Wisdom – Having an Understanding Heart

God hasn’t created us for a life that is lived aimless and without direction. We are actually created to walk with reason and full of purpose. In fact he has prepared good things for our lives in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Eph 2:10) Many people live their lives without the feeling that their life serves any real purpose but when we begin to access God’s perspective we start to see that we were created with eternal purpose and destiny. He has great things set aside for us each day… All we need to do is listen.

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Foolish people are generally rash, senseless and without purpose or reason. God wants us not to walk rashly but to rather be increasingly attentive to what the Holy Spirit is telling us throughout each day. He desires that we walk in wisdom and with a heart that is careful to hear what his still small voice is saying. To hear this voice sometimes we have to turn down the volume of everything else in our lives. Sometimes to hear Him it requires that we literally turn everything off and step away. It can sometimes cost us our comfort of convenience to hear God’s voice. We just might have to turn our TV’s off or get off our social media for a few minutes to hear His voice.

I was thinking last night about how differently I would live if I really believed I could access the voice of the almighty, eternal, all powerful living God anytime day or night. If I had a full revelation of this, I don’t think I would let anything distract or divert me. If I knew I had access to some great figure like the president tomorrow morning at 10am, I would probably make some room in my schedule for that meeting. I might even make a special sacrifice just to meet him. The amazing reality is we have 24/7 access to someone far greater than any super-star athlete or political figure! When we realize the great potential of this reality we begin to set aside more and more time to be with him. We begin to long for more time with him in the moments of business and distraction. We can’t love God too much.

To “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17) we must have a listening heart that is always open to the Holy Spirit. We can trust every guiding from the Spirit because He cannot lie to us. (Num 23:19) This amazing reality for believers of Jesus Christ means that we have unlimited access to an eternal wealth of wisdom inside of us in the Holy Spirit. All we need to do is learn to listen to Him. We gain true wisdom when we simply learn to hear the voice of God in our inner man (mind, will, heart…) and to be obedient to anything and everything that he says.

When God visited Solomon in 1 Kings 3 in a dream he told Solomon he could have whatever he wanted. Solomon told God he wanted an understanding heart. Solomon’s greatest desire was to be able to hear the voice and direction of God in his heart and then carry out in obedience what God was saying. Today God is proposing the same question to each of us who are followers of Christ; “Ask and it will be given to you..” (Matt 7:7), “Ask what you desire and it shall be done for you…” (John 15:7). Will we choose to ask God for the same thing that Solomon did? When we choose to seek after the things of the Kingdom then we can trust that all the rest of the things in life will surely be added to us. (Matt 6:33)

“Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know…” Eph 1:18

Today ask God for a listening heart. Ask him for a greater desire to listen to His voice and His direction in everything. Tell him what struggles you have in hearing his voice and how you may want things to change. Be honest and open with Him! Ask him to let you hear his voice in a fresh and new way today…

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“Connecting” – A Book on Mentoring

Reading the book “Connecting” has really opened my eyes to the wide variety of mentoring relationships that are available and needed. I had never thought of many of the suggestions that they mentioned through out this book and also how important having contemporary and historical models in our lives are. The whole book really brought to my mind the importance of finishing well. It was surprising to hear that so many leaders that start out really well end up finishing poorly.  This realization really motivated me to live a life full of accountability, mentorship and in community with others.Image

Immediately as I was reading the book I was able to assess my own relationships and see some areas that were not covered well. I saw that I had consistent coaches and people that would occasionally speak into my life but no spiritual guides or a person really discipline me. Since I began reading about that I found someone to help me as a spiritual guide as I move forward with some tasks that are really overwhelming and a lot bigger than I am used to. It was great to set up this formal relationship with a local pastor who offered to offer monthly guidance until my goal is reached!

Also, I really felt the Lord leading me to come into a closer discipling relationship with a leader. I could feel a sense of urgency that I need to always practice humility and have people speaking into my life, especially on a closer level than I might be used to. I really want to finish well and have seen through this book that it is vitally important to set these relationships up very intentionally to help ensure that I have guidance.

