“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!” Proverbs 4:7 Solomon makes a good point. Knowledge is pretty easy to come by, especially in our day and age. Don’t know something? Google it. Confused on a subject? Look it up on Bing. Questions? Ask Yahoo. The...
Patience is one of those things that a lot of people lack, myself included. When someone takes too long to say something, or when someone in front of me is walking too slowly, it makes me want to crash through a window and run screaming into the ocean. So if you have a problem with patience...
Little Freddy was playing ultimate hop-scotch when he saw Old Man Rutherford had placed a fresh baked pie on his windowsill to cool. Little Freddy knew he had no reason to go near the pie, but he was tempted to take the tantalizing treat, so he gave in and snuck the pie off the windowsill...
Have you ever felt like your age gets in the way of experiencing something big, or doing something important? Have you ever been treated a certain way, or not trusted to handle responsibility because you’re too young? You might even feel like because of your age, you can’t really do...
Are you exhausted from typing emails? Hands worn out from vigorously communicating with friends through text? Tired of having to strain your eyes when you’re texting because you can’t see the tiny keyboard? Then don’t! Introducing the ITelepathy 6! Where you can...
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14 When I think of peace, I think of complete silence, and everything around me functioning properly, in perfect order. What about you? When you think of peace, do you think of...
As 2018 approaches, the whole world celebrates the coming of a new year, and with that, comes New Year’s resolutions. The whole point of making resolutions is to become a better person in some way, which might mean losing a bad habit, or making better habits, or anything along those lines...
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 The third week of Advent is here! We’ve...
Jesus chose to look at the people who were responsible for His death and ask God to forgive them. Our Devotions for Lesson 4 help us develop a similar attitude toward the people in our life who are mean to us.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” Luke 2:10 So imagine you’re handed a bowl of ice-cream on a hot day. You’d be pretty happy, right? But before you can dig in, you trip over a...
“Getting wisdom is
the wisest thing you can do!”
Solomon makes a good point.
Knowledge is pretty easy to come by, especially in our day and age. Don’t know something? Google it. Confused on a subject? Look it up on Bing. Questions? Ask Yahoo. The whole point of search engines is to inform you about stuff you don’t know, making you more knowledgeable.
Sure, search engines, internet, and Siri can make you smarter, but there’s something a man-made program cannot make you, and that’s wise. But what is the difference between knowledge and wisdom anyway? Is there one? I’m glad you asked, because here’s an example coming your way:
Little Freddy was playing ultimate croquet outside, when he heard a sudden roar of thunder. He looked up to the sky, and saw that above his head hung dark clouds. He had the knowledge that this meant a storm was coming, but shrugging off the weather, Little Freddy continued his game. Once the storm came, the rain made Little Freddy shiver from being cold and wet, he became covered in mud from head to toe, and the thunder and lightning sent him running scared.
Old Man Rutherford was out in his yard building a birdhouse when he heard a sudden roar of thunder. He looked up to the sky, and above his head he saw the same dark clouds Little Freddy saw. Old Man Rutherford had the knowledge that this meant a storm was coming, so using wisdom, he picked up his cat and headed inside.
Get the idea? Knowledge is knowing stuff, but wisdom is putting that knowledge into practice accordingly. But then where do we get wisdom?
The wisdom given to us from the world comes from man, and therefore can only be as wise as man…so, not that great. First Corinthians 3:19 even goes as far as to say that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.” This verse is saying that man’s wisdom is pretty much trash, but it’s also saying that the magnitude of God’s wisdom is something we can’t even begin to fathom.
Daniel 2:20 says, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power,” and Romans 11:33 says,“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” God doesn’t just have wisdom; wisdom belongs to Him. He is the ultimate source of it. Wisdom is His and He has all of it! Awesome, right?
