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Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Proverbs”

Spiritual Footholds

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The Bible warns us not to give the devil a foothold. But what is a foothold and why is it so dangerous?

And do not give the devil a foothold.Ephesians 4:27 (NIV)

When I hear the word foothold, I imagine a mountain climber scaling a steep incline. A foothold is a place where a person’s foot can be placed to support them securely, especially while climbing. It is a reliable position from which further progress may be made. A foothold can be a good and necessary thing. But when you add the devil to the equation look out!

We are told that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Paul refers to our earthly bodies as a tent in 2 Corinthians. As you read on, consider your body a type of residence.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.2 Corinthians 5:1 (NIV)

The warning God speaks of has to do with our emotions. The devil preys upon feelings of anger, bitterness, depression, guilt, shame, fear, and worry. Examining the verse in front of Ephesians 4:27 provides us with more information. It explains how we provide the devil with footholds.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)

Ephesians 4:26 is not referring to a just anger due to sin or unrighteousness. Rather, sinful anger hurts others. Proverbs 22:24 tells us to avoid those who are quick to anger and Proverbs 29:11 calls those who give full vent to their rage, fools.

It takes discipline to take every thought captive, but it is a sure way to keep the devil from our door. When we succumb to self-pity, depression, or any other negative emotion, we allow the devil to get a foot inside our house. Ephesians 4:26 instructs us to deal with our anger before the setting sun. In other words, do not let anger fester in your heart for very long. Take care of it quickly. Resolve the matter otherwise, it can lead to bitterness and a multitude of negative emotions. This can be applied to worry, fear, shame, depression, or any other emotion that does not glorify God. Seek help in prayer and through the Body of Christ.

When we provide the devil with a foothold and we do not slam the door on his foot, he will push his way into our abode. Once inside our home, he is no longer a foothold but rather a stronghold. He has gained more control. It will take a lot of “work” to evict him. So, slamming the door on footholds and bolting the lock as soon as the devil withdraws his sore foot, is a much wiser option. The robber and thief would love to usher in havoc and rob your peace of mind. Prayerfully consider your emotions and ask God to rid you of any footholds the devil may have in your life.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

Iron Sharpens Iron

 

_Facing Adversity Cover Final jpg

An excerpt from my book Facing Adversity: Thoughts of Wisdom, Praise, and Promise

**Available on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Adversity-Though…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

IRON SHARPENS IRON

“Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

A dull knife is still a knife but far less effective than one that has been thoroughly sharpened. The same goes for Christians. A Christian who is lax in obtaining knowledge by way of reading scripture is still a Christian, but far less effective than a believer who reads the living Word daily and listens for God’s instruction. God will surely use both Christians for His purposes, but the one who is more spiritually minded will have greater success in leading others to Christ.

We were created for fellowship and a lone Christian is at a great disadvantage. Again, let me refer back to the knife analogy. A single knife sitting in a drawer, with no other blade next to it, will eventually grow dull and less effective in its purpose. The same goes for the Christian who neglects fellowship with other believers. They are that solitary knife growing duller and more foolish every day, due to the absence of a sharpening “blade.”

The people who cross your path in life have been placed there for a reason. Nothing is a coincidence and no meeting is by chance. Every person you work with, all of your family members, the homeless person on your street corner, even the neighbor next door has been placed in your life for some purpose. God has provided interactions with these individuals, although certainly in different measurements of intimacy. Everyone in your life is beneficial to your spiritual growth, and you in theirs as well.

“Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.” ~Corrie ten Boom

The individual who causes you the greatest annoyance is sharpening your capacity to love unconditionally.

Pride and Humility

Humility:Chambers

“The greatest characteristic of a saint is humility.” ~ Oswald Chambers

What is the first RECORDED sin mentioned in the Bible? Many of us might think of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. Yes, original sin did take place in paradise and was committed by the very first children of God. However, Satan committed the first sin RECORDED in the Word of God and Pride was his downfall. Shortly after his sin of pride, rebellion was added to his long list of transgressions.

“ ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ ”  Isaiah 14:14 (NKJV)

“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” Ezekiel 28:14-15 (NKJV)

Unfortunately, mankind is NOT immune to the sin of pride. Although sin is sin, and all sin leads to death, pride is often the root cause of many other sins. Pride wars against Christian humility, a virtue highly valued by God. In addition, remember what happened to Satan when God took offense to his pride. He fell…. And he fell hard!

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV)

Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.”   Proverbs 18:12 (NKJV)

Jesus, in absolute humility, stepped down from heaven and lived among man. He could have called upon a legion of angels to take out His enemies and at any time He could have returned to His Father’s throne room. However, with a love we cannot fully understand, He died for us and was humiliated by those whom He Himself created! Spit on and whipped, bruised for our transgressions, Jesus lived and died in humility and rose again. He conquered the grave and Satan knows it.

God was looking for obedience in His son, and Jesus was obedient to that which He was called. Selfless and humble, Christ regarded others above Himself. Take a minute to consider that measure of humility….. God, our creator, put us ahead of His needs and wants. Did He not take on the role of a servant? Did He not wash the feet of His disciples? Was He not born in a stable?

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”   2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)

We are told what is good and what the Lord requires of us.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”           Micah6: 8 (NKJV)

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Philippians 2:3 (NASB)

With pride in our hearts, we can’t see beyond ourselves. Pride repels the call to love others because, with it, we are caught up in our own self-love. Pride takes our focus off God. We forget that our Creator is the one who has given us everything: our looks and gifts, our talents and ideas, our intellect and successes in life.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”               James 1:17 (NKJV)

In no uncertain terms, God expects His children to walk with humility. The fruit produced from a humble life is the attainment of wisdom. Proverbs 8:11 is just one scripture that speaks of wisdom’s value.

“For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.”

When pride comes, then comes shame, But with the humble is wisdom.”   Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV)

Furthermore, a promise is given to those who walk in humility…. Honor.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”    1 Peter 5:6 (NKJV)

Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.”  Proverbs 15:33 (NKJV)

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”  James 4:10 (NKJV)

May we all take some time today to consider our ways and root out any pride that has taken root in our hearts. Let us avoid a fall like the one Satan suffered. Let us all ask if we have been claiming the glory that really belongs to God.

If we win a talent contest… are we remembering who gave us the talent in the first place? Are we using our gifts to bless God and the Body of Christ? Has pride given way to self-love and caused us to ignore those in need? Let us be completely humble, and ask God to remove the shame of pride and replace it with humility and grace. Then, let us walk as children of light and servants of the Most High.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NKJV)

Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” Psalm 25:8-9 (NKJV)

Facing Adversity: Thoughts of Wisdom, Praise, & Promise

_Facing Adversity Cover Final jpg

The last book of my devotion trilogy, Facing Adversity: Thoughts of Wisdom, Praise, & Promise, is now available on Amazon. Here is an excerpt from a devotion titled SUFFERING UNITES US ALL

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Adversity-Thoughts-Wisdom-Promise/dp/1503377989/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417501877&sr=1-5&keywords=Cheryl+Zelenka

“God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. Nobody is insignificant. We are, after all, created in the very image of God. This includes the homeless person living in a cardboard box and the abused child in a home of neglect. We all have a part to play in God’s divine design, and sharing in the sufferings of Christ is part of His game plan.

Suffering is an effective tool God uses to refine our spiritual character. Adversity is permitted, or sent, as a loving gift from heaven above. Perspective is critical here. God gives good gifts therefore trials are beneficial.

So how can our painful moments be of any use? How can something hurtful, shameful, or grievous actually be a blessing? Do not trials teach us valuable lessons? Do we not gain insight, knowledge and wisdom as we muddle through our adversity? Is this not something we can share with others? Healing and lessons of perseverance are not only a witness of God’s grace but also an encouragement to others.

The process of sanctification chips away self-reliance and causes even the most prideful of mankind to cry out for help, help that only God can provide. Learning to depend on the Father is a major lesson in our spiritual walk. When we trust Him with all things and remain peaceful in the midst of an uncertain fate, faith has carried us. Others will notice our manner and desire the same inner peace we exude. Life style witnessing is a powerful tool and useful in the work of the Great Commission.

