Category Archives: Wisdom Hunters

Wisdom Hunters – Effective Fathers Instruct

 

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4

Men, it is not enough to just live a right life in front of your child, you must explain to them why it’s right. They need to know the why and the how behind what you do. Your words work wonders in their tender and teachable hearts. Your instruction means you care to coach and train them in truth. It’s Dad’s tutoring of his tribe that empowers his little ones for life. They may not act as if they’re listening, but they are. Teaching truth transforms.

Truth leaves your lips and lodges in their hearts. When you take the time to transfer truth to your child you are setting them up for success. Truth is transformational and freeing. It gives confidence, direction, and discernment. As they move into maturity you won’t always be there, but truth will see them through.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

Instruct them how to balance a check book, change a flat tire, mow the lawn, shoot a gun, dress appropriately, carry on a conversation, swim, fly a kite, book a plane ticket online, memorize poetry, journal, pray, study the Bible, grill burgers, and make homemade ice cream. Children crave being with their dad and learning his lessons from life. Tell them when you messed up, what you learned, and what you did right. Explain that their best motivations are love of God, and love for people. Teach lovingly and patiently.

Above all, teach them to know, understand, love, and fear Jesus. He is the truth. “I am the way and the truth and the life…” (John 14:6a). The more they go to Jesus, the more they will be educated in what matters most. He will reveal to them wisdom and understanding. Instruct your child in intimacy with the Almighty, and they will be inspired with a heart of humility, and they will aspire to know the mind of Christ. Lead them to sit at the feet of their Savior and learn from Him.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” (Matthew 11:29a).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I am desperate for your wisdom and grace to father well, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application

How can I best instruct my child? What is their unique learning style?

Related Readings

Joshua 4:6-7; Proverbs 13:1; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

Worship Resource

6-minute music video- Tasha Cobbs Leonard: Good Good Father

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Accurate Information… 

 

He [Apollos] was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.  Acts 18:24–25

Accurate information is an expression of integrity. It is the ability to gather all the pertinent facts and communicate them clearly to all necessary parties. It is when we get in a hurry that we distort data and forget details. We need to slow down and do an accuracy audit of our information. Are the dates right? Are the details precise? Does everyone affected understand? Accurate information and comprehension create creditability.

Accuracy begins by being properly schooled and instructed, so you become a subject matter expert in the material you manage. Apollos was a student of Scripture.  He examined the mind and heart of God expressed in Holy Writ, and he allowed others to instruct him in the way of the Lord. He rightly divided the truth because he understood and applied the truth.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 nkjv).

Have you gone to school on the subject you are seeking to master? Do you have a mentor to instruct you and hold you accountable? Excellent work requires you to be an apostle of accurate information. As you learn to love the details that matter, your work will matter more. Accurate information is extremely valuable because it is the foundation on which assumptions are built. Does your process protect you from displaying inaccurate information?

Confidence comes when there is clarity of facts and comprehension of the content. Doubt will dog you as long as the truth is tentative and details are left unaccounted for. It is better to work thoroughly on one project and get it right than to engage in a flurry of activity with only futility as its outcome.

“You must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly” (Deuteronomy 13:14).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me not jump to conclusions and instead give me a patient heart to gather and understand accurate information before I make a decision, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Do I take the proper time to gather, comprehend, and communicate accurate information? Do I steward data precisely and accurately?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 25:15; Psalm 119:140; Acts 22:3; 2 Timothy 3:17

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- Lacey Strum: Justice and Mercy

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Focus on Intimacy With God 

 

Love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.  Deuteronomy 30:20

The Christian life is a matter of focus. Do I focus on my fears, my problems, and my needs, or do I focus on God? Do I love Him, listen to Him, trust Him, and allow Him to consume my life, or am I wrapped up in myself? These are two very different perspectives. One takes life; the other gives life. One saps energy; the other gives energy. So how can we listen to God, trust God, and make God our life? It starts with love.

