Category Archives: Wisdom Hunters

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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Wisdom Hunters – Talk Less, Listen More 

 

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Proverbs 10:19  

Tempered talk is evidence of wise conversation. It is when our words are many that we run the risk of soliciting sin. Increased words increase the probability of improper speech. For example, respectful conversation does not repeat the same words and phrases in a confined period of time. This impatient cadence frustrates.

Perhaps a look of misunderstanding requires questions for clarification or definition for comprehension. Proud conversationalists can highjack a listener’s understanding with a hoard of words without meaning. If your goal is to communicate, then take the time to listen to the needs of your audience. People who feel cared for and understood have a keener sense of hearing and understanding.

“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” (Proverbs 17:28).

Wise people weigh their words before they speak. They allow their minds to catch up with their hearts. Furthermore, in the face of inappropriate behavior, emotions sometimes need to express themselves. Let the other person know if you feel mistreated or misinformed. Concealed anger leads to living a lie (see Proverbs 10:18), but tempered talk is truthful and to the point.

Lastly, you reserve your words out of respect for the other person. If you do all the talking, you are the center of attention. It is condescending conversation when the other individual does not feel important enough to speak up. So honor others by speaking less, listening more intently to how you can love them. Wisdom can be found in the words of each person you meet. Therefore, intentionally talk less and be wise.

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

Prayer: Heavenly Father, hold my tongue to speak less and sensitize my ears to listen with understanding, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: Whom do I need to listen to more and talk less?

Related Readings:  Job 2:3; Amos 5:13; Titus 1:10; James 3:2

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Flirtatious Folly 

The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. Proverbs 9:13

What is flirtatious folly? It is enticement into reckless living. You may ask, “What does it look like?” Its coyness is conceived in attractive idiots, as these disguised fools seek to lure naïve ones into their stupidity. Foolishness loves friends. It approaches in the form of a well-dressed, well-spoken man or woman. They draw you in with their looks and latch onto you with their words.

Folly can be found among the experienced and educated or run rampant in lives of the young and simple. It forces itself on the middle-aged father who has grown discontent with his faith, family, or vocation. Instead of listening to the voice of reason, he socializes with silliness and invites irresponsibility. However, he does not harvest happiness, because the fruit of folly is death: relational, spiritual, and emotional.

“She caught him by his cloak and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house” (Genesis 39:12).

Moreover, wise men and women recognize the futility of folly and flee from its influence. They avoid sexual folly by cultivating a caring marriage. A happy wife is a happy life, and a happy husband is a happy home. Furthermore, financial folly is fleeting for a family who lives well within their means, growing in generosity. Their money becomes a means of honoring their Master Jesus (see Matthew 6:21).

What form of folly is staring you in the face? Wisdom is your warning to flee where good judgment is absent. It may require changing schools, breaking off a relationship, or moving to another neighborhood. Wisdom may not be sexy, but it brings success and satisfaction. Walk in wisdom and you will reap rich relationships, robust faith, and peace of mind.

“I will listen to what God the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints—but let them not return to folly” (Psalm 85:8).

Prayer: Where do I need to force folly from my life, replacing it with wisdom and discernment?

Application: Who has been flirting with me that I need to disclose to my spouse?

Related Readings: Job 2:9–10; Proverbs 21:9–19; James 1:13–15; 2 Peter 2:18–21

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Why me, Lord? 

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:28-30

From time to time I fear I am not up to the task of the Lord’s call on my life. I put pressure on myself to produce—though God’s Spirit reminds me to remain in His strength and not depend on my own energy. I feel the tug to tell the Lord I am tired and that it’s hard to trust Him during a time of transition. Thankfully, His sweet Spirit settles my soul with reassurance. He says, “Boyd, it’s not about your ability, but about Me and my favor. Be available, for I am able.”

Mary faced a similar circumstance in her crisis of faith. When the angel declared her to be highly favored by the Lord, she was troubled. Maybe she didn’t like being the center of attention. The thought of being a vessel of God’s blessing felt overwhelming. Perhaps she feared failure. She did not want to let down the Lord. She thought her modest background disqualified her, but in reality, it qualified her. The Lord highly favors the humble hearted for the glory of His son Jesus.

