Posts Tagged ‘wisdom hunters’

The Pursuit of Wisdom

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

You become what you pursue. That being said, what are you chasing: worldly wisdom and activities, trivial amusements to help you pass the time, or God’s wisdom so that you can maximize your life and organization’s results? Below are important thoughts on the topic of pursuing wisdom from Boyd Bailey’s daily Wisdom Hunter’s devotional. Enjoy and prosper!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt.” James 1:5-6a

Pursuit. It is what we all experience. We pursue dreams, we pursue jobs, we pursue opportunities, we pursue a husband or a wife, we pursue hobbies, we pursue friends, we pursue adventure, we pursue good health, we pursue success, we pursue significance and we pursue happiness—to name a few of our positive pursuits. Indeed, what we pursue becomes the focus of what we do.

Pursuit is stated clearly as a priority in the United States Declaration of Independence: “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Over the course of history, the human race as a whole, would agree that the pursuit of good things is an inalienable right of individuals. Conversely, we can choose to chase after unhealthy pursuits like: greed, lust, power and pride. Wise pursuits facilitate good outcomes, while foolish pursuits produce bad results.

“The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame” (Proverbs 3:35).

Our pursuits make up who we are, thus it’s important that we pursue the right things. If you were honest, would a pursuit of wisdom make the top ten list of your life’s pursuits? Ask God if wisdom is His priority for your pursuits. If wisdom is the knowledge of what’s right and the judgment to rightly act on that knowledge, then anyone is capable of learning and applying wisdom. Perhaps—based on the day of the month—you begin by daily reading one of the 31 chapters in Proverbs. God gives wisdom to believing seekers.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Does the pursuit of wisdom motivate your actions? Is it a part of your portfolio of pursuits? If not, consider moving it up toward the top of your list. After all, wise-decision making affects all of your other pursuits. It could be argued that a life full of wisdom will lead to the most fulfilling life, but a life void of wisdom sets the stage for foolish living. What we pursue becomes the focus of what we do, so endeavor to seek God’s wisdom.

“Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it; the open-minded find it right on their doorstep” (Proverbs 14:6, The Message)!

Seven Truths about Tests!

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Everyone goes through tests in life. In fact, the biographies of famous men and women often highlight tests as catalysts for breakthroughs in the life of a highly accomplished person.

The Bible is also filled with stories of tests God put His people through in an effort to make them more usable for His purposes. This morning’s reading of Wisdom Hunters shed insightful light into life’s tests, and provoked the following seven takeaways I’ll share here:

1. What’s in our heart comes out under duress. If resentment resides in your heart, then anger appears. If forgiveness is found in your heart, then peace exudes when pressured by outside forces. The heart does not show its true colors until it faces a test.

2. It is under the fire of a test that the heart of the matter surfaces to the top. This is why someone is able to mask hurt over a lifetime of disappointment by ignoring its deep-rooted influence. You can hide what’s in your heart, but eventually a test will lure it out. And, its exposure is for your benefit. It makes you aware of the inner work you need to deal with to grow as a person.�
 �
3. During a period of testing, you may not gain more materially (in fact you may temporarily lose ground in this area), but you will become more personally. This becoming more prepares you for bigger and better opportunities.

4. Your current situation may very well be a test from God. He is squeezing your heart to see what is inside. It is healthy to flush out deceptive feelings that may be leading you to be fearful and to distrust. �
 �
5. One of the greatest benefits of testing will reveal that you have not developed spiritually, and still depend too much on yourself and worldly resources. The test can drive you closer to God through more intense worship and obedience. 

6. Persisting through a test in your own strength can jolt you into reality. You now have a desperate and fresh dependence on God. He is front and center in your thinking. The carousel of careless living has stopped, and you are dizzy with despair. It is at this point of dependence on God where you need to camp out. God’s test may be designed to separate you from your pride, shake you out of denial, and purge you from your comfort zone.

