VIDEO Wisdom for Wise Decisions

Daniel…was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to…solve difficult problems. Daniel 5:12, NIV

What’s the most dangerous occupation in America? It might be logging. The risk of death to loggers is thirty times higher than the average job nationwide. The leading cause of death is mishandled contact with logging machines, and many times it is because of bad decision-making. There’s a science to planning how and where a tree falls when cut. One error in judgment, and tragedy can strike. 

Few of us are loggers, but we all make decisions.

Daniel was a man who made many decisions and who had the ability to solve difficult problems. God gave Him remarkable wisdom, and Daniel always gave God the credit and glory for it. The honor of the Lord was Daniel’s first priority, and he knew how to cut through issues. He never let trees fall on those around him.

Ask God for the attitude of Daniel. The Lord can give you wisdom for wise decisions. He can impart a keen mind and knowledge and understanding whenever you find yourself out on a limb.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, making God’s wisdom a reality in their life.
James L. Snyder


The Interrupted Party – Daniel 5:1-12

Loving God

We know and rely on the love God has for us. 1 John 4:16

The professor ended his online class in one of two ways each time. He’d say, “See you next time” or “Have a good weekend.” Some students would respond with “Thank you. You too!” But one day a student responded, “I love you.” Surprised, he replied, “I love you too!” That evening the classmates agreed to create an “I love you chain” for the next class time in appreciation for their professor who had to teach to a screen on his computer, not in-person teaching as he preferred. A few days later when he finished teaching, the professor said, “See you next time,” and one by one the students replied, “I love you.” They continued this practice for months. The teacher said this created a strong bond with his students, and he now feels they’re “family.”

In 1 John 4:10–21, we, as part of God’s family, find several reasons to say “I love you” to Him: He sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sin (v. 10). He gave us His Spirit to live in us (vv. 13, 15). His love is always reliable (v. 16), and we never need to fear judgment (v. 17). He enables us to love Him and others “because he first loved us” (v. 19).

The next time you gather with God’s people, take time to share your reasons for loving Him. Making an “I love you” chain for God will bring Him praise and bring you closer together.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

Why do you love God? How can you show others His love?

I’m grateful to know Your love and to be a part of Your family, Father. Show me ways to creatively express that love.

Stand Firm in Your Convictions

Like the Bible’s heroes of faith, we must stand firm on our spiritual convictions

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

A person of conviction feels certain that his beliefs are true. However, it’s often the case that the things people believe are based on the current conditions or situations of their life. Then, when circumstances change, their convictions do as well. In other words, it’s not uncommon to find someone go back and forth on issues that require a firm resolve. 

Contrast this wishy-washy approach with the mindset of the devoted followers of God described in Scripture. Despite many years of unfair treatment, Joseph didn’t waver in his commitment to the Lord (Gen. 39:1-9). Daniel was a righteous man who earned the trust of foreign kings in an idolatrous land by standing firm in his beliefs (Dan. 6:8-28). His friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego also refused to compromise their beliefs despite the threat of death. As a result, their resolve caused the king to recognize the Lord as the one true God (Dan. 3:13-30). 

The godly convictions of these biblical heroes withstood the changing winds of opinion and the persuasive arguments of opponents. Unshakeable trust in God and His Word is what grounded their beliefs. Today more than ever, we need men and women who stand firm against philosophies and ideas that threaten the church. Will you commit to be bold for the Lord?

Threefold Deliverance

“For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” (Psalm 116:8)

This is the beautiful testimony of the psalmist when the Lord answered his prayer: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O, I beseech thee, deliver my soul” (vv. 3-4). The Lord does, indeed, deliver our souls when we call upon Him for salvation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Divine deliverance, however, is more than deliverance from death and hell. “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD…shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11). “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4). God delivers us from the penalty of our sins, from death and hell, right now, and then from all our sorrows and tears in the age to come, delivering us even from all the effects of sin forever.