When we love God, our affections are heavenward. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1–2). Love means we want to be with Him, understand Him, and please Him. Loving God means our love for others or things pales in comparison to our love for Him.

Others may become jealous because of the time and attention you give God. It may be hard for them to understand, but in reality, if your love of God is pure, those closest to you will be better off. Because the Lord loves you and you love Him, you cannot help but love those around you. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).

Focus on God also means you listen to Him. Quietness and solitude become a part of who you are because God’s voice is clear and crisp during stillness and reflection. Other competing noises are snuffed out when you take time to listen. Listen to Him in soft, contemplative worship music, listen to Him through mediation on His Word, or listen to Him beside a bubbling brook under the canopy of His creation. His voice is constant and soothing; He is everywhere, searching to communicate with and comfort His children.

How well do you listen to the Lord? Does it take a posture of desperation? Do the ears of your soul perk up in the presence of your Holy Creator? How can we not listen to the One who holds the world in His hands and who loves us beyond comprehension? Indeed, listen to Him, and do quickly what He says. Obedience acts on what it hears by faith.

Trust is also a part of our focus on God. He can be trusted because He is trustworthy. Others will let us down, but not God. He is always there to comfort us in our affliction and to convict us in our sin. Trust His flawless character; out of this trust flows peace that this life does not offer. Trust most especially during uncertain times; He will work it out for His glory.

“The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him” (Psalm 32:10).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my heart of intimacy with You, I confess Christ is my life, in His name, amen.

Application: Is my faith focused on receiving the love of my heavenly Father?

Related Readings: Psalm 115:15; Isaiah 65:16; 1 Corinthians 4:12; Romans 12:14

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- Lacey Strum: The Reason

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Death of Discouragement 

 

Be strong and courageous.… The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Deuteronomy 31:6

God is with you; through faith in Jesus He is right here. If the Lord physically walked with you throughout the day, would you be afraid or discouraged? Of course you would be totally encouraged and secure. By faith your heavenly Father walks with you day in and day out. You are not left out in the cold. You have the resources of a child of God to be strong and courageous. Thus, rise up and receive the grace and strength of the Lord.

Yes, life does have its moments, and, yes, there are times of discouragement and fear, but you are not to dwell there. You can be confident because the Lord is preparing the way before you. He is executing the due diligence for your life’s future. He is your advance man as you move forward. There will be bumps along the way, but as long as you follow the Lord, He will smooth the way, preparing your path.

Listen to what the Lord says: “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16). You can take courage because Christ is your compass and your companion.

Above all, He will never leave you or forsake you. Yes, you have and will face difficulties and heartache. Some of the adversity you encounter may feel insurmountable. But do not despair to the point of giving up. He has not left you. Even though it may not always feel like it, He is there. Like a child off at college for the first time, the security and support of his parents seems distant, but mom and dad still love him profusely though separated by distance.

When you blow it, He is there. When you succeed, He is there. When you are angry and fearful, He is there. He never leaves you. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). So maybe it is time to slow down and take an inventory of God’s faithfulness over the years. It is at the point of your pain that others look to see if your Christianity works. Anybody can claim Christ when the road is smooth, but what if the bottom falls out and life stinks? Where do others see you turn? Do they see faith or fear?

When you fail and fall on your face, you will succeed if you fall on your knees in prayer and humbly depend on the Lord. When a fire breaks out we tell our kids to stop, drop, and roll. God gently encourages you in your fiery trial, reminding you to stop, drop to your knees, and pray. “But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’” (Matthew 14:27). Have I prayerfully received the courage Christ offers?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are my ultimate Encourager, I lean into You for love, affirmation and instruction, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: What discouragement am I experiencing that I can take courage from Christ to carry me through this circumstance?

