I just have to share this daily devotional. The verse is so exacting, clear and concise. Take a minute to listen to the pastor explain it.
“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. ” (Proverbs 9:10 NLT)
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When God commands we are to do more than listen. We are to act.
~ Lisa Blair
God speaks to us in many ways. He uses us as needed, and empowers His gifts as He sees fit. Earlier this week, I had a clear impartation from God. It was clear and precise. Last night He called me to prayer at 4am and my instruction was to share the dream He had given me. I am no prophet and was not inclined to share the dream with the world, but on command I am stepping out in faith. I am not comfortable, but trusting in the Lord is not a request to follow it is a command.
DREAM – Night of May 3, 2020/Morning of May 4, 2020
The dream opened with a clear, discernable voice telling me to go grocery shopping before May 11 and do not go out shopping after the 11th for three weeks.
The voice (God) said, the States were reopening too soon and that the majority were reopening in some degree May 11. The day after re-opening businesses, the death rates and critical care hospitalizations will quadruple within days to a few weeks. Then I was shown a map of the United States, and there were pins, red for death, and blue for increased areas of hospitalizations. The pins were so close together, they seemed to be on top of each other. There was no map space spared. The pins canvassed the entire map.
The voice (God) told me, those who stay indoors and honor the the shelter-in-place rules would survive, and those who return to their old lifestyle, before the pandemic, will be throwing the nation into greater risk, despair and loss.
In the last few days we see towns, cities and countries attempting to reopen to stop the drain and loss of businesses, and the rise of unemployment throughout the world. We have also heard from the scientists that the next wave will be much worse than the initial wave we are currently living through. We are in unprecedented times, the balance between life and liberty (economic security) are in the balance. Our survival depends on our new behavior, are we listening to the scientists, the specialists or are we ignoring what we are currently going through as if it is a common cold?
I believe my (prophetic) dream is a wake up call. Take one day at a time and treat each day as if it is the last. We are called to be alert, wise and discerning. We are not of this world and clearly should not be a part of the blind.
Your friends and associates define you. If you surround yourself with wise, thoughtful people, you too will remain or become wise, following God’s Word to govern you life. If you surround yourself with fools, you too will remain or become a fool.
~ Lisa Blair
This scripture is easily overlooked. Why, because we do not unpack it to determine what we are being warned about. That’s right, God is warning us to choose wisely. As we grow up, most of us have aligned ourselves with people (a person) that changes the very atmosphere around us. Equate people with atmospheric pressure. When the pressure is light, all goes well, when it is heavy, we jeopardize our character. We begin to act in a manner unbecoming to our nature.
Your friends and associates define you. If you surround yourself with wise, thoughtful people, you too will remain or become wise, following God’s Word to govern you life. If you surround yourself with fools, you too will remain or become a fool, following man’s word to govern your life. You get caught up in the details of the relationship and you no longer assess the damage it is causing you.
As adults, many of us align with the wrong people for any number of reasons. Sometime during the relationship we realize that it is unhealthy. It is not always unhealthy because the person is bad, it may be that their trajectory is different than yours, their values do not naturally align with yours, thus causing the relationship to feel forced. It is like atmospheric pressure.If the atmospheric pressure is constraining, you feel the weight of it, and you are always on edge around them, this is a warning sign. Alert, alert, you are under attack by carnal demons. It is time to refer back to this verse and change your course, step out of the friendship, the group, the clic, the environment that leads to the heavy atmospheric pressure weighing down on you. Run away, change your relationships that hamper your walk with God.
The following is an excerpt of Day Two, Guardrails: Avoiding Regrets In Your Life. Andy Stanley, North Point Ministries, Bible.com
Our greatest regrets are usually connected with people we’ve considered friends. Maybe yours is connected to a colleague, a classmate, or an ex-boyfriend. Maybe it’s a group of friends that, in hindsight, you wish you’d never met. Even if you were alone, chances are your greatest regret somehow grew out of a relationship.
These ill-fated friendships have taught us (often the hard way) that our futures are impacted by the people we spend time with. This is why we need relational guardrails.
Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, wrote: “Walk with the wise and become wise . . .” In other words, wisdom is contagious. Do life with the wise and, over time, you’ll become wise. It happens automatically.
And there’s a second part: “. . . for a companion of fools suffers harm.” When you hang out with a fool, you get caught up in the consequences of their bad decisions. You catch the shrapnel. Your reputation is ruined like his. You get fired like her. You aren’t invited next time either.
Relational guardrails help us avoid “foolishness fallout.”
So, as you think about your friendships, here are three guardrails to consider. When one of these things occurs, let it light up your conscience before you suffer harm.
1. You catch yourself pretending to be someone other than who you really are.
2. Something that’s never been a temptation before is now something you’re considering.
3. You hope the people you care about don’t know your whereabouts.
Remember, guardrails aren’t meant to declare something (or someone) right or wrong. They are meant to guide you back toward wisdom. So, are any of your friendships veering into the danger zone? Which guardrail are you bumping up against and what are you going to do about it?
The most important thing we can do in life is to continue our walk with God, anything that negatively impacts our relationship with the Lord should be shed. Wisdom is a gift, cherish it and hold it dear to your heart, consider it your guardrail.