7. Your test may come through abundance rather than through lack. Perhaps, your wealth has exceeded all limits and expectations. Will you give it away or hoard it; stockpile worldly wealth or pile up heavenly treasures? This is a test of what is truly in your heart. Your prosperity can compete with your obedience to God, or it can accelerate it. Use the heavenly test of abundance for the transformation of your earthly thinking.

8. Your test may be to help you discover what motivates you. One reason that bad things happen to good people is to enable them to uncover their true motives and motivations. Tests are for a season. Tests are for a reason. Tests purify. Tests mature. Tests bless. Tests are for your good.

A Secret to Greater Success at Work is…

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

A successful marriage. That’s a secret to greater success at work. I’ve found that everyone from front line employees to business owners who are happier and more fulfilled at home, are more focused and productive at work. The joy, love, and respect they enjoy with their families strengthens their resolve to do well at work.  A happy marriage reduces their stress levels and anxiety while on the job. Today’s Wisdom Hunter’s Daily Devotional, which I’ve included below, speaks to the what is involved in building a successful marriage:

Successful Marriages 

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”   Ephesians 5:31

Even successful marriages are fraught with mistakes. Marriage lessons are learned by trial and error or trial and terror, as some husbands and wives have experienced. Indeed, successful marriages don’t just happen by chance. They are not created like a clock, to be wound up and never given attention.

You become one flesh in marriage, but in reality it takes a lifetime of hard work, forgiveness, love, and respect to enjoy oneness. One flesh implies unity of purpose. It is an alignment around beliefs and behavior, and if this is void in marriage, you become vulnerable to misplaced expectations and perpetual misery. Marriage requires at least as much work as work.

Hard work is a necessity for successful marriages. This seems obvious, but we tend to drift toward being spousal sluggards when we become intoxicated by apathy. However, hard work is the fuel that keeps a marriage moving forward. We see the fruit of hard work in our career and raising children, as it produces satisfaction and significance. But these results come from many hours of planning, communicating, training, and teaching. Indeed, your marriage is a direct result of the amount of effort you have expended.

Don’t expect a harvest of marriage success if the seeds of forgiveness, love, and respect have not been planted in the soil of humility and trust. Furthermore, the weeds of busyness have to be intentionally pulled out, before they choke out your love and friendship with your spouse. Busyness is the enemy of the best marriages, so labor toward a marriage with much margin. Robust marriages take time and trust.

Forgiveness in marriage means you take the time to say, “I was wrong” and “I am sorry,” and it means you take responsibility to confess your anger and selfishness. Moreover, it is the ability to not hold a grudge. God-like forgiveness forgives even before the offense has been committed (Colossians 3:13). It accepts apologies and does not bring up past hurts as a club of resentment. Forgiveness is the cornerstone in the foundation of a successful marriage.

Above all else, successful marriages are made up of unconditional love and radical respect. No wife has ever complained of too much love, or a husband of an over-abundance of respect. Love is emotional, physical, and volitional. Husbands, you are to love sensitively, intimately, and willfully (Ephesians 5:25). Wives, respect your husband out of love and loyalty.

Make sure he knows you are with him and for him, no matter what. Respect is devoid of fear, so you trust your husband because he is accountable to God. Furthermore, marriage is your laboratory for Christianity because you learn to live for the Lord by learning to live for each other. You die to yourselves and come alive to each other. Marriage is your mirror of obedience to Jesus. Successful marriages reflect your oneness with your Savior. Be a marriage success as God defines success.

Taken from the February 26th reading in Seeking Daily the Heart of God.

Wisdom: A Worthy New Year’s Resolution!

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

As we enter a New Year filled with both exciting opportunities and formidable challenges, I can scarcely think of a more helpful resolution than to become more wise. We could all benefit from increased measures of wisdom as we deal with finances, business strategies, relationships, health issues, our families, and more. To this end, I hope that you’ll find the daily devotional from Wisdom Hunters helpful. Take a look:

Wisdom Seekers

“The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.” 1 Kings 10:24
Wisdom is a cherished commodity. People are drawn to wisdom. It is attractive and winsome. Wisdom represents a word from the Lord so its value is enormous. Wisdom is one reason we attend church, listen to good Bible teaching, and engage with older mentors. Wisdom has to be sought out and asked for. It doesn’t come naturally; it’s a gift from God (Proverbs 2:6). Wisdom is precious and extremely valuable.