But pay attention to the last bit of the verse, the part that says: “How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!” Sometimes, when life isn’t going our way, we question why God would let something bad happen to us or someone else. It’s important to remember that God’s wisdom beyond human understanding, and because of that, we’re not always going to understand why God does what He does. But that’s not our job. Our job is to have faith in Him, and remember that He is our loving Heavenly Father, using wisdom to do what is best, even what it doesn’t seem like it to us humans.
So how do we get God’s wisdom? The same way we get most things: ask for it. James 1:5 says it clearly. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Just look at King Solomon. He asked God for wisdom, and according to 1 Kings 4:30, “his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt.” God didn’t give Solomon wisdom because he had earned or deserved it, but because he asked for it. It’s as simple as that. God will give you wisdom if you ask for it, so really you just have to remember to!
Pray for wisdom in day-to-day life. Every day we’re given some sort of challenge, whether that’s taking a test, giving a speech, or even getting through challenges that pop up without you planning on them. I encourage you to pray for wisdom when you’re faced with any kind of challenge, from how to respond to a bully, to where you want to stop for food. Pray for wisdom before going to class, when you first wake up, and even before bed for the next day. Pray for wisdom before you open your mouth!
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
Solomon’s Nugget: “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.” Proverbs 3:13-18
Patience is one of those things that a lot of people lack, myself included. When someone takes too long to say something, or when someone in front of me is walking too slowly, it makes me want to crash through a window and run screaming into the ocean. So if you have a problem with patience, trust me, I get it. (By the way, this post isn’t about Job; I don’t have anything to say about him, I just thought it was a good title).
But the Bible does have a lot to say about patience and why it’s important.
God is patient with us.
1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love, and 1 Corinthians 13 (also known as the love chapter in the Bible) teaches us that God’s patience is an expression of that love, and that we ought to love in the same way, and how we can do so. The chapter literally starts off with: “Love is patient, love is kind…” So when I’m angrily waiting for someone to get to their point, or if I’m wanting to pummel someone for holding me up on something, I have to ask myself: Am I being loving? And when these thoughts creep into my head, most of the time, the answer is no. This is not what God wants for me, because I should always seek to be an expression of God’s love; therefore I should be patient just as He is patient with me.
God is patient with unbelievers.
God showed His great love for us by sending His perfect Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world. Anyone who believes and accepts His sacrifice has been forgiven, and has eternal life. Jesus has promised to return for us who believe, but do you ever wonder what’s taking Him so long to come back?
2 Peter 3:9 says: “The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
God is giving unbelievers time to believe in His Son Jesus, and commit their lives to Him. Aren’t you glad that the Second Coming didn’t happen before you became a Christian? Aren’t you glad that God is patient?
Since God is patient with us, we need to be patient with others.
Ephesians 4:2 reminds us to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” So when your sister is taking too long in the bathroom, or when you feel your friend just wants to argue and not let you speak, or when someone is standing unusually and uncomfortably close to you and it’s making you crazy, you’ll need to consider your reaction. Don’t throw a shoe at your sister, that’s not gentle. Don’t throw an elbow at someone in your personal space, that’s not being humble or gentle either. Pray and be patient, because after all, God is patient with us.
Are there times when we need to be patient with God?
Well let’s see, have you ever prayed that there will be peace in your household but things only seem to get worse? Have you ever prayed that a friend will heal but they never seem to get better? Have you ever prayed for a loved one’s salvation but they only seem to get farther away from God? These are all times when waiting on God can be extremely difficult. So yes, there are times when we need to be patient with God.
If you feel yourself getting impatient with the Lord after a few days, weeks, months, or even years, I find it humbling to look at the poor saps in the Old Testament. The Israelites had to wait hundreds upon hundreds of years for a Messiah, and some even doubted that He’d ever come!
And look at John the Baptizer in the New Testament. After he baptized Jesus and proclaimed Him to be the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, while he was in prison, John doubted if Jesus really was the Messiah. Jesus told John to look at the things that He was doing. We should do the same thing. Look at all that Jesus has done in your life and in the lives of other believers around you. Remember the prayers that you know He has answered in the past. These are proof that God keeps His promises. 1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us." So have patience, because God hears your prayers and He will answer them.
