I know God speaks, but do I want to listen? I am doing just fine on my own.
I know God speaks, but do I want to listen? I am doing just fine on my own.
What thoughts go through your mind, when you read the phrase “The Lord disciplines the one he loves”?
God’s discipline is not an isolated character trait. God’s discipline is intricately and intimately woven into his character and love for you. God’s discipline is not meant to discourage you, or impede you from running the race God laid out for you before you were born. It’s the complete opposite!
God’s discipline is a demonstration of the depths of God’s love for you. Those times when God out of his infinite wisdom and mercy chooses to discipline you is your assurance that you are God’s precious son or daughter. God’s discipline is not the natural consequences of your choices. God’s discipline is absolutely not punishment for your sins, because Christ has already paid the price for your sins. God’s discipline is not the effects of living in a fallen world. God disciplines you because he loves you.
God’s discipline and God’s provision of our daily bread enable us to persevere, to keep our eyes focused on Christ and to experience the joy of running the race. God’s discipline comes from the same right hand that delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and the same loving hand that raised Jesus from the dead. God our Heavenly Father disciplines us so that we can enjoy the depths of intimate fellowship with him.
God’s discipline is not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of those around you. God’s discipline is training you to live at peace with everyone, including those you really wish you didn’t have to live at peace with. By discipline, training, perseverance, and obedience in the ordinary everyday things of life, your right relationship with God brings peace and joy to those around you. Through God’s discipline you are able to make level paths for the feet for the physically, emotionally, or spiritually wounded so that they can come to Christ for healing and strength. Because of God’s discipline you are an example of a life of holiness to those around you.
God loves you so much that he will discipline you how and when he deems best. Don’t resent God’s rebuke, don’t become hardened or discouraged or anxious under God’s discipline. Instead pour out your soul to God and plead with God to show you his grace and love so that you can humbly submit to his discipline. Because Christ died for you, because God loves you, because of God’s discipline you are being transformed into his likeness and sharing in his holiness so that you will be present with Christ in glory!
The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.(Prov 13:9 NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.1 Christ is risen! You have received God’s mercy! You are God’s special possession so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light!2 What a glorious privilege to have the light of life! What an amazing opportunity you have to be light in the corner of the world where God has placed you. May your light burn brightly fueled by God’s grace.
The wisdom of the light of Christ is a fountain of life that you can share with those around you. May your light always light the pathway to Christ, so that those around you may be opened to the truth of God’s word. Glorify God by shining his light of hope, so that people can see God is doing exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine.3 Heed your Heavenly Father’s instructions so that the light of Christ shining through you always burns brightly even in seemingly hopeless situations.
Ask the Lord to set a guard over your mouth and to keep watch over the doors of your lips.4 May your words be seasoned with grace bringing heavenly light into every situation. As a faithful messenger of the Gospel trust the Holy Spirit to give you words that bring healing in the midst of conflict.
Examine your life regularly lest unfaithfulness, speaking rashly, laziness, wickedness, pretending to be somebody that you are not,pride, strife, dishonesty, or choosing friends poorly dims your light or worse yet snuffs out your light. It would be an eternal shame to be found without oil in your lamp when our Lord returns.
Diligently desire God so that your lamp is always filled with oil. May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our risen Lord.5
Jesus we thank you that you are the light of the world; and that we no longer walk in darkness for you are the light of our life. Keep us from sin, pride, and anything else that might snuff out your light. Amen
(1) 1 Peter 1:3; (2) 2 Peter 2:9; (3) Eph 3:20-21; (4) Ps 141:3; (5) Phil 4:7
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)
In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. (Prov 12:28 NIV)
In the place where God has placed you, graciously accept your responsibility as a caretaker of this special corner of God’s wonderful creation. You are right where you are supposed to be. God didn’t made a mistake when he created you. Be the wonderful person that God created you to be. God has given you exactly the right mind, talents and skills so that you can faithfully build with gold, silver and precious metals a solid foundation for your life upon Christ the bedrock of you faith. There is no need to be building sand castles of deceit, lies or false pretenses.
Live a disciplined life, constantly desiring to know more of Christ, and to know more of his creation. Diligently perform every task assigned to you. In everything you do and in all your plans act justly and love mercy. Reflect God’s glory by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit and the virtues of Christ who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
As a peace maker, choose your words carefully to bring joy, healing and peace as far as it is possible. Choose words that are faithful and true, gentle and kind, uplifting and encouraging. Be known as one who is trustworthy. Choose your friends carefully.
If people praise you for your prudence, quietly acknowledge God as the source of your wisdom. When you are surrounded by schemers, trust the Lord to keep you safe. When you are surrounded by those who are unthankful, ungrateful, liars or fantasy chasers, quietly continue to do what you do with regards to God alone, so that you may be wholly acceptable in his sight. Remember that God’s eyes pierce the secrets of every soul.