“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” (Exodus 33:13).

What is the Lord asking you to do that might move you out of your comfort zone? Pregnancy, job change, increased giving, missions, lead a Bible study or volunteer at your church? Be thankful, not afraid of the Lord’s favor on your life. Where He calls you, He will equip you. Where He leads you, He will love you through the process. Like grace, God’s favor is a gift to be managed well. Be grateful for any season of success by giving God the glory for His blessings.

False humility may cause us to say, “Why me, Lord?” But true humility bows in grateful praise to God and confesses, “Why not me, Lord?” Like an eager athlete sits on the bench next to the coach awaiting an opportunity to get into the game, so we anticipate our heavenly Father’s instructions to selflessly serve with Him. We steward well the favor of our Lord when we point people to Jesus through our words and deeds. During this Christmas season praise God for the gift of His son Jesus Christ. We testify of His saving faith in our lives. In Christ, we are highly favored!

“Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am available for You and I trust You to use me for Your glory.

Application: How can I better manage the opportunities I have been blessed with by God?

Related Readings: Genesis 6:8; Exodus 33:12; Psalm 90:17; Luke 2:14, 52; James 4:6

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Why me, Lord? 

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:28-30

From time to time I fear I am not up to the task of the Lord’s call on my life. I put pressure on myself to produce—though God’s Spirit reminds me to remain in His strength and not depend on my own energy. I feel the tug to tell the Lord I am tired and that it’s hard to trust Him during a time of transition. Thankfully, His sweet Spirit settles my soul with reassurance. He says, “Boyd, it’s not about your ability, but about Me and my favor. Be available, for I am able.”

Mary faced a similar circumstance in her crisis of faith. When the angel declared her to be highly favored by the Lord, she was troubled. Maybe she didn’t like being the center of attention. The thought of being a vessel of God’s blessing felt overwhelming. Perhaps she feared failure. She did not want to let down the Lord. She thought her modest background disqualified her, but in reality, it qualified her. The Lord highly favors the humble hearted for the glory of His son Jesus.

“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” (Exodus 33:13).

What is the Lord asking you to do that might move you out of your comfort zone? Pregnancy, job change, increased giving, missions, lead a Bible study or volunteer at your church? Be thankful, not afraid of the Lord’s favor on your life. Where He calls you, He will equip you. Where He leads you, He will love you through the process. Like grace, God’s favor is a gift to be managed well. Be grateful for any season of success by giving God the glory for His blessings.

False humility may cause us to say, “Why me, Lord?” But true humility bows in grateful praise to God and confesses, “Why not me, Lord?” Like an eager athlete sits on the bench next to the coach awaiting an opportunity to get into the game, so we anticipate our heavenly Father’s instructions to selflessly serve with Him. We steward well the favor of our Lord when we point people to Jesus through our words and deeds. During this Christmas season praise God for the gift of His son Jesus Christ. We testify of His saving faith in our lives. In Christ, we are highly favored!

“Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am available for You and I trust You to use me for Your glory.

Application: How can I better manage the opportunities I have been blessed with by God?

Related Readings: Genesis 6:8; Exodus 33:12; Psalm 90:17; Luke 2:14, 52; James 4:6

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Positioned for a Blessing to be a Blessing 

 

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.      Psalm 1:3

Blessing looks for those who are in a position of dependency on Almighty God. This is wise positioning for a Jesus-follower. We are blessed when the roots of our faith draw from the waters of God’s Word. When we take the time to plant our faith by the banks of God’s living water, we come alive. This is where the fruits of humility, honesty, and humor grow. The water of God nurtures us like liquid vitamins.

The cheap soda of self-dependence will only slow down our faith walk. It’s the water of God that hydrates our souls, not man’s generic substitutes. We may attempt to plant our lives next to a stream of self-sufficiency, only to find ourselves thirsting. It is the water of God’s Word that we are to drink day and night because it creates abundant life. The effects of God’s Word are not always immediately evident. It takes time for it to make its way into the root system of our beliefs.

