SEEK GOD’S WISDOM
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. – Matthew 23:1-9
This rebuke by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy was the harshest treatment that He ever gave to any group. He did this publicly before the multitude, the people the hypocrites most wanted to impress.
Jesus had faced many prior battles with the scribes and Pharisees. On this particular day, the encounter started with the chief priests and elders challenging Jesus’ authority. Jesus stunned them by replying with a question that challenged their authority. He then used three parables to illustrate that the leaders of the Jews had rejected the rule of God in their lives, despite their pious religious acts. They “perceived that he spake of them.”
The Pharisees countered by tempting Jesus with a question about paying taxes to the Roman government. Then the Sadducees tried to stop Jesus with a question about the resurrection, and finally, a lawyer tried to snare Him with a question about the greatest commandment. Jesus did so well in each test that “no man after that durst ask him any question.” Jesus then asked the leaders who were supposed to know it all, a question that none of them could answer. These Jews, who prided themselves on having superior knowledge, were totally humiliated by a man who had never been through their religious “seminary.” This resulted in them being afraid to ever try to trap Jesus again, by questioning Him.
These were the events of the day that led up to Jesus’ stinging public rebuke of these hypocrites. Jesus gave this rebuke knowing full well that they were planning to kill Him. Jesus was totally fearless in the face of their threats. All of these questions were intended to snare Jesus, but in His infinite superior wisdom, He evaded their traps. Ask God for His wisdom, He will also help you evade traps.
You may be in a situation now that feels hopeless, and you don’t see how any good could ever come out of it. But GOD still has a plan. He can bring greatness out of a great mess.
MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH CHRIST’S LOVE
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. – Romans 8:37
The sun shines on every blade of grass in a field. But if you put a magnifying glass over one particular blade of grass, it will center the heat from the sun over that blade, and that blade of grass will burn.
My friend, that is what you must do with God’s love. Put a “magnifying glass” over your life and see God’s love being focused and concentrated on YOU. Hear Him call you His beloved, the one He sent His only Son to die for, the one who has His complete attention, favor and unconditional love.
When you personalize God’s love for you, when you live each day knowing and conscious that God loves you, you will be blazing with a supernatural ability to overcome every challenge in life. Indeed, the Bible tells us that we are “more than conquerors” through Jesus and His love for us!
SOW SUCCESS …
Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you. – Ecclesiastes 11:1, NLT
God has a system in place in order to bless you and it works on the principle of sowing and reaping. What you pour out to others, it will come back to you in increased measure. When you give generously, a generous harvest will return to you. When you help others succeed, you will find abundant success on your own path, too.
There are people in your life who hold the keys for you to reach your full potential. These are people that God has placed in your life for you to help along. The higher they rise up, the higher you will rise up, too. When you give generously of your time, talent and resources, you are setting yourself up for greater success.
What are you doing to invest in the lives of the people around you? Are you helping others get ahead? Step out and sow a seed. Look for ways to help others. As you sow success, you’ll reap success and move forward into the abundant life He has in store for you!
Being led by the Holy Spirit is the key to a successful Christian life. He wants to guide you in everything that concerns you. Consult Him every day!
A GREATER BLESSING IS IN STORE FOR YOU …
Romans 8:31 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Whenever the devil throws something at us, we need not lose hope. In fact, we can be sure that God will turn it around for our greater blessing because He is for us.
When God first made man, He gave man dominion over everything on earth. (Genesis 1:26) But when Adam fell, sin and death entered the world, and man lost his authority to the devil.
So did the devil win? No, God executed His redemption plan by sending His Son Jesus to die for us. And He wants us to know that Jesus’ death did more than just restore us to the same position that Adam had—it placed us in a much higher position!
When the Father raised Jesus from the dead, we who are in Christ were raised with Him. In other words, we are now seated with Him at God’s right hand in the heavenly places, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come”! (Ephesians 1:21) Adam never had this position. So through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have received so much more.
In the Old Testament, we read of how God brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey. The devil thought that he could foil God’s plan by putting giants in the promised land to stop the Israelites from inheriting it. But God outsmarted the devil. He allowed the giants to build their homes and cities, dig wells and cultivate crops until the right time came. Then, He brought the Israelites into the land and evicted the giants!
