The Scriptures become so powerful when we allow it to speak to us in our personal lives. When we allow God's word to be applied to our real life situations. A passage that God has continued to bring to my attention this year is Jeremiah 29:12-13,
"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
I believe this is a "Now" word for our church. When the prophet Jeremiah spoke this word from God over the people of Israel, they had been taken away into captivity. They are in a time of crisis. God has allowed their once mighty nation to be overthrown, and in their time of crisis God knows that they will be calling out to Him. God says that He will listen, however they will not find Him until after they seek for Him with all of their heart. More than anything, in every situation, God just wants to capture our hearts. The circumstances that bring us to this position are always just details.
Today we begin reading from Proverbs. Proverbs is the book of wisdom. A good place to start would be by asking, "What is wisdom?" The wisdom Proverbs is referring to is: good sense or judgment in decision making. Wisdom is the ability to make the right choice. Proverbs describes wisdom as a female companion that enriches and blesses our life when she is with us.
Prv.8:17-19 "I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver."
So how do we acquire wisdom? Obviously being transformed by God's word is a great place to start. I believe when our decisions in life are guided by the principles in God's word, we have orchestrated a great model to live our life by. I also want to introduce the thought that wisdom is acquired through our experiences, yes even through our failures. Some of our most valuable lessons in life happen through our mistakes. I remember as a child, being warned to stay back from the stove when my mom was cooking. Nothing convinced me of this more than the burn I experienced after placing my hand on the hot stove. Difficulties and mistakes are intended to shape us and point us in the path of wisdom. To be a quick study is to catch the value of the principle with the least amount of repetition.
There's a saying, "if something is not broke...don't fix it". In other words, "Don't tamper with what is working". If we never experienced failures, if we never had set backs, would we ever change? Why would we? God is directing our steps and He uses everything for the purpose and opportunity to draw us closer to Him. I love Max Lucado's quote,
"God loves you just the way you are. In fact, He loves you so much that He refuses to leave you that way."
God doesn't change, but He does want us to change. Many times when someone commits a crime and gets locked away in prison, we believe God's judgment is on that person's life. When in fact, this is God's grace. If you are doing something wrong the worst thing that can ever happen is for you not to get caught. If there is no negative consequence, why would you ever change your behavior? I'm so thankful that God doesn't jeopardize our development for the sake of our comfort.
In the New Testament, the Hebrew believers are discouraged and ready to give up. Hebrews chapter 10 shares how at one time, many of these believers had joyfully accepted the confiscation of their homes and property because of their faith. But now discouragement has set in, the trials and struggles have become too great. What the Hebrew believers have lost sight of, is that part of their opposition and struggle is simple the Lord's discipline at work in their life. This is the reality of a father/son relationship. Children receive discipline from their fathers. The Lord is disciplining them so that they can one day share in His holiness. The writer of Hebrews reminds them of what is written in Proverbs chapter 3.
Heb.12:5-6 "And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: 'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son."
Often in times of difficulty we come to the conclusion that the devil is trying to destroy our life, when it is our father trying to save our life. The Lord disciplines, rebukes, and punishes those He loves, so that His children may one day share in His holiness. If we never experienced failures or set backs, why would we ever change? If it ain't broke, then there is no reason to change anything.
So how can we apply this to our own lives as individuals and as a church? What difficulties are we presently experiencing? What is God trying to teach us? In what way is God wanting us to change? What wisdom is our father wanting us to acquire through our present experiences?
A definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.
Our God does not change, but He is always wanting us to change, to grow and mature. It's worth repeating, to be a quick study is to catch the value of the principle with the least amount of repetition.
I believe with all of my heart that God is calling us to join together. To fast and pray, through this season in which we are currently in. God's word says that we will "seek Him and find Him, when we seek Him with all of our heart."