But eventually, an eternal perspective begins to take shape as we become saturated in the Word of God. Plant your life close to an understanding and an application of Scripture. The Bible is your baseline for belief and behavior. When God sees someone who is immersed in the principles of His Word, He has found someone He can trust with His blessings. He extends His best to those who are planted next to the truth of His Word. He trusts those who trust Him. He bears fruit through those who depend on Him.

The fruit of a faithful life flourishes over time. Your influence compounds as you follow Christ. It may seem like you are in an insignificant season. This is not true. All seasons with your Savior are significant. You may live in a confusing season, but your confusion is Christ’s opportunity to bring clarity. This is a significant time for your faith to bear fruit. Faithfulness brings clarity during uncertain times.

Do not wish away this season; it is a time for you to go deep with Him. It is on the anvil of adversity that appreciation and gratitude are forged. You may thrive in a season of prosperity and it’s tempting to walk away from God and continue on your own. But in doing so, you leave the spirit of humility and dependency on God. He brought you this far. So, stay faithful as your finances flourish, and be more aggressive in your generous giving. Live for the Lord, not for yourself.

The blessing of God’s fruit comes when you avoid the advice of the wicked and cling to the counsel of Christ and His followers. The wicked try to define a better way. They want to lead you astray. But Jesus is the way. You cannot improve on Christ.

Faith in Him is not always flashy, but it bears the fruit that matters. It is the fruit of children who honor their parents; it is the fruit of fidelity between husbands and wives; it is the fruit of an unselfish friendship; it is the fruit of a caring culture at work, home, and church; it is the fruit of wise and generous giving; it is the fruit of fearing God and having a friend in Jesus. Therefore, by faith, stay in a position to be blessed. Wise positioning invites God’s blessing. Prosperity is looking for those who depend on the Lord.

The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust…”(Psalm 40:4).

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

Application: In what ways has the Lord blessed me that I can use to bless others?

Related Readings: Matthew 5:16; Luke 6:31; 2 Corinthians 9:8-11; Philippians 2:3-4

 

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Be Open to Adjusting Your Plans 

David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 2 Samuel 5:23

Many times, plans are made to be adjusted, as the Lord is in the business of leading and guiding us through the planning process of discovery. It is imperative that we remain nimble, flexible, and open to His leadership. What worked yesterday, may not work tomorrow. Prayerfully seeking the wisdom of God is the GPS (Global Positioning System) needed to define His process and locate His destination.

Do not be afraid to scrap the old plan and script a new one. God delights in leading you through the informal back door, and not necessarily the formal front door. What your friend experienced may be just the opposite of your experience. This is why it is wise to follow Christ’s critical path. The path of Jesus may seem perilous, but you can be guaranteed His presence is in the middle of your planned adjustments.

If you remain bound by your plan, you may miss the success of His. Man sets the plan, but the Lord extracts it from his heart—though it may not seem logical at the moment. Yes, it is somewhat embarrassing to change course for the umpteenth time, however it is better to make a midcourse correction and suffer a little shame, than to wait too long and be humiliated by our stubbornness. God’s best, often, is not a direct linear path. He is most creative in leading us on a trail of trust.

The plan of God requires ongoing prayer that asks Him to purify your motives and to clarify His plan to you. Ask Christ to confirm your coordinates to His destination. Whatever path you are blazing, He has been there before. It is typically harder to discern God’s best when you are encountering someone or something for the very first time. There are many unknowns and so many opportunities to pursue.

So over-apply due diligence by not rushing into first-time experiences with blind optimism. If you do, you might regret it. Trying to rush God’s will is frustrating and will cause you to fret. God’s will, reflected upon and clarified, is encouraging and will cause you to rest. It is okay to change today if He has amended what you thought He told you yesterday. Just make sure the Holy Spirit is guiding your steps.