Related Readings: Exodus 6:9; Deuteronomy 31:8; Ephesians 3:13; Colossians 3:21

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- People and Songs: My God Fights For Me

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Spiritual Receptivity 

 

Then Jesus said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.  Mark 4:9

Spiritual receptivity is necessary for the growing follower of Christ. Jesus knew that there had to be a willingness to want to know and understand before there could be any comprehension of His teachings. This hunger for God is an innate appetite that only He can satisfy. Even if you do not hear, you can want to hear. This is the attitude of a growing disciple of Jesus Christ. A willing heart is what the Holy Spirit infuses with insight.

Spiritual receptivity is born out of your attitude and validated by your actions. Actions are an indicator but not an initiator of openness to the Almighty’s agenda. Have you ever grown weary working for the Lord, struggling to have a patient attitude? Yes, we all have from time to time, but it is a patient and grateful attitude that hears Christ communicate the most clearly. Gratitude for His grace, love, and forgiveness leads to hearing His voice.

His Word lodges alive and eventually bears fruit when the ears of your heart humbly listen to the Lord with an attitude of obedience. Jesus explained the results of a spiritually receptive heart; hearing and understanding His Word, thus finding faith and healing. Indeed, the comprehension of His ways is not limited to a select few “professional Christians.” In fact, their ministry vocation can become a stumbling block to belief.

“‘For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13:15–17).

Spiritual receptivity means I submit to the Holy Spirit’s prodding to preempt my pride. Instead of reacting to raw data, I wait and process with prayer so I am able to gain God’s perspective and not be rushed by the world’s way of doing things. Spiritual receptivity sees the face of God and hears the heart of heaven.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).

Do I hear with a heart toward hearing from heaven? Is my heart humbled to hear from the Holy Spirit?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a humble heart to hear Your words and to do what You say, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Consider a half day of silence with no screens or distractions to listen for the Lord’s direction through His word and His creation.

Related Readings: Isaiah 55:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:2

Worship Resource: 5-minute music video- Matt Maher: Your Love Defends Me

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Vocational Fulfillment 

 

When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.  Genesis 39:3–4

What brings you fulfillment in your work? Is it the sense of accomplishment? Is it the opportunity to encourage someone? Is it the satisfaction of caring for your family? Is it the sense of security from a steady income stream? Your vocational fulfillment flows from a combination of these characteristics and more. When you are fulfilled in your job, you are able to filter through the negatives on the way to the positives.
Be careful not to equate feeling passionate about your position with being fulfilled in your work. Passions ebb and flow around the excitement of a situation, like a start-up when everyone is thinking and working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But this passionate breakneck pace is not sustainable. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Indeed, if you are absorbed in your work, not constantly glancing at the clock, then perhaps you are in a place of fulfillment.

“He named him Noah and said, ‘He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed’” (Genesis 5:29).

Is it your sense of control over the outcome that draws you to serve where you work? You feel empowered, you are able to expand your skills, and you can make a meaningful contribution in your community as a parent or an employee. Vocational fulfillment flows from a heart engaged in a mission that means something to you and to the Lord.

If Christ has placed you where you are, can you be content to serve Him wholeheartedly? The Almighty’s vocational assignment carries its own sense of satisfaction. Joseph found favor because God placed him in his leadership role. In the same way, use your workplace platform as a launching pad for the Lord. Your ability to support others, offer promotions, and create a caring culture facilitates fulfillment for everyone.

Vocational fulfillment is a faith journey that brings out the best in you and those around you. God blesses the work He assigns. Have you accepted the Lord’s assignment? “From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph” (Genesis 39:5).

What brings me fulfillment in my job? How can I help others find fulfillment in their work?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to work Your work and not be distracted by other good work, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: What area of expertise can I develop in my work so I can be better equipped for my next season of service?

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 15:10; Psalm 90:17; Proverbs 12:11; Colossians 3:24; 1 Timothy 5:8

Worship Resource: 6-minute music video- People and Songs: Bring An Awakening

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Meaningful Memorial Days 

 

Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God’.  Acts 10:4

Meaningful Memorial Days are meant to remember someone or something we hold in high esteem. We pause to reflect and honor their value to our lives and to our country. It is the memory of sacrifice, suffering, industriousness, and integrity that instills a humbling heritage. Men and women gave their lives in battle that we might gain our lives of freedom.