Naomi’s Nugget: God has a reason for everything. Psalm 37:7 says: “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” If you feel like God is taking forever to answer your prayer, know that His timing is perfect, and that all is going according to His plan. Just be patient.
Little Freddy was playing ultimate hop-scotch when he saw Old Man Rutherford had placed a fresh baked pie on his windowsill to cool. Little Freddy knew he had no reason to go near the pie, but he was tempted to take the tantalizing treat, so he gave in and snuck the pie off the windowsill anyway, and ate it in a nearby bush.
It didn’t take long for Old Man Rutherford to notice his missing pie, so after investigating the crime scene, he noticed a trail of apple jelly that led all the way to Little Freddy eating the pie in the bushes, caught red handed. When Old Man Rutherford asked Little Freddy why he would take the pie even though he knew he shouldn’t have, Little Freddy replied: “The Devil made me do it!”
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” But even when we are made new, there is still that temptation that tries to get us back into our old selves. The Bible calls it our sinful nature. This sinful nature is in direct conflict with the Holy Spirit, but to delve further into this, I’m going to hand the mic to the Apostle Paul, who in Romans 8:5-14 says:
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.”
“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
Paul states it plain and simple, doesn’t he?
- Following the sinful nature only leads to wickedness and death.
- Following the Holy Spirit only leads to righteousness, peace, and life.
- If you are a child of God (someone who has accepted Jesus Christ in their heart as their Lord and Savior) you can resist the sinful nature because you have the Spirit of God living in you.
So how do we resist the sinful nature? We live our lives following the Holy Spirit’s leading. Here are some ways to do that:
Get alone with God and talk to Him.
Having one on one time with anyone helps you get to know that person. Think about your peers, for example. There are some friends that you enjoy spending time with at school and Collide, but then there are others that you want to have one-on-one time with because that way its more special, bringing you closer in your relationship with them by focusing in on the lives of the two of you.
The way we stay connected to our closest relationships is the same way we stay connected with the Spirit. Remember that even the Son of God, while on Earth, separated Himself to spend some time alone talking with God the Father (Mark 1:35). (No rap session is one sided either, so make sure you listen to what the Spirit has to say as well!) Getting alone with God is one way to follow after and be led by the Holy Spirit.
Get alone with God and read His Word.
Words are how we communicate, after all. The Spirit will speak to you through the Bible, revealing truths about God, what He likes, what He doesn’t like, what He’s done, what He has planned for you, how He wants to use you, how much He loves you, and so on! Reading the Bible is how we get to know more about God, which, like in all relationships, brings us closer to Him. The more you read His Word, the more you will know Him. The more you know Him, the more you will follow and be led by the Spirit.
Talk to God all throughout your day.
When you’re constantly communicating with anyone, you know what they’ve been up to, what their desires are, what pleases them and what doesn’t. The same is true with prayer. Get into the habit of praying before making decisions, big and small. Talk to the Lord about what college you should enter, what job or class you take, or what to say to a friend, family member or stranger. Ask God to lead you in every choice you make. If you take time out to silently talk to God when someone is doing or saying something to upset you, the Holy Spirit will give you just the right thing to say or do in response. Talking to God all throughout the day and including Him in every aspect of your life is what following after and being led by the Spirit looks like!
Naomi’s Nugget: In verse 9 of Romans 8, Paul said: “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.” Remember that! You have been given free will by God, which means you have a choice in whether you will choose the sinful nature or the Spirit. And if you’re a Christian struggling with something of the sinful nature, remember that you are not alone in the fight, the Holy Spirit is in you. He will counsel, encourage and empower you. The Devil can’t make you do anything.