Lastly, it is not unusual to discover His best over a period of time. If you make His minor adjustments daily, your course correction does not seem as radical. If you refuse to discern His plan daily, then one day you will wake up in need of a revolutionary reaction. So much so, perhaps, that you scare people away.

So, be wise to let God lead you down what may be the unconventional road of His will. Inform others along the way so they are not surprised by any sudden change. Humility is willing to allow the Lord to lead you in a different direction. Wisdom is being able to get it done while leading others to do the same. Expect your plans to need adjustment, and trust God with the outcome. Adjustable plans are the best laid plans. Hold your plan with an open hand, which rests in the hand of the Lord.

The Bible teaches, “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but GOD’S purpose prevails” (Proverbs 19:21, The Message).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me the way and give me the courage to adjust as I go, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Application: What plan do I need to revisit and change since my situation has changed?

Related Readings: Proverbs 16:9, 20:24; Isaiah 8:10; Jeremiah 29:11; 2 Corinthians 1:12-17

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Out Serve Your Spouse 

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.   John 13:14-15

Out-serve your spouse. This is not natural to our selfish self, but out-serve your spouse, and you will start to see positive differences in both of you. Service makes them feel cared for and makes you feel fulfilled; Service makes them feel loved and makes you feel rewarded; Service makes them feel respected and makes you feel significant. Of course, unappreciated service can wear you down over time, but trust God. Allow Him to supply the strength for your service. If the Lord is not empowering your service, you will eventually burn out and possibly become resentful. Bitter service does not last, but joyful service does.

Serve your spouse out of gratitude to God for giving them to you. Serve them in the routines of life and when they least expect it. Serve them where they want to be served, not just where you want to serve them. It may be unloading the dishwasher, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, maintaining the house, or taking care of the cars. Their service may include an organized family, dinner at home, being on time, keeping a calendar, or planning a trip. If you are unsure, ask them how they like to be served.

Furthermore, carry this attitude of out-serving into your occupation. Be one who serves in the work place, especially if you are a leader or manager. Quietly and clandestinely clean up the break room, even wipe out the gooey microwave with its burst of flavors matted on the inside. Service from a sincere heart values and respects others.

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Wisdom Hunters – Think the Best 

Do to others as you would have them do to you.   Luke 6:31

Think the best of others because this is what you expect them to think of you. Give them the same benefit of the doubt you desire. Believe that they have your best interests in mind. The temptation is to default to cynicism and be suspect of their motives, but leave this to God. We cannot judge a man or woman’s heart. One role of the Holy Spirit is to convict and lead others to a higher level of Christian maturity.

Our role is to trust the good will of those God has placed in our lives. It is especially important to think the best of those closest to us. Husbands, think the best of your wives. Wives, think the best of your husbands. If they love God, they want His very best for your life. Their questions are not meant to be critical, but to bring clarity, connection, and accountability. Pride resists this level of trust and maturity.

Pride does not want to think the best of others. Pride would rather gut it out on its own and not have to listen to the loving counsel of those who care. This is especially tempting to teenagers growing into young adults. They want to figure things out on their own, and not be told what to do. But wise is the young person who will think the best of the authorities in their life. Their mom and dad who love Jesus are full of good will.

They want God’s very best for their own flesh and blood. Your parents do not want to control you; they want to support you. There is a huge difference. Support means they trust you and they entrust you to God. They think the best of you and believe you will make the wisest decision. Your parents pray for you and care for you. Their intentions are pure and without wrong intent. Listen to them. Your parents are one of God’s means to His best.

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Wisdom Hunters – Think the Best of Others 

Do to others as you would have them do to you.    Luke 6:31

Think the best of others because this is what you expect them to think of you. Give them the same benefit of the doubt you desire. Believe that they have your best interests in mind. The temptation is to default to cynicism and be suspect of their motives, but leave this to God. We cannot judge a man or woman’s heart. One role of the Holy Spirit is to convict and lead others to a higher level of Christian maturity.