Memorial Days are the most meaningful when we take time to pause and pray. We thank God in sincere supplication for His favor in our engagement with the enemy, past and present. On our knees we acknowledge almighty God as the genesis for our great country. He led His people here to establish a nation founded on faith in Christ. If we fail to memorialize our Founding Fathers as figures of faith, then we fail as Christian citizens.

Moreover, your gifts to the poor and to all people are a memorial offering before God. Every gift is to be given in the name of Jesus. You give for the cause of Christ because of the great gift of salvation He has given you. Gifts given as a memorial to God gain His glory. You honor the Lord when you give on His behalf.

Lastly, His abundant grace is reason enough for righteous reflection. Is your salvation in Jesus still sweet and savory to your soul? Do you recount often the Lord’s tender mercy toward you and your family? Remember how ecstatic you felt when Sovereign God engaged your soul with faith and forgiveness? Keep fresh your conversion experience.

Your testimony of trust in Jesus Christ—now and at your conversion—is a memorial to your Master’s faithfulness. The death of Jesus for our soul’s freedom and the death of men and women for our nation’s soul are the most meaningful Memorial Days. Honor Him and honor them by promoting our liberties as a gift from almighty God and our faithful soldiers.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Prayer: Thank you Lord for those who have given their life, so I might enjoy my life of freedom and faith in Jesus, in His name I pray.

Application: How can I make Memorial Days meaningful?  Do I pray and give as a memorial to Jesus?

Related Readings: Exodus 20:8; Leviticus 2:9; Psalm 77:11; John 15:20–27

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- Austin French: Freedom Hymn

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Embrace Excellence 

 

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  Matthew 5:48

We admire excellence in others. Professional athletes, attorneys, speakers, teachers, coaches, custodians, mothers, fathers, leaders, elected officials, and business men and women who excel motivate others to excel. Their commitment to thousands of hours in focused training and competition makes their flawless performance look easy. It is their obsession with perfection that leads them to excellence.

In Christ perfection is our position. Outside of Christ no one is perfect, but inside of Christ everyone is perfect. We are perfect because He is perfect. “So that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). The challenge lies in our living in a sinful world with sinful people; therefore, perfection is diluted. Nonetheless, Jesus commanded His children to be perfect on the same level as their heavenly Father. So as we seek perfection in this life, we see glimpses of glory, and we do capture excellence in the process.

What does excellence look like from the eyes of the eternal? Paul, a protagonist of perfection, describes our dilemma:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12–14).

People with an eternal perspective promote perfection. Therefore, embrace excellence as a core value in your life and work. Because you represent the Lord Jesus, be an excellent example of a Christian. Be it ministry or business, your vocation is a vicarious look at our Lord. Talk about Jesus from a platform of perfection, and people will stop to listen. Excellence is your entrée into promoting a loving relationship with God.

“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever” (Psalm 45:2).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me represent you with excellence in all aspects of my life just as Jesus did. Amen.

Application: Do I settle for mediocrity, or do I aspire to excellence? Are others attracted to the quality of my character, competence, and family?

Related Readings: Psalm 18:32; Isaiah 26:3; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 10:14

Post/Tweet this today:  Because you represent the Lord Jesus, by God’s grace be an excellent example of a Christian. #excellence #wisdomhunters

Worship Resource: 3-minute music video- Mercy Me: Grace Got You

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – How to Love and Respect Those in Their Golden Years 

 

Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.  Leviticus 19:32

We are in the final preparations of celebrating my in-laws’ 60th wedding anniversary and stunningly, all four of our children, their spouses and children can attend—15 total! I am so grateful to God all of us made it a priority to honor James and Jean with our presence at their momentous milestone. Their steadfast love can be felt and seen in the DNA of those they have loved so well all these years. Now we have the privilege to lavishly love them on their lifetime achievement. Love and respect for those in their golden years is golden in the sight of God.

