle to faith do I need to lay at the feet of Jesus, and trust Him?

Application: How can I grow a heart of humble prayer to process my knowledge of God?

Related Readings: Job 33:3; Psalm 21:2; Mark 7:6; John 3:3; 2 Timothy 1:9

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Knowing God 

 

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10–11

Knowing God is not for the casual Christian but for the committed one. This intimate relationship is forged on the anvil of adversity and expressed through the power of Christ’s resurrected life. Knowing God requires dying to self and coming alive in Christ. Resurrected living is the fruit of a faith that is not satisfied with surface Christianity.

To know God is to be loved by Him, to love Him, and to love for Him. To know Him is to behold Him in the glory of His holiness and to bow down in humble worship. To know Christ is to receive His comfort and to carry on a caring conversation with Him. It is going deep in knowledge and understanding of God so we can carry His character and faith far and wide. Knowing God leads to making God known with our words and deeds.

“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:3–4).

Knowing God grows your character, as intimacy with Him influences you to be like Him. Christ’s character begins to transform your character. His influence in your life broadens your influence in other lives. Indeed, your depth of character determines your breadth of influence. Grow in grace so you can export grace throughout your circle of influence. But be careful not to compare your character standard to that of others or even other Christians. Comparison games are the enemy’s game plan to get you off track in trusting Jesus. Pride will puncture your ballooning influence when you begin to take credit for what only the Lord can do. The more you know God, the less you see of yourself and the more you see of Him and others. You know Christ in His death, accompanied by a radical resurrection.

How do you grow to know Him better? It happens in the margins of life, not in a packed schedule with no room for interruptions. A frantic pace lacks grace. A hurried life is tired and unable to trust or give back. Start by slowing down and calendaring time with Christ. Be with Him so you can hear Him, get to know Him, and be changed by Him. Then the depth of your character will grow the breadth of your influence—for His glory!

“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:10–11).

Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to know you intimately through my ups and downs, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How am I growing in my knowledge of God? How is He transforming my character and broadening my influence for Him?

Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 16:24; Isaiah 45:24; Isaiah 54:11; Matthew 21:42; John 5:29

 

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Wisdom Hunters – He is Alive! 

 

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again”. Then they remembered his words.  Luke 24:5–8

He is alive, I am forgiven and my soul has been set free. He is alive and I am forgiven,  my joy I cannot contain. He is alive and I am forgiven, my faith is here to stay. He is alive and I am forgiven, my love flows deep and wide. He is alive and I am forgiven because He did what He promised—He arose after three days. He is alive! He is alive! He is alive!

What emotions did the friends and disciples of Jesus feel when they realized He was real? Certainly, they were surprised by the joy of knowing Jesus was back, even larger than in life. Even though they had watched Him raise Lazarus after four days of death, their faith had forgotten. But now they were glad again because God raised His Son to life.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

If you look for Jesus among the dead you will not find Him. He has left the cold cemetery and risen to be with the warm love of His Father. Dead churches cannot claim the calming presence of Christ because they have forsaken the faith required to recognize Him. Look for the Lord among the living, those who live out their faith with bold grace.

Remember the words of Jesus, and your faith will resound with reassurance. “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). You serve a risen Savior who lives in your life by faith. Take Him at His Word, and joy will fill your innermost being as you celebrate His appearance almost two thousand years ago. Enjoy Jesus, anticipating your Lord’s second return.

“So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).

Prayer: I praise You Lord for my resurrected Savior Jesus Christ, in His holy name I pray, amen.

Application: How can I reassure my faith with the reality of a risen Savior? Where are the places I can find Christ among the living? What words of Jesus do I need to constantly remember?

 

Related Readings: Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Peter 3:18

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Kind To The Needy 

He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. Proverbs 14:21

The needy have unmet needs that cripple their ability to live life to its fullest. It may be the need for food, clothing, or a place to live. They may need a job, a car, or an opportunity to get ahead. The needy may be lost in their sins without Christ, which is the greatest of needs. Wherever their point of need lies is our obligation to kindly care for them. “Give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21).

