Ask God

Psalm 72:1
A Psalm of Solomon.
“Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s Son.”

When Solomon first stepped onto the throne of his father, David, he was overwhelmed by the task before him. He realized he was weak and inexperienced, and the responsibility of ruling the nation was too much for him to handle. He knew that the Lord was his only hope, and cried out to God for wisdom. This psalm is a poetic expression of an event recorded in 1Kings 3. There, we find Solomon encountering God in his dreams. Faced with the overwhelming task of leadership, God allows Solomon to request anything he wants. Solomon’s reply is essentially the same as is recorded here. He asks for wisdom to know how to lead the nation.

Few of us are kings or even politicians, but all of us have responsibilities that are too much for us to handle, and all of us face seasons in life when we do not know what to do. James explains what we should do when we face those trying times,

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Whatever you might be facing, it is comforting to know that we can seek wisdom from God and He will supply it. Solomon found that God gave him much more than he could have ever imagined. Sadly, as time went on, the king became self-reliant and drifted from the Lord, who had been so gracious to him.

Pastor Jim

Limitless

1 Kings 7:13-14
“Now King Solomon sent and brought Huram from Tyre. He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a bronze worker; he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill in working with all kinds of bronze work. So he came to King Solomon and did all his work.”

Solomon’s reign was the golden age for Israel. David’s exploits had created peace, which allowed for the economy to flourish and the nation to go through a building boom. Across the landscape, Israel was building lavish structures for the king and his kingdom. When it came time for the plans to be enacted and the work to begin, Solomon brought in a skilled builder from Tyre named Huram. The text gives us three interesting details regarding this man. First He was filled with wisdom, second he was skillful, and third he was the son of a Jewish woman and a man from Tyre. Tyre was a Phoenician city on the Mediterranean coast north of Israel. This meant it is likely that Huram was the son of a believing mother and unbelieving father. Like Timothy, he would have grown up in a mixed home. This often creates confusion in children, but in this case, he grew to be mightily used by God for  the kingdom, by using his talents for the Lord.

Many of us are faced with less than ideal situations in which to follow Christ. For some, their spouse is not following Christ, or they have a prodigal child. For others, they seem to be the lone believer at work, and others live in an area without a strong bible teaching church, to help them walk out their faith. This passages provides great encouragement; knowing it is possible to accomplish great things for the kingdom, even when we are faced with troubling and trying experiences.

Let’s take a page from Huram’s book and not let our difficulties limit our commitment to Christ.

Pastor Jim

 

Confusion

Hosea 4:6
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

The days of Hosea were very dark; the nation had wandered from the ways of God and idolatry was as common in Israel as it was in the pagan nations that surrounded it. Just about every hilltop was the site of an altar to one false god or another, and immorality was rampant throughout the land. While many factors led to their diseased spiritual condition, Hosea addresses the primary one. He says the people were so easily led astray because of their lack of knowledge of God and His Word. This was both the fault of the individual and of the leaders.

Way back in the wilderness, God set aside the tribe of Levi to assist the priests in ministering to the people. Along with helping in the sacrifices, and other worship ordinances around the Temple, they were spread throughout the land and given the responsibility to instruct the people in the ways of God. Sadly, in many cases, those who had been commissioned to teach the people, did very little to expound upon the Scriptures and instruct the people. Though thousands of years have passed, things are not so different today. Many Christian leaders have lost sight of the importance of teaching the Word of God to the people of God. Some have left the Bible for ritual, others have turned the sanctuary into a political platform, and still others seem to think the purpose of the pulpit is to entertain the people or to stir them to a frenzy. You might not be able to control what happens in the pulpit, but you can control what pulpit you place yourself under. Be sure you are attending a church where the Word of God is being taught.

The leaders were not the only ones who had failed to teach the Word. God designed the home as the primary place where children are instructed in the ways of God. Sadly, many families gave up that responsibility expecting others to care for the spiritual needs of their kids. We do not have to be a scholar to instruct our children from the Bible. All we need to do is spend time in the Word with our children, and search the scriptures for direction when we face a situation we do not know how to handle.

Much of what is wrong in life can be resolved by simply becoming familiar with what the Bible says, and putting it into practice in our daily lives.

Pastor Jim

 

Wise Guys 

Proverbs 2:6-11
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, . . . “

Wisdom can be defined as the proper application of knowledge in any given situation, or simply knowing what to do. We have all felt, at times, that we do not know what to do. We are faced with a problem, and are crippled with indecision. It is comforting to know, God promises to give wisdom to His children. The question that remains is, how do I get my hands on the wisdom He has? There are at least three simple steps.

First, we must understand there is a difference between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of this world. Not all advice is godly, and not every direction will lead us closer to Him.

Second, we must cry out to God for His wisdom. James wrote that if we lack wisdom we must ask Him for it and He will give it to us (James 1:5). Solomon wrote that we should search for it as you would for a precious treasure (Proverbs 2:4). When we do not know what to do, we should look up to Heaven and cry out for help.