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When our lives become comfortable, we tend to gravitate to self if we do not stay alert. Alert – Do not gravitate to self. It is during these times that we begin to think about the success we are having is our own. We designed and orchestrated it by ourselves. All success is defined by God. He knew us before we were born. He designed our path leading to our destiny. We may be in control of how our success is playing out as any good manager does, however, our success is guided by our creator and not us. We reflect Christ through our behavior and actions. Our behavior and actions are our witness to the world.
We should become comfortable living wisely. If we do, we will know God’s Will for our lives and follow His path. Our motives should always be pure, which is not always easy in this time of focus on self, i.e., we live in a world of self-gratification. Satan is the author of self-gratification, and if we are not careful, we will be lulled into his camp. We begin to see our success as our success. We lose sight that we may have planned the course, but God controlled the steps that led to our success. John 3:30 puts it this way, He must increase [in prominence], but I must decrease. (AMP) He must become greater; I must become less. (NIV)
We gravitate to self and elevate self when we are successful. The opposite of this scripture occurs when we are deceived and lulled into a place of lust. We increase self and decrease Gods’ prominence in our lives. Proverbs 1 challenges us to think and act differently than the world. The world is enticing and without warning, you can be seduced. The evil one is cunning and knows what you lust after eager to provide it if it draws you away from God. I am speaking from experience. There was a time when the CEO of the company met with to discuss my future with the company. He shared that my future was bright if I followed my Vice Presidents instructions without question. As I listened, I immediately became suspicious. I was the school administrator of one of their schools. Shortly after the initial meeting with the CEO, the Vice President visited and told me to sign over a check to corporate that was intended for the school. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He wanted me to commit an act of fraud with a smile on my face, thus giving me access to a corporate career. I informed him that was not possible knowing I would be fired if I did not comply. Ephesians 4:14 says, people are cunning and crafty and create deceitful schemes. This was definitely one of those moments. This experience forced the question, do I become greater and relegate God to become less; or do I become less, and allow God to become more in my life? I decided that I’d rather lose the job and follow the Word of God being a good steward of the school than become a slave of the evil one bound by fraud and deceit.
Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches that we are to leave our former way of life, to put off the old self, which is corrupted by deceitful desires and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Through Bible Study and instruction, I knew that this was the evil one’s ploy to corrupt me and position me to become one of his slaves. I told the CEO I could not commit a crime to gain success. I was also emphatic that as a child of God, I knew it was not only illegal but one day I would find myself standing before God trying to explain why I allowed myself to fall into this trap of sin. I told the President of the Board what happened, and the Board fired the company and promoted me. Now do all stories end this way, no. Herein lies the challenge, should we learn the wisdom of God and apply it in our daily lives, regardless of the outcome of our actions, and live according to His word, or do we relinquish His power over our lives and live a worldly life? Do we rely on our (carnal) wisdom or Gods’ wisdom? 1 Corinthians 3:19, NLT is very clear, true wisdom comes from God.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness”.
Gods wisdom is the only true wisdom. Back to the subject matter – do not gravitate to self. Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs to give us an instruction manual about living life wisely and not falling prey or being lulled into a life that increases us and decreases our Father in Heaven. God is our sovereign, and there is no other like Him. Fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. He alone is the source of wisdom informing us how to live life wisely.
Part of this lesson was taken from the BSF lesson I recently committed– The Kingdom of Solomon, the remainder was God inspired. The take away is: Never gravitate to self, never think that your ability to plan makes you lord over your life. It is the Lord who directs our steps. Every plan we make should be held in humility before God and surrender it to His ultimate will for our life. Ask, and He will show you the things you do not know, Jeremiah 33:3. Live a Godly life, a wise life, give God all the Glory, and do not gravitate to self. Decrease so He can increase in your life.
DO NOT GRAVITATE TO SELF, DON’T BECOME A VICTIM OF THE EVIL ONE’S PRACTICES TO DECEPTION TO DISCONNECT YOU FROM YOUR LIFELINE. GOD IS YOUR LIFELINE. ~ Lisa Blair
Resources: BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, International Images: Google Images Scriptures: Biblegateway.com
Matthew 11:15 seems common sense, but it is describing how to hear/listen and understand.
We must be willing to hear and exempt our mind from prejudice. We cannot attempt to interpret according to our limited understanding.
We should seek to understand the Gospel and endeavor to experience and practice it just as it is stated.
We should listen to the Word because it is pure, plain, and the living Word of God.
God created the earth and all things on and in it. All things on the planet produce sound waves. Our ears were made to hear the subtlest of tones.
When we read the Word out loud or to ourselves, we hear the sounds and interpret the words. The key is to listen for the meaning of what God is saying to us, and not rely on our (own) interpretation. As we listen intently, we begin to understand the truth God is sharing with us. And, through these truths, we begin to align our actions to become more Christlike.
The more frequently we read the Word of God, the deeper it is planted into our hearts. Once it is planted in our hearts, the more readily available it becomes when making daily decisions, large and small.
As the Scripture says, anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. As we become equipped with the Word as our guiding principles, we gain wisdom. Wisdom is the product of listening to the Word for understanding. Wisdom, in turn, develops our faith, and our faith covers us in the Word of God and leads us to salvation and eternal life.
I am holding to the task of Resolving and Acting on the resolve to become a stronger Christian in the face of everyday life in 2019. Join me. Each step we take should bring us closer to Christ.