Suffering unites us all. Each person has experienced pain. Therefore, we can compassionately connect with others through this common bond. No race, creed, social status or level of education can escape the reality of suffering. Because of this fact we have an open door, a first step in sharing the Good News. We can build relationships in many different ways and there is a fellowship of suffering, with Christ Jesus and with others.

Here then is the great blessing found in adversity. Because of the pain you endured, thanks to the grace of God, you are now equipped to encourage and bless others. Your victory over tribulation will give them hope.”

A Wise Man Holds Back Anger

*Prvb 29-11

“Anger and bitterness are two noticeable signs of being focused on self and not trusting God’s sovereignty in your life. When you believe that God causes all things to work together for good to those who belong to Him and love Him, you can respond to trials with joy instead of anger or bitterness.” ~ John C. Boger                        http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-anger-20-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2X4DVGzdI

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.” Proverbs 14:29 (NAS)

At some point, everyone loses his or her temper. For each of us there is a different trigger and reason for loosing control. The book of Proverbs calls a man who looses his temper a fool. Wisdom and patience is the key to battling your issues with anger.

We often loose our self-control; a Fruit of the Spirit, when something we want is delayed. There is the old saying, “Good things are worth waiting for,” but there are also many Bible verses that mention patience and waiting as well.

Numbers 14:18 tells us that God is “slow to anger and abounding in love.” We are to take God’s traits and strive to be imitators of Christ. If God is slow to anger then we should try to do the same. This requires righteous living so that the Fruit of the Spirit is evident in our lives.

Both patience and self-control are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as components of the Fruit of the Spirit. They help to keep anger issues in check. The trick is to live a righteous life so that these virtues are evident and manifest themselves in our every day living.

Our own selfish desires can also provoke us to anger. We quarrel with others when we don’t get what we want. We put our expectations onto others and forget to consider whether what we want is also best for them. Adults throw ugly temper tantrums without the excuse of being a toddler and it is very unpleasant to behold.

Stress can also trigger anger. We lash out and say things we later regret, which only complicates a problem even further. This is foolish and probably why the Bible includes more than one proverbs warning to keep watch over our tongue and fury. Nobody wants to be considered a fool. Nobody wants to be a fool. Heeding the wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs will allow us to be a better witness of God’s love.

ARE YOU LOOSING YOUR TEMPER AS OF LATE? DO YOU KNOW THE CAUSE? PRAY ABOUT IT AND ASK GOD TO CULTIVATE THE VIRTUE OF SELF-CONTROL.

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 (NKJV)

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?“ James 4:1 (NKJV)

“So then,my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 (NKJV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NAS)

This devotion is in my upcoming book FACING ADVERSITY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISE  Look for it on Amazon this December and find my other 3 books at this site   http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps

Christian Fellowship: Are You Read To Be Sharpened?

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A dull knife is still a knife but far less effective than one that has been thoroughly sharpened. The same goes for Christians. A Christian who is lax in obtaining knowledge by way of reading scripture is still a Christian, but far less effective than a believer who reads the living Word daily. Both Christians will be used of God, but the one who is more spiritually minded will have greater success in leading others to Christ.

We were created for fellowship and a lone Christian is at a great disadvantage. Again let me refer back to the knife analogy. A single knife sitting in a drawer, with no other blade next to it, will eventually grow dull and less effective in its purpose. The same goes for the Christian who neglects fellowship with other believers. They are that solitary knife growing duller and more foolish every day, due to the absence of a sharpening “blade.”

The people who cross your path have been placed there for a reason. Nothing in this world is a coincidence and no meeting is by chance. Every person you work with, all of your family members, the homeless person on your street corner, even the neighbor next door has been placed in your life for some purpose. God has provided interactions with these individuals, although certainly in different measurements of intimacy. Everyone in your life is beneficial to your spiritual growth.

“Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.” Corrie ten Boom

The individual who causes you the greatest annoyance is sharpening your capacity to love unconditionally. The family members who borrow money they can never repay have been provided for your benefit as well. They are the means by which God is instructing you concerning the very profitable lessons of mercy and grace. And finally, the friend who refuses to turn an eye when the sins of your flesh rise up is God’s precious gift to you. This friend, who fearlessly exhorts in love and practices dauntless accountability, is invaluable and a true treasure. They have surely prevented your foot from slipping more than once, and hopefully you have returned the favor.

Fellowship with the body of Christ gives us strength, especially in the presence of evil. These are dark days we now live and the temptations of the world are closing in all around us. We need faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who will hold us accountable and this includes church leadership. Pastors should seek out mature believers who are not afraid to speak honest words of encouragement and exhortation.

“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NASB)

The lamb who wanders off alone is the one most likely to be caught in the enemy’s snare. There is safety in numbers since more eyes are available to observe approaching danger. In turn, every precious lamb of God has a spiritual gift. The more sheep abiding in a flock, the more spiritual gifts available to use against evil.

Faithfully, God prepares and equips His children for each of their earthly tasks. He uses many people and surprising circumstances to train and equip each of us for battle, as stated in Proverbs 27:17. I pray that the men and women of iron now present in your life continue to sharpen your faith. May you be like a two-edged sword, mighty and swift in your attack and victorious over all evil in your path. Oh that we would all grind and hone our only offensive piece of spiritual armor… the sword, otherwise known as the living Word of God.

“Whoever heeds life-giving correctionwill be at home among the wise.”  Proverbs 15:31 (NIV)

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)

“A righteous man who falters before the wickedis like a murky spring and a polluted well.” Proverbs 25:26 (NKJV)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

“Fellowship means among other things that we are ready to receive of Christ from others. Other believers minister Christ to me, and I am ready to receive.”   ~ Watchman Nee

This devotion is from my upcoming book FACING ADVERSITY WITH WISDOM, PRAISE AND PROMISES. Check out my other books on Amazon at this site….

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps

 

 

A Reverent Fear For God

*Respect for the Lord RL

There is a fear of God that admiration enfolds with arms of  adoration. It acknowledges the absolute power of the Creator and the inconsequence of man. This holy and reverent fear is the beginning of wisdom, for it is wise to know ones place in this world…. And in the next.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

The Bible gives many examples of believers showing reverence for God. Abraham (Genesis 17:3), Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:5), Daniel (Daniel 10:15) and Joshua (Joshua 5:13) all fall on their faces in humble adoration and respect. In the New Testament, Mary Magdalene demonstrates her devotion for Jesus by pouring expensive perfume on His feet and using her hair to wipe them clean.

Because of pride, man often thinks too highly of himself and claims credit for that which God has achieved. It is dangerous to be wise in your own eyes. Stealing from God is no small matter, be it His plunder and goods or acts of might. Consider what happened to Achan (Joshua 7:20-25) and the arrogance of David’s soldiers when they demanded spoils for an unmerited victory. God had gifted them the spoils and the battle victory, it was not won by mere flesh and blood (1 Samuel 30).

“Do not be wise in your own eyes;Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:7 (NKJV)

When we live a life of contentment and satisfaction we provide the enemy with fewer foot holes to tempt us with. A fulfilled life leaves the adversary little room for traps. Temptation is harder to achieve with a saint living in peacefully with what God has provided. Evil will readily slip past the door of a contented man and seek out easier and less satisfied prey to devour.

“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction;He will not be visited with evil.” Proverbs 19:23 (NKJV)

Certainly a holy reverence is due our God yet, we have fallen away from positions of prostration during prayer. No longer is it a common practice to bend a knee during times of prayer or during solitary moments of thanksgiving and praise. Where has our reverence for God flown?

In mercy and grace the Savior freely gives atonement for sin. Yet, do flippant confessions and petitions show up in the throne room with an expectation of unquestionable forgiveness? This is my prediction. Is not a broken and contrite heart the sacrifice God expects when delivering His gifts of redemption?

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,a broken and a contrite heart~
These, O God, You will not despise.”Psalm 51:17 (NKJV)

Consider how you have been approaching God as of late. Are you entering into your prayer time with an awareness of His righteous sovereignty? Do you toss petitions at His feet without any thought for quiet meditation? Forgiveness is a precious gift and your prayers should be made with reverence and offered in awe.