But He also delivers us right now from the power of sin in our lives, which would otherwise come again to cause our downfall even after we have been saved. Many a fearful Christian, afraid that he is unable to hang on to the Lord, needs to know that it is the Lord who hangs on to him! “For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (Psalm 56:13). Our Savior, who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, promises this. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall [anyone] pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). HMM

Victory March

Lord, the king finds joy in Your strength. How greatly he rejoices in Your victory! You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips. Selah For the king relies on the Lord; through the faithful love of the Most High he is not shaken. Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your might (Psalm 21 vv. 1-2, 7, 13).

After pouring out my soul in lament and prayer, I need to wait patiently for the Lord to answer. As he answered David, he also will answer me. In Psalm 21, a glorious royal hymn, David celebrated the Lord’s answer to his petition, The Lord brought victory rather than defeat, gave life instead of death, and blessed David by granting him his heart’s desire.

Even under pressure David modeled stability and security. I too need to grasp that my safety, steadiness, and confidence are based on God’s loyal love (see Rom. 8:35-39). David’s faith, centered squarely on the rock-solid, permanent, eternal love of the Lord, stabilized and strengthened him.

David didn’t win the battle with his own strength, expertise, or military genius. But that didn’t diminish his exhilaration. To celebrate God’s victory, David wrote glorious music. Like David, I too will sing praise when I lift up my life to the Lord, and he will bring music back into my life.

Personal Prayer

Lord, may I learn to throw a party to celebrate your glory, majesty, and unfailing love.

The Language of Music

March

Music for soldiers, usually involving strongly accented beats in groups of four.

Marches are usually dignified, ceremonial, and military. A good example is Arthur Sullivans stirring hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

A Test of Honesty

The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart.—Psalm 15:2

One of the steps toward producing a perfect coordination between our head and our heart involves facing this question: when I pray or seek the Lord, is my heart fully and enthusiastically behind what I am asking for with my lips? If not, we will fail to surmount the heights of God “with all four feet.”

One of the things that used to puzzle me greatly in the early days of my pastoral ministry was to sit down with people who were not getting what they longed for spiritually and, after hours of counseling, sometimes to discover that although they were asking God for something with their lips, they were not really desiring it deep down in their hearts.

I am thinking specifically of a woman I knew who prayed earnestly (and loudly) in church for the conversion of her non-Christian husband. One day, however, in a moment of great openness and honesty (such as often occurs in counseling) she admitted that deep down in her heart she didn’t really want her husband to be converted because she was afraid that if he was, the attention and sympathy she was getting from people in the church would no longer be there. Once she realized what was going on inside her, however, she was able to deal with it and became one of the most spiritually released women I have ever known. Her whole life (not just her prayer life) became one of deep, quiet conviction, and eventually—many years later—she had the joy of seeing her husband surrender to Christ.

Prayer

My Father, one thing is clear—such are the subterfuges of the human heart that without Your light and guidance, I can be self-deceived. Help me to apply the test of honesty and openness to my own spiritual life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Jr 17:1-10; 23:24; 1Co 3:20

How does Jeremiah describe the heart?

How does the Lord view the thoughts of the worldly wise?

Sorrows into Blessings

2 Corinthians 4:17

Do you ask how God can make sorrows into blessings? I will tell you. He can

use them to soften the heart. A tender heart is a great treasure. What hard,

unfeeling creatures men and women would become if they had one continual run of prosperity! In health and comfort and plenty, men grow careless about everyone’s interests but their own.

Sanctified sorrow is favorable to humility. God hates pride; He beholds the proud man afar off. Trouble brings the lofty spirit to a true knowledge of itself and helps to lay it in the dust.

Sorrow makes men sympathetic to the sorrows of others. If I want sympathy I go to those who have suffered themselves.

Sorrow loosens our hold on the things of this life. The tendency of the human heart is to settle down and find its happiness in the things of earth. Sorrow weakens the cords that bind us to this world and draws the spirit to seek its heaven in the next. Sorrow opens the heart for the reception of all the blessed salvation of God. In prosperity, men can do without God—at least, many do not want Him. When affliction and bereavements and death come to them, they cry after Him.

