WANDERING FROM WISDOM
Read: 1 Kings 3:4-14
To give your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people,
that I may discern between good and evil. - 1 Kings 3:9
If God offered you anything you wanted, what would you ask
When Solomon was given that choice, he asked for the wisdom
to discern good from evil so that he might lead God's people well
(I Kings 3:9). "Because you have asked this thing;" God told
Solomon, "I have done according to your words." He even promised
to give him "both riches and honor" (vv.l1-13). To this day,
Solomon is remembered for the great wisdom God gave him.
Solomon began his ride with devotion to wisdom and a deep
ambition to build a magnificent temple to honor God. But
something happened along the way. His passion for living by God's
wisdom was displaced by the allures of the wealth and position
God had given him. His marriage to foreign women who worshipped
pagan gods eventually led him - and ultimately the nation - into
idolatry. The lesson is clear. Keeping our love for Christ and
His wisdom preeminent is a primary objective for those of us who
want to live to satisfy God throughout the course of our life. A
commitment to following the riches of God's wisdom will enable us
to avoid the drift that destroyed Solomon. Keep your heart in
tune with God's wisdom and obey His voice. That's the way to
finish well. - Joe Stowell
Prone to wander, Lord.? feel it, Prone to leave the God love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts
above. - Robinson
MONITOR YOUR HEART DAILY, TO AVOID WANDERING FROM GOD'S WISDOM.
JESUS SETS US FREE
Read: Galatians 5:1-6
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. -
Perhaps no one since the apostle Paul has written more
graphically about the experience of spiritual bondage than the
great theologian Augustine (AD 354-430). Although blessed with
extraordinary intelligence, in his younger years he had wallowed
in deep depravity.
Looking back, Augustine gave this account of his struggle:
"I was bound by the iron chain of my own will. I was rather an
unwilling sufferer than a willing actor. And yet it was through
me that habit had become an armed enemy against me, because I had
willingly come to be what I unwillingly found myself to be."
Many of us have gone through a similar struggle. We wanted
deliverance from sin yet found ourselves unable to shake off the
chains of habit. Them as we turned in faith to Jesus; we were
liberated and could repeat the words of Charles Wesley's hymn:
"Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature's
night. Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,, I woke, the dungeon
flamed with light! My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose,
went forth, and followed Thee."
Jesus alone can break the shackles of sin in your life.
Receive Him as your Savior, and "the truth shall make you free"
(John 8:32).- Grounds
Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I
come; Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light, Jesus, I come to
Thee. - Steeper
TRUE FREEDOM IS FOUND IN SERVING CHRIST.
LOOKING OUT FOR OTHERS
Read: Philippians 2:3-8
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also
for the interests of others. - Philippians 2:4
In giving of ourselves, we manifest the essence of Jesus'
character, for it has always been His nature to think more about
others than He thinks of Himself. Why else would He humble
Himself and become "obedient to the point of death, even the
death of the cross" (Phil.2:8).
Our natural tendency is to consider our own interests first
- to look at everything from the perspective of our own needs and
wants. But with Jesus' help we can unlearn that habit. We can
begin to think of the best interests of others - their wants,
their concerns, their needs.
And so we must ask ourselves: Do we consider others'
interests more important than our own? Do we get as excited about
what God is doing in and through them as we do about what He is
doing in and through us? Do we long to see others grow, in grace
and gain recognition, though it may have been our efforts that
made them successful? Do we find satisfaction in seeing our
spiritual children surpass us in the work they are called to do?
If so, such is the measurement of greatness.
We are most like our Lord when our thoughts for ourselves
are lost in our thoughts for others. There is no greater love
than that (John 15:13). - David Roper
Lord, grant me a heart of compassion, So burdened for others'
needs, That I will show them Your kindness, In attitudes, words,
and deeds. - Fitzhugh
THE MORE YOU LOVE THE LORD THE MORE YOU WILL LOVE OTHERS.
Read: 1 Chron.16:23-27
Sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! -
1 Chronicles 16:9
Our home in Boise is next to a park where I walk most
mornings. An elderly woman walks there at the same time. She
walks clockwise and I walk counter-clockwise, which means that we
meet twice each lap.
She has the most lovely, crinkly eyes and wrinkled face that
wrinkles even more when she smiles. When she smiles, her whole
She has Alzheimer's.
The first time we meet she asks, "Have I sung my song?" I
say, "No, ma'am." And she sings a little song about the sun:
"Good morning, Mr.Sunshine.. ." Then she smiles, raises
her hands in a kind of blessing, and moves on.