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27 (NKJV)

“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” Proverbs 16:6 (NKJV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we mayserve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29 (NKJV)

“Fear the Lord and the king, my son,and do not join with rebellious officials,” Proverbs 24:21 (NIV)

A Fool Puts His Trust In Himself, Not God

Trust In Themselves R Fools Prv 28 DPI 27

“Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from ANY direction.”  ~Unknown

“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” Proverbs 28:26 (NIV)

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations.”          1 Kings 4:29-31 (NKJV)

A fool is a person lacking wisdom and common sense. They act imprudently and are easily tricked or deceived. If you wish to avoid the label of simpleton, dunce, blockhead, or imbecile I encourage you to seek out and find someone wise and sit at his or her feet for a while. Soak in their knowledge and try to apply it to your life.

King Solomon had many faults but he did appreciate the value of wisdom and understanding. He had the common sense to ask God for wisdom in order to lead the children of Israel. God blessed this son of King David with a wisdom so great it was known around the world. A fool leading a nation is dangerous and both King Solomon and God wanted a wise and competent ruler.

So, if King Solomon was incredibly wise, how did he fall into such great sin that it tore his kingdom apart? How could the ruler who built the first temple of Jerusalem fall into idolatry and turn away from God? I will suggest that pride had a lot to do with the downfall of this king, and possibly an unwillingness to seek out and accept wise counsel.

Pride leads to disobedience and King Solomon did not heed the words of Deuteronomy 17:16-17 (NKJV).

“But he (a king) shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’  Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.”

King Solomon was guilty of ignoring all three of these commands. Did he think he was above the law?

Oh, if only King Solomon had kept the company of insightful men who were willing to speak God’s truth! He may have been the author of such books as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes but ALL men are tempted and can easily find themselves entangled in sin. A lack of wise counsel and accountability for actions has been the downfall of many world leaders, kings, and rulers. Sin is not a disease assigned to just the common man.

So here is a warning and I pray you heed my counsel. You may be in a spiritually mature place right now. Your relationship with God might be intimate and close. The thought of ever stepping out of His will is beyond your imagination. But this is pride! We ALL have the capacity to fall away from God. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us to be alert and sober of mind for the devil prowls about like a lion looking for someone to devour.

The story of Solomon is in the Bible for a reason. We must learn from the mistakes of others and King Solomon made some real whoppers. The great can fall. The righteous can become unrighteous.  Sin has no prejudice and will latch on to anyone in sight.

You may be highly favored in the sight of God, just as King Solomon once was, but this will not excuse you from judgment and discipline if you ignore the commandments and instructions found in the Word of God. Our Lord has no favorites. He is impartial. Although longsuffering, He is also just.

Fools may read scripture but this doesn’t mean they apply the instruction to their lives or memorize and keep the words hidden in their heart. King Solomon stopped relying on God and trusted more and more in himself. He forgot the source of his wisdom, wealth, and power.

Oh, how the great have and will continue to fall! I desperately want everyone reading this devotion to consider his or her ways. Are you relying on God or have you put your trust in your own resources? Are you in fellowship and do you surround yourself with wise advisors? Does pride cause you to turn a deaf ear to instruction and has a sin distracted you from the things of God?

Learn from Solomon and fear God. For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom and the foolish do not desire or understand her ways.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

“On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’

And Solomon said to God: ‘You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place.Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?’

Then God said to Solomon: ‘Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge  are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.’” 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 (NKJV)

The Bible Is Your Coconut

Reminders Of God :Encouragement

“Do not say, “I will recompense evil”; wait for the Lord, and He will save you.” Proverbs 20:22 (NKJV)

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

Imagine you are on a desert island with no way to open the coconuts that lay at your feet. Now imagine that God sends an angel with a hammer to assist you. Instead of thanking God for His provision and help, you decide it would be better to starve and die before accepting His help. Oh, how foolish and prideful we are!

