To Know Wisdom

Looking back over my life I’m realizing that most all of my troubles have come from not being wise. I made my biggest mistakes going headlong against the counsel of those who loved me most. No one to blame but me.

Wisdom is knowing the RayOnTreebest thing to do at each moment in time,  and doing it with the right motive and attitude. Wisdom is rooted in and springs from the fear of God (Ps 111:10); He says it is the most important thing. (Pr 4:7)

How do we get wisdom?  Simple: seek it, the way men seek money or pleasure … every day, with our whole heart. (Pr 2:4-5) Asking, praying without ceasing throughout each day, “Is this wisdom?” (Ja 1:5) And as we ask, we must be obeying wisdom: making the wisest choice we can every time we make a choice. (Pr 9:6)

Life’s tough, but it’s tougher when we’re stupid. Let’s ponder our path and walk worthy of God. The goal is not to have an easy life, but to be the kind of person to whom God will enjoy saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Mt 25:23)

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God Is Good

There are times when all the cruelty and suffering in this world moves us to doubt the benevolence of God, His intrinsic goodness. When God allows pain in our lives it’s easy to conclude He doesn’t love us, and even to be angry and resentful toward Him.

Cherry Blossom Tree, Fuji volcano

But where does doubting God’s goodness lead us? Does having no hope in our suffering make it any better? If God really can’t be trusted, if He isn’t ultimately benevolent and kind, how are we going to escape Him? What else is left, if God isn’t faithful?

Giving up on the goodness of God is to give up everything … there’s nothing left worth having.

God invites us, “O taste and see that YHWH is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” (Ps 34:8)  Rather than asking God to explain Himself we can ask Him to help us trust that He knows what He’s doing, and that it’s all for a good reason.

In the end we can all be sure of one thing: no one in Heaven will be disappointed or angry with God. One day all His children will understand fully … and will rejoice in Him. (1Co 13:12)

The Psalmist says, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Ps 27:13) Evidence of the unfathomable goodness of God is all around us. We think seeing will help us believe, but the truth is that we need to believe so that we can see. God isn’t asking us to deny the reality of suffering, or to refuse to fully engage in life, but calling us to an expectation and hope that He will bring beauty from ash and life from death. (Ro 8:28, 11:36)

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Abounding With Thanksgiving

All of life is a response to God; we are constantly reacting to Him, every thought and every act resonates with how we feel about Him. Are we responding to Him more out of unmet expectation and disappointment, or in gratitude and thanksgiving? Our core orientation here tends to define who and what we are, as much as anything can.

Whether we are conscious of it or not, deep down all of us know there is a God and that He is absolutely sovereignnarrow_path1 (Ro 1:20), governing all of life’s twists and turns. (Ro 11:36) We can be angry with Him for allowing sinand death or for not catering to us the way we’d like … or we can stand in awe of Him, amazed at the breathtaking beauty of His Creation, and that He’s willing to die for us, taking our place on an old rugged cross, bearing our sin and shame. Every one of us is constantly responding to an ultimate primal Goodness.

God calls us to respond to Himself with thanksgiving, giving thanks as a constant pattern of life, not in shallow half-hearted gratitude but in passion and sincerity: “rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith … abounding therein with thanksgiving.” (Col 2:7) Cultivating a thankful spirit, learning to trust that God is good, and to experience His goodness and glory even in the midst of darkness and trial, is the journey of a lifetime … one well worth the taking.

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One Thing

Life can be overwhelmingly complex at times, and incredibly demanding. Keeping focus on what’s important can be quite a challenge.

Boynton Canyon, Scott McAllister

I’m finding it helpful to remember that only one thing really matters: pleasing God. Like Paul, we should be saying, “this one thing I do.” (Php 3:13-14) Maybe this can help us stay focused: if God is pleased, what else matters? If God is not pleased, what else matters … really?

But knowing what’s pleasing to God isn’t so easy sometimes; our ways aren’t His ways and He doesn’t see things the way we do. He calls us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. (Mic 6:8) He must transform our hearts to be like His, and this is a lifelong process. (1Th 4:1) But I think 99% of it’s desire, simply wanting to please Him. As this becomes our focus, He will show us the way.