Evidence of our following Jesus is shown by our caring concern for the poor. Our kindness may require us to give up something so that another can gain something. Perhaps there is a fun trip you give up so a poor person can enjoy food for a month. What financial expenditure can you put on pause? Do you know someone who could benefit from a car repair or a mortgage payment? Sacrifice solicits most when the need of others is highest.

“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:31).

Furthermore, the best motivation for reaching out is kindness of heart, not guilt of mind. It is a kind word that lifts another person’s spirit. It is a generous gratuity to a diligent server. It is a gentle response to a demanding spirit. The needy are all around us, especially during economic downturns. Maybe there is a neighbor who is out of work whom you can invite into your home for dinner and  encouragement. Kindness is a culprit of compassion and care.

Lastly, look out for the needy because of the Lord’s great love toward you. Kindness asks, “Where would I be without God’s grace? Where in my life can I extend His grace, love, and mercy?” Blessings await those who give and receive kindness. We are all needy, some more than others, but our provider is the same—Jesus Christ.

“Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22).

Prayer: Who in my life is in need that I can show kindness to in Jesus’ name?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 15:4; Isaiah 58:7–12; Luke 6:30–36; 1 John 3:17–22

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Leadership in Adversity 

 

After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:5

Adversity invites leaders to lead. It is your time to trust the Lord and lead by faith, not fear. In hard times a leader asks, “Will I panic or pray?” “Will I stay calm or be sucked into the chaos?” “Will I serve the team or stay secluded in silence?” Jesus faced death, but He was determined to stay focused on His heavenly Father and the mission at hand. Adversity is an opportunity to prove the point of Providence. Christ is in control.

How can you use adversity to your advantage as a leader? One way is to unify the team around common objectives and goals. There is no better way to bring people together than in the fires of hardship and difficulty. In fact, you probably will not succeed without the team rising to its next level of leadership and team support. So reward creativity, because limitations lead to innovation. Lead the team to accomplish more with less.

Paul said, “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses” (2 Corinthians 6:3–4).

Moreover, use hard times to create a culture of hard work and honesty. It may mean longer hours and less pay, but sacrifice is the price to be paid for productivity. Invite honest feedback so you accurately and effectively improve process and products. Raise team expectations beyond just surviving to thriving. They look to you for leadership; so lead.

Lastly, serve at home and work with appreciation. It is easy to demand more and more while under pressure and forget to say “Thank you.” Perhaps you give the team a day off, leave a grateful voicemail, buy everyone lunch, or send flowers. Wise leaders honestly inquire, “How can I out serve others, especially in the face of misfortune?” “Where do I need to take responsibility, not blaming outside forces?” Leaders model the way.

Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15).

Related Readings: Exodus 4:28–30; 1 Samuel 17:22–24; Acts 10:4–8

 

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Wisdom Hunters – A Life With Momentum 

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.  Acts 2:41

Momentum makes progress, but lack of momentum loses ground. It is the impetus we need to ignite our life, work, ministry, or intimacy with the Lord. The early church experienced momentum at Pentecost. Jesus’ death on the cross discouraged the masses from moving forward, but His resurrection thrust trust in Him back upon their hearts.

You may need an “Upper Room” prayer meeting to bolster your faith, seeking the Lord for wisdom on how to move forward with momentum. Your leadership may require transformation. New leaders may need to infuse life into the organization. Perhaps you replace old programs with newer exciting ones and let some initiatives mercifully die.

Creativity incubates in a climate of chaos, as limitations can lead to innovation. Momentum makes you better because it builds your confidence and moves you toward more excellent outcomes. Athletic teams are familiar with this; whoever seizes the momentum in the game garners the advantage.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

In the same way, the message of Jesus exploded in momentum after His resurrection, and it followed Peter’s preaching Jesus to men and women from all nations. Therefore, keep Christ central as you advance boldly by grace. Harness trust in your Savor and Lord, and He will ignite forward motion.

Mostly, seek momentum in your walk with Christ. Is your intimacy stuck in inertia? If so, begin praying with intercessors, and ask God for the confidence to do the next right thing. Momentum builds on focus. Keep pushing the slow moving flywheel of faith, and eventually others will join you in advancing the mission.