The Bible is our instruction manual. It is full of helpful and comforting advice and tips. We are fools if we don’t learn and apply the counsel and guidance it provides. In regard to the analogy in the first paragraph, the Bible is the coconut and the Holy Spirit is the hammer that breaks through any confusion we may have over Scripture. Our understanding is what then feeds and nourishes our spirit.

Isaiah 40:31 promises that the Lord will renew our strength. We may be weary from a trial or exhausted from fighting a spiritual battle, but the promises of God are always faithful and true.

If you have suffered a wrong or injustice, it is a common response to want immediate justice, even if it means you take matters into your own hands. However, God is our appointed judge and it is never your place to usurp His authority. He is just and all knowing, loving and compassionate. His mercy and grace is given to all men, even to the sinner who wounded you.

Our feelings will often get in the way after we have been wronged, or someone we love has been pained. We loose our perspective. A judge is impartial and fair. Therefore, we must let our God settle matters of injustice. He is our help and our shield. We must wait for Him to act and work things out…. In His time.

That’s right. I said IN HIS TIME. His timing is perfect!! God may set aside the immediate justice you seek because He knows that waiting to act will bring your abuser to true repentance, thus saving another soul from eternal damnation.

It could take years of God working on his/her heart before the justice you hunger for is fulfilled. This is where the promise in Isaiah 40 will sustain you. He will renew your strength and enable you to carry on with life.

Don’t let the enemy deceive you by saying God has overlooked the injustice of your situation. Waiting on the Lord takes faith, patience and self-control. Testings develop perseverance and deepen our trust in God’s faithfulness and love us. You may not understand the delay God asks of you, but with your heart simply trust in the true character of God and remember His love for you. Never doubt that He is just and fair.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall directyour paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20 (NKJV)

God Needs Humble Soldiers

Give Me your HeartPrvb 23

A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” Proverbs 29:29 (NKJV)

“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, 
And before honor is humility.” Proverbs 15:33 (NKJV)

It is not easy to submit and give another person authority over your well-being. It requires humility and trust. I say humility, because you have agreed to let them lead and guide. You are a foot soldier under the command of a General. You must follow his instructions and do what he orders, even if you don’t have all the details. Trust is necessary because of the position he holds over you.

These words speak of our relationship with God.  He is the General and we are His foot soldiers. We are to yield our wills and plans over to Him.  If He sends us out on a seemingly dangerous mission, we must trust that He has already equipped us for that assignment. He does not want casualties. He is always victorious in His spiritual battles! 

The blessing we must not forget is that our General is also our Father. Every time one of His children enters into battle, He goes before them. He is our commander but He is also our Creator.  He loves us more than we can fathom and His mercies are never ending.  This knowledge should aid us in trusting Him with our lives.

Unlike earthly Generals, we always have permission to “speak freely” to Him, offering up our ideas or concerns through prayer.  God longs to fellowship with us and want to hear our every thought. He will never turn a deaf ear to our prayers. 

However, we sometimes forget that a “NO” is also an answer to a prayer. Many folks believe that when a prayer request is laid at God’s feet, only a “YES” signals He has answered the prayer. This is just not true!  You will always get an answer for God, eventually. 

Maybe the answer is yes, and action is taken immediately.  Maybe it is yes, but it takes years to see the request answered.  Maybe it is yes, but answered in a way you never could have imagined. Maybe it is no, and you simply need to trust that God has your best interests at heart. 

It is with a humble heart we approach the throne of God and a trusting heart to accept His answer. It would be an arrogant soldier who tosses the Generals commands aside in order to carry out his own.  This General has all the details of every battle.  He has planned his moves with knowledge. If we make a decision with only half the picture, ruin is right behind the corner.

A soldier who obeys his commanding officer and serves in the face of danger, without all the facts, is a man of honor.  He will be praised in this world and in the one to come.  Pride brings a man low and dishonors him with a blemish hard to erase. Humility comes before honor.  We would all be wise to remember these words of wisdom.

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Meditate on these Scriptures and consider how to apply them to your life right now.                                                  

The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way. “ Psalm 25:9 (NKJV)

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud,
 but gives grace to the humble.’”  James 4:6 (NKJV)

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NKJV) 

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