It is a gift that protects you from decisions that could haunt you for a lifetime. It is a gift that gives you the confidence to carry on or stop. Wisdom is a weapon God wields on behalf of his warriors. Wisdom cuts through confusion, and replaces it with clarity. It distills decisions into a sequence of small successes. It warns of impending danger.

The wise, however, are not immune to sin. A wise man or woman still needs accountability, maybe more so. Indeed, the wise are susceptible to pride (Jeremiah 9:23). A wise heart intermingled with pride thinks it can rise above the rules. It can be so subtle in the beginning, but its inner convictions begin to rot like a termite-infested foundation.

If pride is not kept in check, it will convert wisdom into cockiness. Sad is the state of a once-wise leader who allowed pride to water down his fear of God. Wisdom is God’s gift to carry out his Kingdom-initiatives. If spent on oneself, it becomes self-serving. So seek out the truly wise, those whose top priority is God.

A mutated wisdom suffers from spiritual malpractice, but a pure strain of wisdom gives spiritual life. It is wisdom—coupled with humility and obedience to God—that prepares us to finish well.  Authentic wisdom is appropriate in all situations. Search for it in the Bible, or through books, people, circumstances, film, life experiences, and creation.

Once you find it, don’t take it for granted. Thank God for wise outcomes. Use it for His glory and for His purposes. Allow wisdom to humble you, rather than give you a sense of superiority. We are all seekers of God’s wisdom. We will seek it until we get to heaven.

Wisdom is active and alive, and always in need of a fresh infusion from God. Use prayer as a bridge to the wisdom of God. Ask Him often for His perspective and His heart on the matter (James 1:5). Allow wisdom to draw you closer to your heavenly Father in worship and dependence on Him. Dedicate often your wise intentions to Him. Keep your heavenly Father as your filter for wise decision-making.

Be a generous dispenser of wisdom to others. Make time for people to get to know your heart, and understand the life-lessons God has forged into your faith (1 Kings 4:34). We all have wisdom we can offer to others. Carve out time just to listen to another’s travails. Their “top of mind” issues need attention. Be available to listen patiently with understanding, and then, in humility, offer options for their consideration. Wisdom is polite. It gives answers to all, when asked in a spirit of grace, as a fellow wisdom-seeker.

Seek wisdom and give wisdom—wisdom motivated by humble submission to God.

Happy New Year!

How to Find Peace in this Busy Season!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

The devotional I received from Wisdom Hunters by email today couldn’t have come at a better time. It speaks of finding peace in the midst of the Christmas rush; deadlines, meeting the expectations of others, and more. Take a look:

Peace On Earth

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

Peace on earth begins with peace in the human heart. It is the result of an inner transformation in you that affects all of your external conditions. So, for example, if a home is conflicted with angry adults, then peace will only come when their hearts have been captured by their peace with God. When Jesus enters the arena of life, He brings peace to those who submit to Him.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2a). Are you stressed out over meeting everyone else’s expectations during this holiday season? Is the pressure of buying gifts, planning menus and making year-end financial decisions pushing your patience to the edge? If so, inhale the peace of God and exhale the expectations of others. Be careful to not miss the joy of Jesus during this celebration of His birth. Focus on His desires, not those of others.

Peace on earth does not mean all wars will cease. As our Savior taught, “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Mark 13:7). In fact, many times following Christ means a clash with the mores of society, a discomfort with family members or a conflict with your work culture.

However, in the middle of our situations of unrest, we can rest in the Lord. The calming presence of Jesus was illustrated as He lay in swaddling clothes yet He was the world’s Savior. His peace pursues impure hearts—He came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). So begin by surrendering to your Master Jesus who began His reign in a humble manger.