Our role is to trust the good will of those God has placed in our lives. It is especially important to think the best of those closest to us. Husbands, think the best of your wives. Wives, think the best of your husbands. If they love God, they want His very best for your life. Their questions are not meant to be critical, but to bring clarity, connection, and accountability. Pride resists this level of trust and maturity.

Pride does not want to think the best of others. Pride would rather gut it out on its own and not have to listen to the loving counsel of those who care. This is especially tempting to teenagers growing into young adults. They want to figure things out on their own, and not be told what to do. But wise is the young person who will think the best of the authorities in their life. Their mom and dad who love Jesus are full of good will. They want God’s very best for their own flesh and blood. Your parents do not want to control you; they want to support you. There is a huge difference. Support means they trust you and they entrust you to God. They think the best of you and believe you will make the wisest decision. Your parents pray for you and care for you. Their intentions are pure and without wrong intent. Listen to them. Your parents are one of God’s means to His best.

Lastly, think the best of others because God does. When God looks at His children, He sees Christ. He doesn’t look at them as sinners stuck on themselves. The Lord looks at His followers as full of potential for Him. They are still rough around the edges in sin, and the world does roughen them up at times, but beyond the fear and the sorrow are hearts that want to move forward with their heavenly Father. He reaches out to His children and offers opportunities. He thinks the best of us because we are His. You can’t get any thicker than the blood of Jesus Christ.

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Wisdom Hunters – God Cares For You 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about you. He cares about your job; He cares about your fears; He cares about your spouse; He cares about your children; He cares about your parents; He cares about your worries; He cares about your finances; He cares about your car and your house; He also cares about your character, and He cares about you caring about Him and caring for others. He is a caring God.

You cannot out-care God. His capacity to care is infinite and his competence to care is matchless. You can care because He cares. There is no care of yours that God does not care about. If it is important to you, then God cares about it. Yes, you will experience misdirected cares, but God’s desire is to come alongside you and realign your cares with what He cares about the most. He cares enough to bear your anxieties and to replace them with His peace and assurance.

When you give God your worries, you in turn, receive His calming presence. God’s system of care is countercultural. God transforms your cares into what He cares about; so cast your cares on Christ. Equally spiritual people may cast their cares on God in polar opposite ways. One may find release in a quiet written prayer, while another may feel cared for by God through raucous worship. Let another’s processing of anxiety be a guide, not a guilty comparison.

You know God cares immensely. So how do you cast your cares on Him? By faith, you let Him care. He cares and can be trusted. Therefore, allow Him to do what He does best. You allow Him to care for you. This takes humility on your part. You are acknowledging a desperate need for God. Your declaration of dependence is two-fold. You admit you are anxious, and can’t handle your worry alone.

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Wisdom Hunters – Remember to Say Thank You 

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16.

A culture of entitlement is slow to say thank you, but the grateful are honored to express appreciation. Ungrateful people expect, even demand, good things with no gratitude in return. But grateful men and women are humbled and give God the glory for His blessings. The most gratefulness comes from those who least expect the Lord’s lavish love. It is the mercy of God that heals our heart and causes us to exclaim, “Praise the Lord!”

Is it your regular routine to sincerely thank God for His healing power? Do you bow at the feet of Jesus when the body of a friend or family member was cured by God’s work through the miracle of modern medicine? Have you celebrated Christ’s blessing of keeping your body whole from a debilitating disease? Humility is a thank you waiting to happen.

Listen to David’s prayer for healing, “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony” (Psalm 6:2). You can pray boldly for your physical healing. Pray depending on God, and with great faith ask the Great Physician to bring His healing power on your body. Your Creator understands how to bring wholeness to His creation. It is not a question of if He can, but if He will.

However, whether He heals in this life or in the life to come, give Him thanks. “Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17–18). Furthermore, gratitude to God expresses gratitude to people. Make it a goal to write a thank you note before you cash the check. Look a friend in the eye and express your thankfulness for his or her friendship. Show your gratitude to your server with a generous gratuity. Appreciate others and you invite appreciation into your life and work.