So the Israelites ended up inheriting large beautiful cities which they did not build, houses full of all good things which they did not fill, hewn-out wells which they did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees which they did not plant! (Deuteronomy 6:10–11) Although the devil tried to prevent God’s plan for His people from coming to pass, they ended up receiving so much more!
Beloved, the devil may throw obstacles and evil circumstances at you, but God will turn those evil schemes around for your greater blessing because He is for you!
THE UPSIDE OF SETBACKS
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. —Psalm 27:14
American swimmer Dara Torres had a remarkable career, appearing in five different Olympics from 1984 to 2008. Late in her career, Torres broke the US record for the 50-meter freestyle—25 years after she herself set that record. But it wasn’t always medals and records. Torres also encountered obstacles in her athletic career: injuries, surgery, as well as being almost twice the age of most other competitors. She said, “I’ve wanted to win at everything, every day, since I was a kid. . . . I’m also aware that setbacks have an upside; they fuel new dreams.”
“Setbacks have an upside” is a great life lesson. Torres’s struggles motivated her to reach for new heights. They have a spiritual benefit too. As James said, “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).
Adopting this perspective on the difficulties of life is not easy, but it is worthwhile. Trials provide opportunity to deepen our relationship with God. They also provide the opening to learn lessons that success cannot teach by developing in us the kind of patience that waits on God and trusts Him for the strength to endure.
The psalmist reminds us, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (Ps. 27:14).
In my times of trial, dear Lord, teach me to wait for You. But please teach me even more to trust the love You have for me. And as I do, may I learn Your wisdom and have the patience to endure.
The setbacks of life can teach us to wait upon the Lord for His help and strength.
Look at your circumstances and you’ll be distressed. Look within yourself and you’ll be depressed. Look to Jesus and you’ll be at rest.
THE DEAL IS SEALED
‘…Having believed, you were marked…with a seal…’ – Ephesians 1:13 NIV
If you are having doubts about your salvation, understand this clearly: the moment you trusted in Christ as your Saviour, His blood cleansed you from all sin. At that point ‘you were marked…with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit…guaranteeing [your]…redemption.’ (Ephesians 1:13–14 NIV) The Bible says, ‘You should not be like cowering fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into His family—calling Him, “Father, dear Father!” For the Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we will share His treasures—for everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours too.’ (Romans 8:15–16 NLT) In the book of Ruth we read that ‘the custom…in Israel concerning redeeming…[was] one man took off his sandal…gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation…’ (Ruth 4:7 NKJV) Notice, the ‘redeemer’ put on another man’s sandal, signifying his willingness to stand in his place. That’s what Jesus did for us at the cross. He stood in our shoes so we could stand before God in His—redeemed and righteous! Don’t let doubt steal your joy. Refuse to go by your feelings. Make up your mind to believe what God says, for until you do you’ll be plagued by uncertainty. Study God’s Word until you can say with assurance, ‘…I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.’ (2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV) Are you trusting in Christ as your Saviour? Then your salvation is not in doubt. The deal is sealed!
David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son? – Luke 20:41-44
Jesus took an apparent contradiction in scripture and through combining these paradoxical statements (concerning the humanity and deity of Christ) brought forth the truth that Christ is God in human flesh. Both assertions (the fact that Jesus was David’s son and yet David’s Lord) were right at the same time.
It was correct that Christ was David’s son and it was also correct that Christ was David’s Lord. This meant that Christ also was God. However, Christ was not exclusively David’s son nor was He exclusively David’s Lord. These two truths had to be combined to arrive at the whole truth. No truth of God’s Word stands independent of the other truths in God’s Word.
A lack of balancing truth with truth is usually the cause of much contention among men when interpreting scriptures. Some argue that everything is by grace, while others emphatically state that without faith it is impossible to please God. The Bible teaches us that we need both grace and faith to be born again – not one without the other. The same is true of faith versus works, and many other truths in God’s Word. Error can simply be truth taken to an extreme at the expense of other truths.
One of the concerns of many Christians is, “How can I know I’m thinking and acting properly?” If we seek the Lord with a pure heart and singleness of purpose, then the Lord will show us anything we need to change. In other words, all we have to do is focus on the Lord with a pure heart, and He promises to show us any error. The only people who need to fear that they might be deceived are those who are not seeking the Lord with a pure and single-minded heart.