Have you ever felt like your age gets in the way of experiencing something big, or doing something important? Have you ever been treated a certain way, or not trusted to handle responsibility because you’re too young? You might even feel like because of your age, you can’t really do anything big until you’re all grown up.
1 Timothy 4:12 says: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…” Age does not restrict God (nothing can) from using young people in amazing ways! In fact, if you look through the Bible, you can see that God loves to use youth for important tasks. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were only teenagers when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Josiah was crowned king of Judah at the age of eight, the Bible saying “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.” (1 Kings 22:2). David was a youth when he fought Goliath, and though his own father overlooked his abilities, God did not. In the New Testament, Mary was a teenager when the Holy Spirit came upon her to conceive Jesus. She gave birth to the Savior of the World!
While we’re young, we are often seen as “unprepared” or “unready” for certain responsibilities, both big and small. And the fact of the matter is that it’s true in a lot of circumstances. You’re still growing up, finding your talents and gifts, and figuring out who you are. But it’s important to remember that your age doesn’t prevent you from changing the world!
1 Timothy 4:12 goes on to say: “…but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Well how do we set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity?
Ephesians 4: 24, 25 & 29 says, “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” This is how we can set an example for other believers in speech. By not exaggerating the truth about things in our lives, and by lovingly telling the truth even when it’s difficult. James 4:1 says, “Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law.” Don’t gossip!
Matthew 5:14-16 says: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” This is a way we set an example for other believers in conduct. That way, not only are we showing love to those around us (another commandment by God, but we’ll get to that later), but we are also being good witnesses of Jesus.
John 13:34 says: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” In love (I told you we’d get around to it), we should serve one another with good heart, which could be giving our time to someone, or showing God’s love through our actions, like not retaliating in anger when someone wrongs you, or making friends with the kid that no one hangs out with, or maybe sending an encouraging text to someone when you know they need it.
Hebrews 11:1 says: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” As humans, we often want evidence of something before we choose to believe in it, and that’s why having faith can be so difficult. But true, unwavering faith has great outcomes, as seen in the Bible. The Bible gives us plenty of evidence of God’s faithfulness to His people. You just need to READ it and your faith in Him and His Word will grow more and more.
I encourage you to read the rest of Hebrews 11 (yes, right now), which is also known as the “Bible Hall of Faith”. It refers to about twenty different people who had faith in God and His promises. In verses 33-35 it says, “By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.” How awesome! Never underestimate the power of putting your faith in God!
1Thessalonians 4:3-5 says: “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.” This is one way to set an example of purity. Staying away from sexual sin can start with what you wear. Help protect your brother or sister in Jesus from impure thoughts that can lead to sexual sin by dressing modestly. Also, keeping your own mind pure will empower you to live in purity and set a good example for others. This may take not watching inappropriate things on TV or in movies, not being around friends that are poor influences in this area, and not reading novels and listening to music that are sexually explicit.
Recently, the library was giving away free books in the “Teen” section, so I picked up what I thought looked like a good book involving mythology. In Chapter 2 it implied that a high-school girl was going to sleep with her boyfriend, and I wasn’t sure where the book was about to take me, but I didn’t want to go wherever it was. What you watch, read, and listen to can either promote pure thoughts or poison them. Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Naomi’s Nugget: Notice how 1 Timothy 4:12 says you are to set an example to all believers, that includes adults too! And don’t worry, everyone sins, messes up, and stumbles from time to time. Those in the “Bible Hall of Faith” were FAR from perfect – just read their full stories!
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The ad above sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Nowadays, there are ads, pop-ups, and advertisements that sound so good you’ll start scanning the fine print for a catch. Because most of the time, there is one. This fact can make us very skeptical when we’re offered something good. For example, if a friend offers you a donut, you might wonder why they’d give it to you instead of eating it themselves. Which might lead you to wonder if it was dropped on the floor a second ago without you seeing.