Paul said, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 nasb).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray my life will be fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Where is God working? How can I build on His momentum?

Related Readings: Genesis 6:9; Psalm 119:40; Luke 9:51; Acts 20:24

 

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Wisdom Hunters – A Healthy Fear 

How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?  Genesis 39:9

The fear of God is healthy. Joseph understood this. Though he was in an environment where he could sin and nobody would know, he knew that most importantly God would know. This is healthy, because a respectful attitude toward God is accountability. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we know God is watching, and we know that He expects us to represent Him well. Wherever there is God, there is accountability.

We may be able to hide (for a time) our Internet probing of despicable sites, but God is not deceived. We may cover up (for a time) padded expense reports, but God is not fooled. Our flirtatious words and emotional attachment to someone other than our spouse disappoint and grieve our heavenly Father. Over time, all of these areas of sin will be exposed, and there will be tremendous hurt and disaster. However, when we fear Him we experience His accountability and as we submit to Him, there is obedience to do the right thing.

“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:3-4).

So where does fear of God come from? It comes from God. As a follower of Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit resides in you, and among other things, He is there to convict you of sin. We have a God consciousness. His still, small voice (sometimes loud voice) is there to remind us of His expectations. He is jealous and wants us totally for Himself.

Lastly, the essence of fearing God is a reverential trust that compels you to love and obey Him. Ironclad faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is foundational in your fear of God. The more you understand God’s character through His Word, the more you grow to love and respect Him. Fear of God flows into a fervent faith that rejects sin and trusts Him.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep my heart tender and clean with real time confession of my sin against You, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Does my fear of God cause my behavior to change in my concern not to disappoint Jesus?

Related Readings: Numbers 32:23; Nehemiah 5:15; Acts 10:2; 2 Corinthians 5:11

 

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Wisdom Hunters – When In Doubt 

When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Matthew 11:2–3

Doubt seeks to destroy our faith. It is in our discouragement—even despair—that we begin to question God. “What did I do wrong?”, “Lord, did you call me to this place of confusion?”, “Where is my joy and hope?”, “Are you even real or just a figment of my imagination?” Left to its natural conclusion, doubt crushes our faith in Christ.

Fortunately, faith does not have to take a furlough when we are frustrated and fatigued. It is in your confinement that Christ wants to remind you of His great power. So cry out to Him in your confused circumstances, and He will earnestly listen in love. “In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7). He does not leave His loved ones alone and in doubt.

It is okay to be in doubt, but not to remain in doubt. What doubt challenges your faith in God? Is it His provision, His promises, His presence, His character, or His care? When these questions assault your confidence in Christ, take a step back and review His track record. The reality of your salvation sets you on the productive path of peace and forgiveness. Answered prayer over the years is proof enough of His love and concern.

Furthermore, use this temporary time of distrust to go deeper with Jesus. The pressure you feel on all sides is your Savior’s way of soliciting your attention. When in doubt, seek out the Lord, learn to love Him completely, and discern more fully His profound promises. Use doubt to dig deeper into the truth of Scripture; marinate your mind. “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

When in doubt, stay steadfast in seeking your Savior. Wait on Him, especially when you wonder what is next. Where there is true faith there may be a mixture of unbelief; so remain faithful, even when questions manipulate your faith. Perseverance will one day free you as a stronger and more-committed follower of Christ. See Jesus for who He is. Doubt dissolves in His reassuring presence. Doubt starves to death when it is not fed.

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the LORD, who remains faithful forever” (Psalm 146:5–6).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me in my unbelief to believe You are all I need during this time of intense uncertainty, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: What doubts do I need to acknowledge and release to God? Is Christ trustworthy?

Related Readings: 2 Chronicles 33:12; Job 36:16–19; John 20:27; Jude 1:22

 

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Wisdom Hunters – False Trust 

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.  Proverbs 11:28

Trust in stuff will cause you to stumble and eventually fall. Why? Why is money unfit for trust? It is unreliable because it cannot save us or bring us forgiveness, peace, or contentment. Money is an unemotional master that can trip you up if it becomes the basis for your security. It can be here today and gone tomorrow. Money moves around like a gypsy looking for the next place to live. Trust in riches fails to focus on Christ.