Sorrow will work out far more precious things for us in the world to come. Of these momentary afflictions, Paul confidently says: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

What must you do to turn your trials and sorrows to good account?

Ask God to forgive all the murmuring thoughts and words of the past. Give yourself up fully to obey His every command in the future—live a life of trust. Take hold of your Father’s hand, and believe that He has hold of yours.

Tell Him that in the dark as well as in the light, in joy as in sorrow, you will trust Him to guide and lead you safely home. Sorrow may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5).

William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion

VIDEO Personal Holiness

And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine. Leviticus 20:26

Both the Old and New Testaments command us to be holy. Leviticus 11:44 says, “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.” And 1 Peter 1:15 says, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”

God demands that we work on our personal holiness. The lust, greed, and filth of the world has a way of seeping into our lives unless we work on our holiness as God Himself works within us. We have to consecrate our screens to the Lord so we don’t watch anything that will lead us into temptation. We need to consecrate our appetites to the Lord so we don’t indulge in a self-destructive way. We need to rid our lives of bitterness, and to love with the heart of Christ.

Even as the world seeks to distract us from God and His plan for us, we are called to be holy as He is holy. That is the life that is blessed.

A holy man will endeavor to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment. J. C. Ryle


Overview: Leviticus

The Potter’s Wheel

The pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:4

In 1952, in an effort to prevent clumsy or careless people from breaking items in a shop, a Miami Beach storeowner posted a sign that read: “You break it, you buy it.” The catchy phrase served as a warning to shoppers. This type of sign can now be seen in many boutiques.

Ironically, a different sign might be placed in a real potter’s shop. It would say: “If you break it, we’ll make it into something better.” And that’s exactly what’s revealed in Jeremiah 18.

Jeremiah visits a potter’s house and sees the potter shaping the “marred” clay with his hands, carefully handling the material and forming “it into another pot” (v. 4). The prophet reminds us that God is indeed a skillful potter, and we are the clay. He is sovereign and can use what He creates to both destroy evil and create beauty in us.

God can shape us even when we’re marred or broken. He, the masterful potter, can and is willing to create new and precious pottery from our shattered pieces. God doesn’t look at our broken lives, mistakes, and past sins as unusable material. Instead, He picks up our pieces and reshapes them as He sees best.

Even in our brokenness, we have immense value to our Master Potter. In His hands, the broken pieces of our lives can be reshaped into beautiful vessels that can be used by Him (v. 4).

By:  Katara Patton

Reflect & Pray

What comfort can you find in knowing God is a potter who can form something new from your broken pieces? How can you relax as the Potter reshapes you into a beautiful vessel?

God, You’re the Potter and I’m the clay. Mold me as You wish. Remind me that I’m in Your skillful and caring hands.

A Lesson in Pruning

It can be painful when God cuts fleshly habits and attitudes from our life, but that allows growth in Christlikeness

John 15:1-5

Years ago I lived in Fruitland, North Carolina. It was apple country, and several of my parishioners were growers. When I stopped by to visit one of them, I found him mercilessly cutting branches from one of the trees. He told me that to produce an abundant crop of the best fruit, he had to prune the branches. It might look as if the tree was going to die, but new growth would spring from the wounds. 

Our conversation helped me understand why the Lord sometimes acts as a pruning knife in our lives. To get a plentiful crop of spiritual fruit, He must remove anything that hinders us from becoming the person He designed us to be. The process is often painful as God cuts away fleshly habits and worldly attitudes, but His pruning results in us becoming a more accurate reflection of Jesus Christ.

Being loved by God doesn’t mean being coddled. Our comfort is not His primary interest. Just as a grower prunes an apple tree to get a bountiful harvest, so God must sometimes cause us pain in order to bring forth greater spiritual growth, Christlike character, and abundance.