You will be tossed about by storms, trials, tribulation and affliction (we all are). Since you have sunk your roots deeply into Christ you will be safe in his almighty hand from all the rages of earth and hell. Sometimes you will sin (we all do), so welcome correction, so that you can continue to know the favor of the Lord. In all things and at all times lean on God rather than trusting in your own judgement.
Should it please God to extrude you out of the place where you are, then you will have a solid foundation for where ever He will take you next. In the meantime patiently and quietly continue to abide in Christ. Then you will hear our Savior say, ‘my child, well done good and faithful servant’ and you will know the smile of the Lord upon you.
Almighty God, we praise you that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We ask for your wisdom today that we may build wisely upon Christ the bedrock of our faith. Keep us safe in your hand and lead us in the paths of life. Amen
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives. (Prov 11:30)
Throughout our day, we are all faced with thousands of small decisions about how we should live. Do we choose to cheat in some small way, or do we maintain our integrity in everything we do? Are our behavior and attitudes motivated by pride or humility? Are we faithful in our relationships with our co-workers? Do we pursue wealth at all costs, or do we pursue righteousness? Do people know us at work for our blameless, impeccable character? Do we place our hope in other people, or do we fully hope in God? What about what we say, can we be trusted to keep secrets and to hold our tongue or are we known as the office gossip. Do people say we are ruthless, cruel, deceptive, or back stabbers? Or are we known for being kindhearted, and desiring good things for our co-workers and our company? Are we known for our generosity with our time and abilities?
Thanks be to God, through Christ Jesus, it is possible to escape these temptations, to resist the devil and for our lives to be transformed. Yes, Jesus understands our temptations, for he was tempted in every way we are, yet he did not sin. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can live a life of integrity. God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. And when we are tempted God will provide a way out so that we can endure it. (1 Cor 10:13).
Today choose to do your work with integrity, humbly pursuing righteousness with your hope firmly placed in God. May you be known as one who holds your tongue, as kind-hearted, generous, spreading seeds of righteousness and seeking the good of your co-workers and employer. Then you will know the favor of the Lord. Your paths will be straight, even when faced with difficult choices. You will be like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in season and bringing shade and beauty where you live and work.
Almighty God, we come to you knowing that you understand the temptations we face today. We ask for your mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. Don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the Evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
and lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel (Prov 10:20; 20:15).
In the beginning, out of love, God spoke words of life creating this world. Shortly thereafter, wanting to deceive, Satan spoke words that led to death and destruction. Centuries later, motivated by arrogant egotism, to make a name for themselves by building the Tower of Babel, God confused languages so that people would not understand each other. Thousands of years later, out of his great love for us, God sent his son, Jesus, to this world, to speak words of life to those who would hear and understand. Through his death and resurrection Jesus not only offers us redemption, but also offers redemption for communication and conversations with a simple language of grace, love and forgiveness.
One would think it should be easy for us who are Christians to speak wise words, to always speak the truth in love. But it isn’t. As Paul reminds us in Romans that the right we want to say, we do not say, and what we hate to say we often say . We have learned patterns of wise speech, and foolish speaking from our families, from our co-workers and from the media. These patterns shape what we say. In addition as finite human beings, we are not able to see every facet of a situation, only God does hence we constantly need to seek his perspective and not lean on our own understanding.
Solomon, the wisest man on earth, recognized that right speech was something that was very challenging. He wrote over a hundred proverbs about communication. These proverbs are written in the context of God calling out to us in wisdom where we work and live – the very places where we struggle with our conversations. Just as there is a black and white contrast between Satan’s words of deception bringing death, and God’s loving words that bring life and redemption, so also Solomon paints a black and white contrast between the words of the wise and the fool. There is no middle ground. The words of the wise bring blessing, the words of the fool bring violence and evil.
God’s grace can transform your tongue into an instrument of righteousness. Through God’s power, your words can rescue people. God has blessed you with discernment which you can share from a pure heart. Through the Holy Spirit you have wisdom which can be a fountain of life that can turn a person from the snares of death.
Treasure the words that you say today. Hold your tongue, weigh your answers carefully, and remain even tempered. Speak gracious words that promote instruction. Your words have the power of life and death, so choose to speak life into every conversation. Picture your words like a honeycomb that is sweet to the soul bringing healing to weary bones and sustaining the life of your workplace, your family, and your community.
Almighty God, who speaks with love and compassion to each of us, set a guard over our mouths, and keep watch over the doors of our lips. May our words be gracious, sweet to the soul, and bring healing through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
The righteous will never be uprooted (Prov 10:30 NIV)
Life can be messy. But no matter how deplorable or needlessly cruel this world is, or how wonderful life is, your righteousness will shine brightly as you continue to believe that God is present and working redemption in ways that you and I are not equipped to discern. Righteousness is a gracious gift from God that you receive by faith so that you can be restored into a love relationship with Him and be inspired to live a righteous life, for righteousness is the very foundation of God’s essence.