Worship the glory of God in all of His goodness, mercy and grace. Wise men and women still seek Him, because He is the originator of wisdom and peace. His favor rests on those who rest in Him, who love and obey Him and who follow Him all the days of their lives. So settle down and seek Jesus. Replace your frantic pace with calm faith and make a loud noise of celebration  but with quiet resolute. Invite the peace of God to enter into your hurried heart. His peace settles all stress.

Lastly, use this season of celestial celebration to celebrate your salvation in Christ. Maybe bake a birthday cake for Jesus and sing happy birthday to your Savior. Dress up in His honor and read the Christmas story. Encourage the children and grandchildren to take on Bible character roles and act out that special day in Bethlehem. Most of all, by grace, be a model for a world without peace—the world of peace Jesus gives you.

Back to Basics: Lessons from the First Christmas!

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

I’m including a reprint of a message I received this morning from Wisdom Hunters, one of the Daily Devotionals that I study each morning. It’s timing during this busy Christmas season couldn’t be better! If you enjoy the reading, you may wish to check out the wisdomhunters.com website.

The First Christmas

The focus of the first Christmas was Jesus. It was His day. There was no competition from commercialism seeking economic gain. The gifts were given to Him. God was the recipient of gratitude and generosity. He was glorified on this day of salvation for all who would come to believe in Jesus as God’s only Son.

There was an appreciation for the Almighty’s descent into the decadence of humanity. There was no feuding from other faiths jockeying with each other for time in the Savior’s spotlight. On the contrary, there was a religious respect and humble worship from those who traveled great distances from their diverse origins of belief. On this day, Jesus unified sincere seekers of truth.

The first Christmas, however, was not without controversy. Politically, He was a lightning rod (some things never change). Government leaders felt threatened, as if a traitor had infiltrated their influence over the masses. Involuntary spies were sent to validate His presence. Once His birth had been verified, the powers-that-be went to work. Insecurity and fear drive people to commit irrational acts, and it was no different back then.

So what started as a celestial coronation for the Prince of Peace ended with jealous leaders taking severe and deadly action. The Christ-child was driven from their pitiful, but powerful presence. They destroyed other God-fearing people in the process. The community was cast into chaos when Christ was removed from their culture.

We can learn from the first Christmas to keep Christ central in our worship and our society. He is the wonder of our worship. He is the reason for our giving gifts. It is because we celebrate His birthday that we pause to pray, reflect, and plan to follow His will in a more robust and intentional manner. Our Master came to earth and made Himself like man.

He took on the form of a servant, though He could have crowned Himself as King. He pointed us to the love and forgiveness of His heavenly Father. The Christ-child was born of a virgin. He was God who dwelt among us; but sometimes we forget Him, even on His birthday. One reason we have failed to keep Christ in Christmas is we have failed to keep Him in some of our churches.

Why should the culture embrace the Christ of Christmas, when some of our churches have marginalized their Master? Let’s start by inviting the Almighty back into our churches with fresh and revitalized reverence in worship, evangelism, and discipleship. Let’s prayerfully and responsibly only “lay hands” on leaders who fear God, hate sin, love people, and teach the Bible. Christmas is losing its luster for the Lord because Christians have forgotten to fear God.

His birth is only significant if His death and resurrection are significant. The Christ of Christmas becomes compelling when we, as followers, flock to Him in faithfulness and obedience. Let all of us who name the name of Jesus revisit Him in the awe and worship of that first Christmas. Let’s exclaim, with enthusiasm to a hurting world, that He has come to heal broken hearts and revive sick souls.

We unapologetically celebrate His birthday with passion, because God is with us. He is transforming us into the likeness of His Son. Let’s make this Christmas like the first Christmas. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with forgiveness, joy, hope, peace, and love while we worship our Lord together.  The first Christmas fuels our faith and recalibrates us to Christ.