Now that friend might have just disliked donuts, which what kind of person is that? Who doesn’t like sugar, dough, frosting/glaze, sometimes filling, all fried up in the form of a happy circle? But sometimes it feels weird when we’re given or promised something wonderful that we don’t necessarily deserve.
Does it sometimes seem to you that the promises of God are too good to be true? Why would God promise me a way out of Hell when I don’t even deserve it? How can His promises even apply to me after I’ve done so much wrong? You might wonder why God would pay any attention to you after you’ve turned your back on Him so many times, or disobeyed Him over and over again. Or maybe You believe that He must have more important things to do and better prayers than yours to answer; like World Hunger, cancer, oppression in war-torn countries, tsunami relief, and so on.
Well I can think of two gifts that could seem too good to be true that are promised and shown to us by our Heavenly Father. Those are the gifts of grace and mercy. Is there a difference? You bet your slippers there is! To put it simply, grace is receiving favor; it’s when we get something that we don’t deserve. Mercy is a pardon, it’s when we don’t get something that we do deserve.
First, let’s talk about God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Because of our sin, we do not deserve to be saved. In fact, because of our disobedience to God, what we deserve is Hell! But God provided a way for us to escape damnation and live with Him in paradise forever! The catch? There isn’t one! But there was a cost, and God paid it Himself by sending His Son to die for us.
For example, Little Freddy broke Old Man Rutherford’s window when he was playing ultimate Frisbee. Instead of going on an elderly rampage and demanding payment for his window, Old Man Rutherford gave Little Freddy a pardon that time, and warned him not to play ball so close to his window again. Old Man Rutherford gave Little Freddy a pardon, even though Little Freddy didn’t deserve it. He extended grace to Little Freddy.
Now let’s talk about mercy. Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.”
The Scripture says that God is rich in mercy, rich meaning full of and abundant. Isn’t that beautiful? And because He is eternal, omnipotent and unchanging, God’s rich mercy will never run out or cease. God pardoned our sin when He saved us from Hell because of His great love, His mercy a product of that love. To give you an example of mercy, let’s see what Little Freddy is doing now.
Little Freddy went outside to practice ultimate sling shot. As he’s shooting cans and rocks, he notices Old Man Rutherford’s cat is lazily grooming itself on the side of his porch. Seeing a good target, Little Freddy shot the cat, and the cat let out a loud meow and fell off the porch and onto the ground. The cat tried to run away quickly, but let out another loud meow and just collapsed to his side.
Old Man Rutherford, having seen Little Freddy playing ultimate sling shot and hearing the loud meows, rushed out of the house and saw Little Freddy looking guiltily at the poor cat. Old Man Rutherford quickly scooped up the cat and rushed it to the vet. Little Freddy’s parents were notified and they told Old Man Rutherford that Little Freddy would have to pay for the vet bill out of his allowance and gift money that he had saved up. But Old Man Rutherford refused and said he would pay the vet bill himself. He saved Little Freddy from punishment, even though he deserved one. Old man Rutherford pardoned Little Freddy. He showed mercy towards him.
Get it? God demonstrates both grace and mercy through His plan of salvation! We don’t deserve to be saved, but God has extended grace, or favor to us, and sent His Son that we might be saved. We deserved Hell, but God loved us so much that He didn’t want us to be condemned, so out of mercy, He pardoned us and paid the penalty for sin Himself.
If you are a believer, there is nothing you can do, say, or think that can ever separate you from God’s love. He has shown you grace and mercy, not because you deserve it, but because you’re important to Him and precious in His sight. If you’re not yet a believer, it’s never too late to ask God for forgiveness for your sins and ask Him to come into your heart. He loves you.
Naomi’s Nugget: God’s not an obnoxious salesperson trying to sell you salvation; He’s already paid for you! There’s no catch to God’s love, and there is no scam in His abundant grace and mercy towards you. Though being saved from our sins sounds “too good to be true”, it isn’t! That’s just another reason why our God is great!