Advanced years can bring improvement in decision making, perspective, understanding of people, and our intimacy with God and those closest to us. The elderly represent a plethora of wisdom waiting to be tapped. They tell stories of real-life events that challenge, educate, and entertain. Those approaching their twilight years who love Jesus have an eternal perspective that is infectious. They see God for who He is.

Yet with all of these potential, positive traits, we stutter at spending time with the aged, even those who are own flesh and blood. Why is this so? Yes, some are hard to get along with; others reek of body staleness (having been trapped indoors), and others are very high maintenance. This is hard; yet it is temporary, and before you know it they will be gone. How many more days do you have with a parent, grandparent, or mentor?

“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (Titus 2:2).

As the sand is rushing toward the bottom of the hourglass, what are some ways you can demonstrate respect toward the elderly? One way is to spend time with them. Perhaps it is a regular visit to the nursing home or retirement center. Love them by showing up with flowers and by reading an uplifting portion of Scripture. Listen to their hopes, dreams, and regrets. Throughout your conversation with the elderly, capture in your memory the nuggets of wisdom, thoughts, ideas, and places that resonate with how you do or do not want to live your life. Look for those life snapshots that you can emulate and pass down to your children and your children’s children.

Respect for your elders may express itself with them visiting you rather than you visiting them. They may need to move in with you so you can love them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, this is a huge commitment. It is harder to “raise” your parents than it is to raise your children. Their needs are more complicated, and they certainly do not want to be told what to do, but you love them anyway.

You respect them even when they are not respectable. Seize this time. Do not let it slip by in the abyss of busyness. It is an opportunity for your kids to experience how you would like for them to treat you one day. Your respect for the elderly is a reflection of your reverence for God. Love, serve, and respect them as if you were doing the same for Christ.

“Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he” (Job 32:4).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a caring heart for those in my life who are older, who desire and deserve my love and respect, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How can I schedule regular time to learn from and love the elderly?

Related Readings: Job 32:4–6; Proverbs 16:31; Romans 13:7; 1Timothy 5:1–2

Post/Tweet this today:   Our love and respect for the older generation is a reflection of our reverence for God. #goldenyears #wisdomhunters

Worship Resource: 6-minute music video- Gaither’s: There’s Always a Place at The Table

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – When Silence is Golden 

Moses then said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: “Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’ Aaron remained silent.  Leviticus 10:3

Aaron lost two of his four sons because of their unwise decisions to disobey God. The emotions in Aaron’s heart must have been racing. Just before the death of his sons, Aaron experienced the ultimate in ecstasy by luxuriating in the glory of the Lord with his best friend, family, and friends. He went from the mountaintop of celebration to the valley of death. He knew to speak in this state of emotion was risky, unwise, and fleshly.

As anger and humiliation boil, our words become ripe to lash out at God and others. It is wise to refrain in the face of raw emotion. There are times not to speak our minds, spew our unguarded words and embarrass ourselves. Instead, by God’s grace we can remain quiet, cool, and contemplative. Smart silence sends a message of maturity. Patience waits to speak guarded words full of grace and truth—those golden to God.

“Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear” (Proverbs 25:12).

It is hard to remain silent when we feel hurt or disappointed. It is hard to harness our tongues when we see our children hurting and we feel incapacitated to help. It is hard to keep quiet and pray when we feel the Lord has let us down. Like an intravenous procedure in a fevered patient, smart silence requires extra doses of God’s grace flooding our lives. His grace refrains us from speaking until a better time and day.

There are times to speak up in the heat of the emotion, but those situations are the exception. In most cases take a deep breath, send up a prayer to your heavenly Father, and wait before you speak. Wait until you are calm, and wait for others to cool down. At the appropriate time, make sure your words are birthed from a pure and prayerful heart. Silence is smart because it allows the Lord to soothe your soul.