So we go our separate ways - 180 degrees around the circle -
until we meet again. She asks, "Have I sung my song?" I say,
"Sing it again!" And she does. I can't get her delightful song
out of my mind.
She has become a parable of the kind of person I want to be
- making my way through the world, singing and making melody in
my heart, singing of the Sun of Righteousness who has risen with
healing in His wings (Mal.4:2), leaving behind a lingering memory
of His love.
May His song be on your heart and lips this day. And may
many hear and put their trust in the Lord. - David Roper
There's within my heart a melody, Jesus whispers sweet and low,
"Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still," in all of life's ebb
and flow. - Bridgers
A SONG IN YOUR HEART PUTS A SMILE ON YOUR FACE.
Read: Luke 2:1-14
There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who
is Christ the Lord. - Luke 2:11
Today when we can make international cell-phone calls,send
worldwide e-mail, and download images from space on our
computers, it's difficult to imagine the impact of one small
satellite the size of a basketball. But on October 4, 1957, the
Soviet Union's launching of Sputnik I, the world's first
artificial satellite, ushered in the modern Space Age and changed
the course of history. Nations rushed to catch up, technological
development accelerated, and fear alternated with hope about the
meaning of it all for humanity.
But events that alter the present and the future sometimes
occur in obscurity. That was true of the birth of Jesus - just
one baby, born to an ordinary couple in a small town. But it
changed the course of history. The words of an angel spoken to
shepherds began to spread: "There is born to you this day in the
city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
Nineteen centuries later, Phillips Brooks wrote of
Bethlehem, "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee
When we open our lives to Christ the Lord and acknowledge
Him as our Savior, the course of our future history is changed
for time and eternity. These "good tidings of great joy" (v.10)
are for everyone, everywhere. - David McCasland
The turning point in history Occurred one night in Bethlehem; And
shepherds spread the glorious news The angel had announced to
them. - Hess
THE HINGE OF HISTORY IS FOUND ON THE DOOR OF A BETHLEHEM STABLE.
Read: Philippians 4:10-19
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. -
Casey Seymour, a successful soccer player and coach, notes
that everyone on his team hates the 10-by 100 drill that ends
practice. Before the men can leave the field, they must run 100
yards 10 times at full speed with minimal rest. If they don't
beat a prescribed time, they have m do it again. The players hate
it - until the day of the game. Then they find that they can play
at full capacity for the entire match. Their effort has been
rewarded with a championship!
The apostle Paul used metaphors of training and competition
in his letters. While he was a missionary to the Gentiles, he
submitted to the instructions and drills of God amid great
suffering and hardship. Twice in Philippians 4, he said "I have
learned" (vv.11-12). For him, and for each of us, following Jesus
is a lifelong learning process. We are not spiritually mature the
day we are saved, anymore than a schoolboy athlete is ready for
professional soccer. We grow in faith as we allow God through His
Word and the Holy Spirit to empower us to serve Him.
Through hardship, Paul learned to serve God well - and so
can we. It's not pleasant, but it is rewarding! The more
teachable we are, the more mature we will become. As members of
Christ's team, let's be coachable. - Dave Egner
Oh, it's hard to learn the lesson, As we pass beneath the rod,
That the sunshine and the shadow Serve alike the will of Gad. -
GOD'S WORK IN US ISN'T OVER WHEN WE RECEIVE CHRIST - IT HAS JUST
WHY DO WE GIVE?
Read: Matthew 6:1-4
When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing. - Matthew 6:3
"What ever happened to the notion of giving for the sake of
giving?" asked Tim Harford, columnist for Financial Times. "The
closer you look at charitable giving, the less charitable it
appears to be." A study of door-to-door fund-raising campaigns,
for instance, found that organizations earned far more by selling
lottery tickets than by asking for donations.
"This hardly suggests a world populated by altruists seeking
to do the maximum good with their charitable cash," says Harford.
At least for some people, there's a something-for-me!
something-for-you approach to giving.
Jesus also dealt with the issue of motives in giving. When
He said not to let your left hand know what your right hand is
doing, He was teaching that our motives for giving to God and to
others must be pure. Our giving should be in response to God's
love. To encourage pure motives, Jesus instructs people to give
and to do good deeds in secret with no thought of themselves.
God, who sees everything, will reward them (Matt. 6:3-4).
Our generosity should be God-centered -- not to make us look
good but to please the Lord. With your next good deed, ask
yourself: If I knew that no one would ever find out that I did
this, would I still do it? - Marvin Williams
Grant us, then, the grace for giving With a spirit large and
free, That our life and all our living We may consecrate to Thee
GOD SEES THE GIVER AS WELL AS THE GIFT; THE HEART AS WELL AS THE