Let your righteousness shine through today as you first answer the question ‘who shall I be in response to God’s actions?’ Then answer the question ‘what shall I do today in light of God’s love for me, God’s character, and my relationship with the Lord?’
Your righteousness is missional, for your actions and words today reflect Gods love, God’s wisdom, God’s holiness and God’s righteousness amongst the people you live and work with. God in his unrelenting love for you, continues to call out to you to live your life in a way that is faithful to God’s story and the way God created the world. So continue today to trust in God, take refuge in God, love his commandments, turn from evil and steer clear of the wicked and their schemes. Seek the peace and prosperity of others, and guard your tongue so that it only speaks truth and wisdom. Live your life today in obedience, in faithfulness and quiet trust in God’s story. Then your righteousness will shine like the dawn.
At the place where you work, in the midst of all the noise competing for your hearts attention, God calls out to you offering you his wisdom. This wisdom that God offers you is unique. This world where you live and work is God’s handiwork. As the creator God is the only one who knows exactly how everything is designed. Instead of providing you with an owner’s manual, the creator desires to enter into a personal relationship with you and to share first hand His knowledge of how everything functions. Relying on this wisdom and understanding from God will enable you to do your job with excellence.
God’s wisdom is true, is just and right. God’s wisdom will teach you prudence and discretion. God’s wisdom will provide you with counsel and sound judgment and insight. God’s wisdom will enable you to make just decisions and to lead well. God understands the intricacies of the hearts of those you work with and live with. With God’s wisdom you can love and relate to them in a way that aligns with God’s kingdom purposes.
The wisdom God offers you comes with a promise of a rich blessing. The fruit that God offers you, should you choose to follow his wisdom, is more precious than rubies, is better than fine gold and its yield surpasses choice silver. The day is coming when Christ will redeem the work that you are doing today. If you are going about your work with God’s wisdom, no matter how menial or fascinating the work is, your work when it is refined by fire, in some mysterious way that we cannot explain, will be purified as gold and silver.
The work you are doing today has immense value when you constantly rely on God’s Wisdom. The one who created you, who rejoices over you, and who loves you has these words to say to you today …
“So now, children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction so that you may be wise,
and do not neglect it.
Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching at my doors day by day,
waiting beside my doorway.
For the one who finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 8:33-35 NET)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Prov 3:5-6)
Holy Spirit, help me to hear what you are teaching me today in the realities of my life. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Father, thank you for your love and faithfulness toward me. Help me to keep your commands in my heart, and keep my heart from wandering away from you. Fill my heart with love and faithfulness to you and to each person that you bring across my path today. Lord, I have tried leaning on the broken branch of my own understanding, but it doesn’t always work out very well. In this moment I choose to rest and trust in you my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. I don’t know what lies ahead for tomorrow, but I know that you will make my paths straight and that is all that matters. I choose to follow you, and in humble obedience take the next faithful step, so that I can continue to know the unspeakable joy of your presence in my life.
Father, I have tried trusting my own wisdom but it is unable to bring me to the paths of righteousness. I now know my wisdom is like a speck of dust compared to the vastness of your wisdom that laid the earth’s foundations and set the heavens in place. I believe that your wisdom is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold, and I desire nothing less than knowing your wisdom this moment, right here, right now where I am living and working. Grant me the wisdom to act justly with the people around me, to love mercy and to walk humbly with you through the activities of my day. You have blessed me with so many things, you have given me talents and abilities. Sustain me so that I can lavishly share these blessings with those around me.
I rejoice that with you at my side hemming me in behind and before, and with your hand upon me that I can go about this day in safety, knowing that my foot will not stumble. May the inner contentment, delight, peace and joy of living in your presence, be evident to all. Thank you that when I go to bed tonight I will have nothing to fear and that my sleep will be sweet. Amen
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:18)
Our whole body is involved in the search for wisdom. We incline our ears to wisdom, we apply our heart to understanding, our mouth cries after knowledge, we lift our voices up for spiritual intelligence. We relentlessly search for wisdom as we would for priceless treasures. At some point we realize that we are not able to comprehend true wisdom without the Spirit of God. When we stop searching in our own strength and humbly depend in faith on the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth we find Wisdom. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones (Prov 2:6-8).
Through faith our souls are united with the infinite God in a union that transcends all our senses and all knowledge. In this union God manifests himself to our soul with divine light and truths which surpass all understanding. For no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor 2:9 NLT).
To our surprise when we find Wisdom, we also discover that God has transformed our lives. The way we walk, where we walk, and whom we walk with, are all transformed. We find ourselves walking in the ways of the good, and keeping to the paths of the righteous (Prov 2:20). God gives us a new heart. With this new heart, in faith we can wait with loving attentiveness upon God in quietness and rest. For we know that true love and hope are built on that which we cannot see or feel in this life – namely faith in God who is incomprehensible and transcends all things. When we are quiet and still before God, a divine calm and peace infuses our soul, along with the wondrous and sublime knowledge of God enfolding us in his divine love.