2 Chronicles 20:12 “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

Finally, wisdom is acquired by asking God, and looking into his Word. Since the wisdom of God differs from the wisdom of the world, the means by which we find it, will also differ. Heaven’s wisdom is not found on the TV screen or at the box office. It is rarely listed in the advice columns, or even in university text books. Instead, the wisdom of God is found in the pages of His Word. When Israel was about to enter the Land, God told them, if they followed His Word, the nations around them would be stunned by how brilliant they seemed. They would ask where they acquired such know-how and wisdom. Their answer is recorded for us:

Deuteronomy 4:6 “Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’”

When we apply the Word of God to our lives, we will find that our own lives are better, and we become a witnessing tool to those around us. Let’s be careful to seek wisdom as a precious treasure.

Pastor Jim

 

Wisdom

Proverbs 1:7
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

We often find ourselves in the middle of situations where we do not know what to do. Arriving at a fork in the road, without road signs, we feel lost and confused. Often, the most difficult concern is the fear of making a bad decision. The Bible promises, in those times, the believer can call out to God, who will give us a liberal serving of wisdom. No matter what you are facing, the Bible will direct you to a good and godly decision. The purpose of the book of Proverbs, is to provide heavenly wisdom for earthly living. Solomon begins this long journey, consisting of hundreds of nuggets of godly advice, with the secret to obtaining wisdom. He tells us, all wisdom and knowledge must begin with a healthy fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord might be best defined as simply desiring to be pleasing to the Lord. The first step to problem solving is to ask ourselves, “What is most pleasing to the Lord?” If you are facing a problem in your personal life for which you need heavenly direction, the first step is to ask what God wants you to do. It is vital to remember, the answer to that question will be found in the pages of your Bible.

One of the most important of all the proverbs Solomon penned, is a word of warning found in Chapter 14.

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

Instead of trying to figure things out on your own, or doing only what you think is best, take the time to look into the pages of God’s Word and do what He says.

Pastor Jim

 

For Or Against 

Ezekiel 21:3
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I am against you, and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off both righteous and wicked from you.'” 

Paul penned some of the most encouraging words ever written when he wrote,

Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

The illustration is quite powerful. If God were standing on your side, clad in armor and with sword drawn, it would not matter what enemy was standing against you. Clearly, no force in heaven above or earth beneath is any match for the mighty power of the living God. Ezekiel, on the other hand, paints a picture that is disturbing to say the least. He describes the Lord, with sword in hand, not standing on our side, but standing against us. The message is equally as clear. Ezekiel is declaring that if God is against us, we have no hope of standing.

Perhaps the most important question to ask is whether God is for you or if He is against you. The answer is determined by the lifestyle you are choosing to live. If you have received Christ, are allowing he Word of God to light the path of your life, and live accordingly, then you can say with confidence that God is for you. All His resources are at your disposal to help you live a life pleasing to Him. You will find His peace in the storm, his strength in your weakness, and  that He can turn tragedy into times of personal growth and sanctification. If however, you have not received Christ, or as a believer, you are choosing to ignore the clear teaching of Scripture and follow your on rules, you will find that God is against you. He will not bless a life of sin and rebellion. You may live for quite some time without reaping the consequences of your sin, but the day will come when things will begin to unwind before your very eyes. Life does not have to be that way. Whatever you are doing in violation to the Word of God can be set aside, forgiven, and sweet fellowship with God can and will be restored.

Don’t go another minute living without God being for you.

Pastor Jim

 

I’m A Little Lost 

James 1:5
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Wisdom might best be defined as “knowing what to do.” In life, we are constantly faced with circumstances in which we have no experience. We are left wondering what in the world we should do. When James writes, “If any man lacks wisdom…” he is not suggesting that only some of us are in circumstances for which we do not have solutions, but that ALL of us are in constant need of wisdom. The word “if” could also be translated as “since.” The question is not really if we need wisdom, but rather how do we get it?

Wisdom is received in at least 4 ways. First, wisdom comes from experience. If we touch the hot stove, we have learned not to touch it again. Second, wisdom can be received by listening to those who have gone before us. My children learned not to touch the hot stove, not by burning their fingers, but by heeding the warnings of mom and dad. Third, wisdom can be given supernaturally. One of the gifts of the Spirit, given to the child of God, is the “Word of Wisdom.” We saw it in action in the book of Acts when the church was facing an unfamiliar and perplexing dilemma. The solution is given to James that satisfied all involved and provided a solution to the problem (Acts 6:1-7). Finally, wisdom is also received through prayer. That is the subject of James’ exhortation.

Colossians 2:3 “. . . in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Paul reminded the Colossians that all wisdom is hidden in Christ. There is no circumstance which we face that He does not know the best course of action. This wisdom, he says, is hidden in Christ, which requires that we seek Him in order to receive it. We seek that wisdom by taking our situation before the Lord in prayer. “Lord, I am facing this decision and I really do not know what to do. I pray you would show me the right way to navigate through this.” Once we have taken our request to the Lord, we must wait for an answer. This is often where the Christian sways. We forget, while prayer is the way we take our needs to the Lord, His Word is the way He communicates with us. If you want to hear from the Lord, you must crack open the pages of your Bible and read. In addition to daily reading through the Bible, it is a good idea to look up verses that directly target the circumstances you are in and put their teaching into practice in your life. It is through His Word that God will give wisdom to His children.

Pastor Jim