The Bible says, “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Proverbs 23:5). Trust in riches causes some to fall from the faith, because they equate wealth with success. However, you can be faithful to the Lord and thus be successful whether rich or poor. It may take losing money to reveal our true motivation. Trust in riches is a recipe for false security, fear, and sadness.

However, the righteous understand the role of riches is to remind them of God’s provision. The Bible says, “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). Are you struggling with the reduction of your wealth? Do you remember what really mattered when you were first married? Was it trust in the Lord, your spouse, and good health? The righteous thrive in trust and obedience to Christ.

Lastly, guard your good name during financial crisis. Character is of much greater value than cash. The Bible says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). This means you do not fear and you follow through with your commitments. Faith grows in its giving during uncertain times. Am I thriving or surviving? Is my trust in gold or God?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith to totally trust You and not in my ability to work and make money, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Where does the Lord want me to aggressively give money while trusting in Him?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 8:12–14; Job 31:24–25; Matthew 13:22; 1 Timothy 6:17

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Refreshers Are Refreshed 

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”. Proverbs 11:25

What does it mean to be refreshed? It is to be made fresh, to revive, to enliven, to invigorate, to rejuvenate, to energize, to restore, to recharge, or to revitalize. A meager cup of lukewarm coffee comes alive with a satisfying taste when mixed with freshly brewed beans. A lukewarm life is warmed and encouraged when refreshed with words of encouragement and acts of kindness. Everyone we meet becomes a candidate for refreshment.

Our faith cools down when Christ seems silent and circumstances continue to crumble, but a sincere prayer from a righteous friend warmly restores our confidence. Our hope feels deferred in the face of disappointment and rejection, but we are energized by the acceptance and love of a community of believers in Jesus. Hope loves company. Seek refreshment from your Savior and His followers. Be refreshed so you can refresh others.

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jeremiah 31:25).

When your parched soul has been watered by dew from heaven, you can lead others to the Lord’s watering hole. People are frantically feeling robbed by insensitive institutions and greedy governments, but we can reconnect them to their generous God. Jesus gives us an abundant life to be shared with others who are absent of abundance. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV).

Lastly, your refreshment reciprocates refreshment. When you refresh another financially, you are refreshed by faith and fulfillment. When you refresh another emotionally, you are refreshed by peace and contentment. When you refresh another spiritually, you are refreshed by the grace and love of God. Are you in need of refreshment? If so, receive Christ’s full cup of joy. Drink often with the Lord so you can generously refresh friends.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

Prayer: Dear Lord, I receive Your refreshing love so by Your grace I can refresh others, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How can I stay in a routine of refreshment so that I in turn can refresh others?

Related Readings: Ruth 2:14; Psalm 41:1; Matthew 25:34–35; 2 Corinthians 9:6–7

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Wisdom Hunters – Comfort in Loss 

And many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. John 11:19

Have you lost someone or something close to your heart—a baby, a spouse, a friend, a job or an opportunity? A great loss requires great grace or the pain is unbearable. Why do some expecting mothers have a stillborn child and others don’t? Can we truly understand these puzzling matters until we get to heaven and are able to ask, “Why Lord, why?”

Where is God when emotions run raw and a great hole of hurt embeds in the heart? We don’t always understand the ways of God, but we can always count on Christ’s comfort. The Lord lingers long with those caught in the pain of great loss. What others cannot totally understand, your Heavenly Father fully comprehends. Grace soothes aching hearts. Christ’s comfort nurses like cool cough syrup flowing down a swollen, inflamed throat.

“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5). The Lord’s comfort is limitless in its capacity to cure.

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Wisdom Hunters – Forgiveness Heals 

 

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.  Genesis 33:4

Just like the prodigal son (Jesus describes in Luke 15) became broken and repentant, so Jacob does. As the loving father forgives, embraces, and weeps with the son, so Esau does with Jacob. It is a beautiful, beautiful picture of forgiveness. Deception was overcome by forgiveness. Stealing was overcome by forgiveness. Hurt was overcome by forgiveness. Anger was overcome by forgiveness. Pride was overcome by forgiveness.