Mostly, thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His death on the cross for your sin and salvation. Jesus came from living with sinners to die for sinners. “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (1 Corinthians 11:23–24).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me friends and family who love me well, in Jesus name, amen.

Application: Do I thank God often for His incredible gift of grace and forgiveness? Do I thank Him during the bad times as well as the good times? Am I quick to appreciate others?

Related Readings: Proverbs 3:8; Proverbs 17:22; Romans 14:6; 1 Corinthians 15:57

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Grateful to God 

 

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Gratitude to God is a guarantee for an attitude of humility and happiness. It is hard to be grateful and not be full of joy and contentment. When we reflect on His salvation and grace in Jesus Christ, we are left awestruck that almighty God would freely give us the gift of His only Son. Indeed, grateful Christians never get over the forgiveness and freedom they have in Christ Jesus. Gratitude gives us the right attitude!

How can we renew our thinking each day to be appreciative when so many negative thoughts assault our minds? What is a wise process to keep us praising God for His provision? One way is to recount His blessings by writing them in a journal. Take the time to pen what the Lord has done for you, and your sorrow will turn into a smile of satisfaction. Your glow comes back when you remember Christ’s incredible love and acceptance. When was the last time you spent your entire prayer time just praising and thanking God?

“Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness” (Psalm 150:2).

Perhaps you praise Him in the morning for life and love. Praise Him midmorning for fulfilling work. Praise Him at the noon hour for health and happiness. Praise Him midday for forgiveness and faith. Praise Him at dinner for family and friends. Praise Him before bed for His Word and the wonder of His grace. Praise God, and gratitude will follow.

Your gratitude goes a long way in leading others to be grateful. A grateful life is like a sea of thanksgiving that buoys all boats with hope. Appreciation attracts great people. Your thanksgiving to God for His favor and blessings and for the incredible people in your life sets you up for success. Gratitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy for peace, joy, and love.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

Prayer: Dear God, I am so grateful for my salvation in Jesus and for Your generous blessings, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Application: Do I regularly express gratitude to God? Whom can I honor by showing sincere appreciation and thanksgiving?

Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 16:9; Daniel 4:34; 1 Corinthians 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:4

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Trust God to Pay Back in His Timing 

For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31

Someone may be in debt to you. They may owe you money, a reputation, an apology, a job, or a childhood. But God is asking you to let go and let Him. Let Him handle this. He has a payment plan for those who are in debt to his children. It may mean He wipes their slate clean with minimal repercussions. It may mean their stiff neck forces God to bring them to the end of themselves through trials and tribulations. Or, it may mean that what awaits them is an eternity of reaping in hell what has been sown on earth. But God’s position is one of judge and jury. You do not have to carry this burden or responsibility. Your role is to forgive and to trust God with the proper judgment and consequence.

Life gets complicated and draining when we take on the responsibility of making sure a person gets what he deserves. This is arrogant and unwise on our part. How can we know what others deserve for their injustices, neglect, and self-absorption? Our role is not to play God, but to serve God. Playing God is a never-ending disappointment. We were not made for that role. Only the Almighty can fill these shoes. And He does have it under control. There is no indiscretion or blatant injustice that is off His radar screen of sensitivity. He picks up on every “little” sin.

So, rest in the assurance of knowing God will pay back in His good timing and in His good way. Give this person or issue over to God. Do not bear the responsibility of executing payback time. Your role is to forgive and let go. God’s role is to establish a payment plan of justice and judgment. Yes, your parents may have blown it through their own selfish tirades. Their immature choices may have built up over time and led to divorce. Because of their indiscretions and unwise decisions, you grew up in a less than favorable home environment. But look at their faces. The hurt and the consequences are etched in their countenances. The results of their wrongs have caught up with them. They need your grace and forgiveness. Be a good son or daughter, and by this you may facilitate healing for your parents’ soul. Sin has its own harvest of heartache, not to mention breaking the heart of the heavenly Father. Trust God with your parents. Let Him worry about what they deserve.

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