“But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131:2).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me quiet when I am tempted to speak harmful words, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: In what relationship do I need to trust God and be silent?

Related Readings: Psalm 4:4; Isaiah 42:14; Mark 14:61; Acts 8:32

Post/Tweet this today:  Silence in the heat of the moment is smart because it allows the Holy Spirit to soothe our soul.  #smartsilence #wisdomhunters

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- Hillsong United: Prince of Peace

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – A Mother’s Work 

 

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  Proverbs 31:27–28

A mother’s work is never done. There is always another meal to prepare, a face to wipe, clothes to wash, an errand to run, a room to clean, and a dollar to manage. She serves unselfishly like Jesus. “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). A mother’s work makes those around her look good. She is God’s chosen one in the home.

The law of love and kindness is written on her heart, but some days it is hard to have the right attitude. The work can become laborious, monotonous, and taken for granted. It is at this point of feeling unappreciated that a wise mom reminds herself of heaven’s applause. She is really serving for an audience of one, her loving Lord. Her Savior Jesus smiles at her service, and that is enough. The reward of doing right encourages her heart to do right.

“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:4–5).

In addition, there are the rewards of a child’s smile and warm embrace and of hearing, “Thank you, mommy, for being my mommy.” Or there are the rewards of a loving husband who genuinely thanks his wife and serves her by listening, serving, and giving praise. She takes pride in her work because she recognizes everything she has is a gift from God. Her home and family are a reflection of her and her heavenly Father. She manages the home for her Master’s glory.

Lastly, your work is a model for your children to follow. Your actions become a teacher that prepares them for adulthood. Chores done well create children who work well. Assign them responsibilities so they learn thoroughness, cleanliness, and organization. Allow your domestic duties to bring calm into your home in the same manner the Lord quiets your soul.

“But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131:2).

Prayer: Lord, lead me to be content serving my family for Christ’s sake.

Application: What are some ways for me to rest in the Lord and not worry over matters out of my control?

Related Readings: Proverbs 4:3; Proverbs 31:10–31; 1Timothy 5:14

Worship Resource: 3-minute music video- Cynthia Clawson: My Mother’s Faith

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Compassion for Mothers-in-Law 

 

When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.  Matthew 8:14-15

Do you see your mother-in-law with compassion, or do you see her as competition? Your mother-in-law is meant to compliment your marriage, not compete with it. Peter did a smart thing as a son-in-law: he invited Jesus into his home and into their relationship. As a result, Jesus healed his mother-in-law so she was free to serve Him and others.

It is out of an attitude of compassion that you are able to illustrate to your mother-in-law the love of Jesus. If you resist her interest in your family, reject her suggestions, or deny her access to your home, you dishonor her in the process. We all have our quirks, but the Lord works these out with levity, love, and long-suffering. Compassion compensates.

As the leader of your home, make sure you are reaching out to your mother-in-law on a regular basis. Perhaps you invite her over for her grandchildren’s birthdays, school events, or sporting activities. How are you intentionally engaging your in-laws so they are able to do life with your little ones? It is out of a multi-generational community that your offspring gain perspective from their grandparents. Honor them as models for your children, who one day will honor their own in-laws. Ruth lived this out in uncomfortable circumstances.

“Boaz replied, ‘I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before’” (Ruth 2:11).

You may be concerned that your mother-in-law does not know the Lord. This is a reasonable fear. But it’s also an opportunity for you to be a righteous representative of your Savior. When she sees Jesus in your attitude and actions, she will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to know Him as you know Him. A fractured family is an opportunity for faith to flourish.

Help facilitate faith and healing in your family dynamic by keeping Christ at the center. Ask how you can serve your mother-in-law in ways she wants to be served. Do you invite her on family outings, extended trips, or over the weekend to stay with your children? Pray your mother-in-law becomes like your mother, and you like her child.

“Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too” (Romans 16:13).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my heart of love to love insecure and hurting family members, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How can I best show compassion to my mother-in-law with my attitude and actions?