Running away was overcome by forgiveness. Coming back together was facilitated by forgiveness. Forgiveness through Christ and toward each other is the great reconciler. Otherwise, we live life like most miserable men and women, still blaming others and lamenting over injustice inflicted on us and those we love. It is not fair because life hurts our idealism and optimism; however, to be healed is to forgive. So how do we forgive?

Forgiveness begins with an encounter with God, as the originator of forgiveness embraces us. He is the one with the limitless capacity to forgive. His forgiveness engulfs us with ability, a mandate, and a reservoir of forgiveness. Because He has thoroughly forgiven us through Christ, we can and will forgive others for Christ’s sake. It is the essence of being a Christian. If you are a Christian, you forgive.

Why is forgiveness hard? One reason is our immature faith lacks a cure. Our focus is still on our needs and hurts, but God is calling us to forgive. It is from a faithful stance of loving Him and loving people. When you choose to live by faith, you forgive. When you forgive, you trust that God is working to make you and others more like Jesus. Begin today; let God embrace you, you embrace another, and then watch forgiveness do its work.

The Bible says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for healing my broken heart with Your amazing grace and love, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Whom can I forgive today and begin the process of healing?

Related Readings: Psalm 30:2; Isaiah 53:5; Mark 5:34; 1 Peter 2:24

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Wisdom Hunters – Be a Blessing 

So he [Jacob] went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him.    Genesis 27:27

What is a blessing? It represents God’s goodwill. Furthermore, He uses people as a channel for His blessing. They invoke divine favor, conferring well-being and prosperity to others. We all long for blessing. We desire blessing from God and blessing from those we love and respect. This high level of approval and support comes in a variety of forms.

It can be words of admonishment and instruction. Words may paint a larger context of God’s overall will and purpose for your life. Blessings not only represent God’s favor and direction but also sanction support from other servants of Christ. So where does this longing to be blessed lead? It means you first receive the blessing of God and others, so you in turn can be a blessing.

Think how you can be a blessing to another today. How can you give people a divine context so they recognize and enjoy God’s purpose in their lives? Perhaps it is a quiet, private prayer for them. Or the Lord may lead you to publicly lay hands on someone, while asking for His blessing to reside on that person’s life and work.

Your bold blessing may be just what others need as they continue in their faithfulness to their family and faith. It can be a simple word of encouragement or a letter of gratitude. Your blessing to others can be formal or informal. Think of creative ways to formally bless your children as they transition into adulthood, or how you can informally bless a friend launching a new career.

In Christ we bless others; without Christ we easily curse others. If we do nothing, people are prone to fill in the blanks with negative thoughts and feelings. What power you have through the power of a blessing. Use it prayerfully and happily. Have you been blessed so you can bless?

The Bible says, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your blessings, so I can be a blessing to others, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Whom can I bless today who may not feel worthy of blessing?

Related Readings: Genesis 5:2; 2 Samuel 6:20; 1 Peter 3:9; Revelation 1:3

 

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Faith Stretcher 

 

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’   Genesis 17:17

Sometimes God’s will is not logical and does not even seem possible. Abraham certainly struggled with the idea of being a parent as a centenarian and his wife conceiving at ninety years of age. It was not possible; it did not make sense. Yet in reality all things are possible with God, and this was one of them.

The Lord made a promise that was out of the ordinary. He wanted to mark this occasion with an indelible stamp of a “God thing.” Abraham tried to let God off the hook on this miraculous scheme by offering Him another plan. However, God was not interested in another plan; He was interested in setting the stage for a blessing that would validate His sovereignty, taking the faith of Abraham, Sarah, and an entire nation to a whole new level. God wants us, and He wants us to take Him at His Word.

Why is it hard to take God at His Word? Why do we struggle with believing in something that is not logical or takes us out of our comfort zone? One reason we struggle is our perception of God. We make Him so small. We bring Him down to our level rather than allowing Him to pull us up to His level! This is man-centered thinking; instead, let’s allow God to be God.