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Every Perfect Gift

The very thought of someone who loves us taking the time to select a gift for us brightens the heart and lightens the soul. When a wise and wealthy friend delights us with a special gift … we anticipate a treasure.

How then do we respond to gifts from God? The wealthiest Friend imaginable … the most loyal, faithful, loving Being in all existence … what kinds of gifts does He give, and how do we respond?

James reminds us that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” (Ja 1:17) Every gift from God is perfect and good; He gives no other kind. He knows us perfectly, loves us deeply, and He is omnipotent. He gives us exactly what we need, at exactly the right time, for our ultimate good and for His eternal glory. (Ro 8:28)

In receiving a gift from any cherished friend it is only polite to gratefully acknowledge it, taking time to enjoy it in their presence, connecting with them and immediately expressing delight and gratitude for their kind thoughtfulness.

Yet every moment of our lives is a precious gift from God, every step a gift from Him THE WAY, every word of Scripture from THE TRUTH, and every breath a treasure from THE LIFE. (Jn 14:6)

We are made to walk with God, and He is constantly offering Himself to us. What moment should forever pass from us without our being present in it, connecting with it, feeling it, tasting it … enjoying Him, relishing Him … and thanking Him for it, abiding in it, and in Him? (1Jn 2:28)

Let us ask God for the gift of receiving every moment as a precious gift from God … the perfect gift, at the perfect time, from the perfect Giver. Let us learn to linger in each one … tasting, relishing, giving thanks, connecting with each other and with Him … rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

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Established With Grace

I have been meditating on what it means to be “established with grace.

The particular text of interest is, Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not lighthousesafewith meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.” (Heb 13:9) There are many other great verses which might also be helpful here.

What is grace? What does it mean to be established with something? How can we live this out in God? What does it look like, and how do we get there?

My thought: being established with grace is more than knowing God’s love and forgiveness, more than resting in Christ’s unconditional acceptance; it is having supernatural confidence that God is transforming me into the image of Christ, creating His likeness in me, enabling me to love and obey Him. (2Co 9:8) Through the power of the Holy Spirit I access grace by faith … that is, I rest in Christ’s utter sufficiency and faithfulness, delighting in Him, being filled with all joy and peace in believing, abounding in hope. (Ro 15:13)

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Look for Him

Being shadows of things to come (Col 2:16-17), the feasts of the Lord are fascinating prophetic windows. In Christ’s first advent He fulfilled the four spring feasts to the day, in sequence. The fall feasts are evidently reserved for His second coming, which I expect He will also fulfill in sequence, to the day.

JesusRaysToday I am observing the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Teruah, the day of shouting and blowing of trumpets, the first unfulfilled feast in the biblical calendar. Perhaps Paul was thinking of this feast when wrote, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” (1Th 4:16) Isn’t the symbolism striking?

“Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time.” (He 9:28) After thinking carefully about Babylon the Great, I’m a naysayer in today’s end times chatter, but I wonder how one can be anticipating Christ’s return and not be faithfully observing the feast which foreshadows it. Though we certainly know not the hour, and in our confusion about the calendar the day is also a question, shouldn’t we be looking for Him to appear on a day like today, in the appointed time?

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Feeding in the Majesty

At times I find within an unholy discontent, a restlessness, a craving … yet I have nothing in particular in mind. This unholy thirst must be “the flesh,” that body of lies screaming ever so quietly, “God does not satisfy.” My soul has gone off on the prowl again, but not after God.

Yet my Messiah “shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.” (Mi 5:4) Soul, why are you ever out seeking when Father bids you home to feast? Turn again and drink Him in! OMajesty2 taste and see anew that God is good. (Ps 34:8) Draw nourishment in the very majesty of God, drink His splendor and glory into your inmost being, taste the delicious awesomeness of His Person, delight in Him as He is in all of His ways … a fathomless stream of delights … you are made for this, and nothing else. Messiah Himself does this not on occasion, but as a manner of life; never merely a spectator of God, but a constant partaker.

In soul food … nothing compares to God Himself. He says, “I am the bread of life; (Jn 6:35) If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” (Jn 7:37) “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Re 22:17)

Delight thyself in God, in meditating on Him and Who He is. Soul, never hunger or thirst again, ever. There is no want of invitation or supply. Eat! Drink! Savor unto joy unspeakable and full of glory.

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