Related Readings: Ruth 3:16; Micah 7:6; Luke 12:53; Ephesians 5:31

Worship Resource: 6-minute music video- Gaither’s: Go Rest High On That Mountain

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Christ’s Second Coming 

 

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.   Matthew 16:27

Jesus came the first time in a modest manger to save the people from their sin. He was not the King, but He threatened the King. Jesus is coming soon a second time with a grand entrance as King of Kings to judge the people for their sin and dead works. He rode the first time on a humble donkey, but He will ride this second time on a brazen horse.

Christ’s second coming must matter most to the church because we are His bride, the Body of Christ. How can the church be ready to greet its Godly groom Jesus? Like any faithful wife whose husband is away traveling for work, or waging war overseas, we want to greet Him with a holy kiss. A faithful church is not conformed by the culture, rather it conforms the culture. The faithful Bride of Christ is ready to rejoice at His glorious sight!

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8).

When Christ comes back He wants to catch the church evangelizing the lost and making disciples. He hungers for her disputes to be with the devil and not with each other. A humble church does not use finances to build man’s kingdom, but instead deploys resources to advance the Kingdom of God. The church is ready for Christ’s return when she serves the poor, ministers to the Body, prays for the sick and preaches the gospel!

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).

Christ’s coming is also compelling for individual Christians. We want to be about our Lord’s business and not preoccupied with activities and assets that will burn up one day. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for Christians to not be judged for salvation, but to be judged for the quality of their works. You are wise when you invest in eternal matters with your time and money. Christ-like character, missions, prayer, Bible teaching, corporate and individual worship and service in the community all make Jesus smile. When Christ comes make sure He catches you about your Father’s business:

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I wait on Your Son’s second return with active love and obedience to Your commands.

Application: Are my priorities a reflection of my anticipation of  Christ’s Second Coming?

Related Readings: Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 23:13; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 4:5

Worship Resource: 5-minute music video- Jamie Wilson: Ain’t Grave

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Raising Teenagers

  

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4

It’s hard not to be exasperated by a teenager and hard not to exasperate a teenager. For those who think they know everything, it seems impossible to tell them anything.Yet, God gives parents teenagers so they can learn laughter, wisdom, forgiveness, trust and the grace of imposing guidelines. After all, the older a teenager becomes the less a parent can control them—and more is their felt need to give them over to the Lord’s accountability.

Indeed, tension arises in the transition from immaturity to maturity. It’s during this avalanche of emotions that someone has to act like the adult. The parent is positioned by the Lord to be this voice of reason, as the transitioning teenager has yet to qualify. So, persistent prayer, patience and pardon go a long way in promoting peace in the home.

“Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him” (Genesis 37:2-3).

Fathers, these passionate pre-adults need your firm and loving leadership as they learn how to manage their freedoms. Mom is the gentle nurturer when they are in grade school, but as they acquire acne you protect your wife from being taken advantage of with your wise and caring leadership. Most of all, remember to be intentional in your relational investment with your young person, as rules without relationship leads to rebellion.

Do you feel taken advantage of, lied to and manipulated? Is so, welcome to the world of hormones hijacking the heart of some self absorbed teens. On the other hand, thank the Lord for those young people who, because of God’s grace, have grown in character and their care for others. Make sure to give these models of faithfulness positive feedback. It’s easy to only give attention to the troublemakers and take for granted the good kids.

Above all else, pray together as husband and wife for your teenagers to fear God, love Him and obey Christ’s commands. Ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit, so you can model for them what it means to be a loving disciple of Jesus. Confess your faults to the Lord and your child—and ask for their forgiveness. Teenagers trust transparency. Train and instruct them in worship, Bible study, service, faith, love and grace based living.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me grace and patience to lead and love my teenager in a manner he or she feels loved and respected, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How can I model for my teenager trust in the Lord with my decision-making?