Faith allows us to travel places with God that we would never experience otherwise. Would you not rather be in the middle of a lake in a storm with Jesus than on the calm shore around a warm fire without Him? This is where faith trumps logic. We trust Him when it does not make sense; we follow Him when we are not sure of the destination.

We believe the Lord when others think we are strange, too religious, or even fanatical. Let your Savior stretch your faith, trusting Him with the opportunity in front of you. Has your laughter turned to trust and awe in God and His accomplishments?

The Bible says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56 nasb).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my faith to align with Your vision for my life, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: What impossibility am I facing but will trust that with God it is possible?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 9:18–25; Psalm 126:1; Matthew 2:11; Romans 4:20

 

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Wisdom Hunters –   A Reliable Guide 

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3

Integrity is an instrument of almighty God. He uses it to guide His children in the direction He desires for them. Have you ever wondered what God would have you do? Integrity is His directive to do the next right thing, trusting Him with the results. It is out of honesty that we begin to comprehend Christ’s desires. He delights in our uprightness.

For example, are you totally honest on your tax return? Is your tax preparer a person of unquestionable integrity? We can trust professionals to represent us well, but we are ultimately responsible for an honest outcome. Furthermore, is there anything you are doing, if printed as a newspaper headline, that would embarrass you and your family? Indeed, integrity brings joy to heaven and security on earth. It is your guide for godly living.

The iniquity of the unfaithful destroys. The blessing of God is removed as it cannot be bought with bad behavior. Relationships are scarred and some even severed over dishonest dealings. Overnight, poor judgment can soil and potentially destroy a hard-earned reputation. Pride acts like integrity is only for others. It deceives itself and becomes a disgrace for its dishonest and duplicitous ways. Iniquity is an unfaithful guide.

“I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do” (Nehemiah 7:2).

So we ask ourselves, “How can I be a man or woman of integrity over the balance of my life?” There is a simplicity about those who base their behavior on the principles of God’s Word; nothing fancy, only faithful living in their daily routine. The grace of God governs their soul, the truth of God renews their mind, and accountability is an anchor for their actions. Honestly ask yourself, “Is integrity my faithful guide?”

The Bible says, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you” (Psalm 25:21).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me into Your will as I submit my will to Your wisdom and ways, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How can I better integrate integrity as a guide for my business dealings and behavior at home?

Related Readings: Genesis 20:4–7; Hosea 13:9; Matthew 7:13; Romans 7:9–12

 

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Righteous Resolve 

 

The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land. Proverbs 10:30

Resolve is the result of righteous living. There is a determination deep within a soul dependent on God. When you are established in the faith, no one can remove you from Christ’s call. He has appointed you to this post of service. Do not leave until the Lord reassigns you. Righteous resolve decides to stay put; so by faith, keep on for Christ.

It probably means you disappoint some and invigorate others. However, if your goal is to first trust and obey the Lord, you will be misunderstood by some and rejected by others. Friends may even urge you to move on, but you cannot because Christ has not released you. Your resolve is His resolve. Therefore, you persevere through pain, suffering and uncertainty. Righteous resolve remains, regardless of the consequences, good or bad.

Moreover, there is a righteous resolve that remains in Christ (see John 15:5). Your conversion to Christianity was a resolution to abide under the influence of almighty God. You stay true to your commitment to Christ because of the joy that comes from following Jesus. The “meek inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5), while the wicked don’t.

Lastly, you cannot lose what you give away, and you cannot keep what you will not release. Indeed, a righteous resolve has a relentless trust in the Lord. Obedience, generosity and contentment all require tenacious trust. Therefore, resolve in your heart to go hard after God. Release your relentless pursuits, only after He has released you. Perhaps you ask, “Is my resolve righteous, or is it contingent on circumstances?”

The Bible says, “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:3).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me Your resolve to complete the project I have started and to finish well, in Jesus! name, amen.

Application: Where do I need a righteous resolve to remain true to my commitment and calling?

Related Readings:  Psalm 15:5; Daniel 1:8; Romans 8:35-39; 1 Corinthians 2:2

 

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