The last chapter in the book about finishing well really offered a lot of great advice that the authors had gathered from their research of hundreds of biblical and contemporary leaders. One great point that they make is that the greatest cause of them not finishing well was a lack of inner integrity. They make a really great point in saying, “The secret to inner integrity is intimacy with Christ.” To me this whole chapter really showed me that the key factor to finishing well in what God has called me to do is to maintain intimacy with him no matter what. It has become clear to me that abiding in the 1st commandment is the key to living a life of integrity and character.

Through reading this book I now see the vital importance to having leaders, peers and people I am mentoring speaking into my life. My goal after reading this book is to try and cover all the bases to ensure that I have a good balance of people above me speaking into my life and people next to me helping with accountability and encouragement. I think that this book is great for any leader who has a passion to lead well and finish well in the task God has given them!

Standing

As we live a life of faith we are called to stand. When we stand physically together in a worship service we are actually celebrating the glory of Christ’s resurrection that took place on the third day. Also, whenever we stand metaphorically in our lives we demonstrate the power of Christ’s resurrection and the re-birth that we can all encounter when we give up everything we have to follow Him.

standing boyResurrection (gk. anistemi) – is a word that describes the raising from the dead, the physical rising and also means the act or cause of being born. This word actually comes from two different root words. The first word it comes from is “ana” which means to be among or in the midst of something. The second root word is the greek word “histemi” which means to stand, stand firm or to rise. When we choose to stand in unison as a group of believers we are in the midst of standing or rising. When we stand we are memorializing the resurrection of Christ. We are also expressing the supernatural act of being born again in a physical way. Standing is an outward expression of the supernatural occurrence that takes place in every new believer at the time of salvation. When we stand together we do this in worship and commemoration of the rising of Christ and the rising of a new life that we now have in him.

The bible also talks a lot about standing in other ways and I believe that there are three great ways that in standing we can demonstrate the glory of Christ’s resurrection for all the world to see.

  1. Standing in the Gap –“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land…” (Ezekiel 22:30)
    When we take time to stand in the gap for our families, cities and our nation through prayer and intercession we are bringing new life and resurrection to these situations. We are petitioning to see old, dead things brought to new life through the power and grace of God. The Lord is calling us to not merely talk about all the problems we see in our circumstances but rather to stand in the gap and bring heaven to earth in those situations. God is still looking today for people that will be willing to stand in the gap for cities and nations to see resurrection life come to even the most desperate situations.
  2. Standing Firm – “Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.” (Eph 6:13-14)
    When we stand firm in the midst of trials and temptations we are displaying the glory of Christ’s resurrection for all the world to see. We do this by holding onto the truth and not allowing ourselves to be intimidated by lies. We also stand firm by walking in the righteousness of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and His empowering grace. We maintain our position and keep standing by staying in the truth and guard our hearts by living a life of righteousness. When we are able to stand firm even in the midst of the most terrifying of storms, we are displaying the power of Christ’s resurrection to those around us.
  3. Standing for Justice – He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind” (Luke 4:18-19)
    When we stand for justice we are contending for a resurrection and re-establishment of God’s original purpose and plan. We stand for justice when we demonstrate God’s goodness and make the wrong things right. In Mark 16 Jesus leaves us with a final commission to preach the good news, to heal the sick, and see the dead come back to life. When we allow God to use our lives, by his grace, to bring His kingdom then we bring His justice to the earth. When we stand for justice by rescuing the captives, healing the sick and seeing people set free from bondage then our lives display the glory of the resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Standing is not always easy but it is something that we are empowered to do here on earth by God’s grace. Even if you cannot physically stand today, you have the capacity to stand in other ways for the Lord. Let us all allow ourselves to stand in the gap, stand firm in righteousness and stand for justice in all that we do so that our lives can display the glory of Christ’s resurrection.