Related Readings: Psalm 89:19; Proverbs 23:22;Lamentations 3:26-28; Matthew 18:21-22

Worship Resource: 3-minute music video- Courtney Patton: Take Your Shoes Off Moses

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Transforming Power of Truth Applied 

 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

Truth applied makes us fully alive. Indeed, most people know enough truth to live a worthwhile life. They know to be honest and not lie. They know to be content and not covet another person’s house, car, or spouse. They know to be patient and wait on the Lord to do a work of grace in a loved one’s life. They know to take responsibility and not blame someone else. They know to believe Jesus and to trust Him with their life.

If we know the truth, why do we sometimes struggle with its application? Perhaps we are self-deceived to think the truth of Scripture is needed for someone else, but not for us. Truth is right and good— not just right and good for me to practice, or worse, to think I’m living it out, when I’m not. Feeling good or bad, or being educated doesn’t transform behavior. What alters our actions is an inward change expressed in outward obedience. The wonderful benefit of this practical process is that truth applied makes us fully alive.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Truth is like a vaccination—that when administered—prevents you from being infected with foolish living. It is like a life-saving serum applied to sin’s poisonous snakebite—potentially healing you from relational, emotional, physical and spiritual death. There is no downside to honestly gazing into the mirror of truth—assessing your life—better yet inviting godly friends to look with you, and then by God’s grace, applying truth for change.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Is there a dark area of your life that needs the bright light of truth to expose it and root it out? Are there bad attitudes and habits you blame on past pain and injustice? If so, lean into the truth and do not be satisfied until truth’s application frees you from mediocre living. Truth applied does make you fully alive—it is a dependable friend who walks with you through wise decision-making. Dismiss dishonest living and invite freedom in honest living. Ask the Lord to reveal truth to you and empower you to live out the truth.

“When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my application of truth through my growing relationship with Jesus, who is the Truth, in His name I pray, amen.

Application: What truth do I need to embrace and celebrate in the transformation of my life?

Related Readings: Isaiah 1:19; Proverbs 23:22; Acts 6:7; Romans 6:16

Worship Resource: 4-minute music video- Hillsong Worship: Lord of Lords

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Trained and Mentored 

Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.” Acts 22:2–3

What does it mean to be trained and mentored in the ways of Jesus? Over the years men and women invested in me by being my mentor. In one case it was a businessman who met me before sunrise. We steeped in the Scripture, and like the effects of a potent tea bag, Christ colored my heart. We prayed on our knees before the start of the day and walked with our Savior throughout the remainder of the day. My mentor made time for me.

How can we be mentored or how can we train and mentor others? It may be a role model from a distance; however, virtual mentors have their limitations. We only see them at their best and rarely learn how to handle struggles and disappointments. Some others have influenced us through their writings and inspired us by their insightful biographies.

Do you have a seasoned saint up close and personal, one who can pray with you, instruct you, challenge you, encourage you, and give you wisdom for wise decision making? “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge” (Proverbs 5:1–2).

Moreover, mentors alert you to sin crouching at the door of your heart and mind. Perhaps they nearly lost their marriage to avoidance of responsibility and being lured away by adultery’s illusion. They can instruct you in what to do and not to do. Paul, Moses, and David’s murderous mistakes did not disqualify them from mentoring and training others out of their repentant hearts. Brokenness is required to mentor well.

However, it is not enough for us to just enjoy the benefits of mentoring without seeking out men and women to mentor. Jesus told His mentees, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2).

Then these reluctant and unproven disciples of Christ were empowered by the Holy Spirit to become workers for God. Pray to the Lord for a mentor, and He will lead and equip you to be an answered prayer.

“And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 AMPLIFIED).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for those who have poured into my life with the life of Christ, in Jesus name, amen.

Application: What profile of mentor makes sense for this season of my life? Whom can I mentor?

Related Readings: Exodus 18:1–27; Judges 4:4–28; 2 Kings 2:1–15; Acts 9:26–30

Worship Resource: 8-minute music video- All Sons and Daughters: Your Glory

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

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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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