Tag Archives: draw near to God

Fortune Cookie Devotion Series: Wisdom

I love Chinese food. I used to save the fortune cookies and give them to my daughter, but recently I’ve been cracking them open myself and seeing the fortune found within. I built up quite the collection on my desk and started to see the truth in them. May these “fortunes” bless you as they have blessed me.

“Professionalism is knowing how to do it, when to do it, and doing it.”

A professional is someone who is more advanced than an amateur. Today’s fortune cookie “wisdom” makes sense—a professional knows how to do something, when best to do it, and of course, can then do it. 

When I think about this term professional, I think of wisdom. True wisdom is defined as having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Wisdom helps a person to know not only how to do something, but when it actually should be done (if at all). There are situations in life when we may know how to do something, but we get the timing all wrong. There are moments when the greater act of wisdom is a response of not doing anything.

Each of us is on our own journey, and wisdom helps us to travel well. This wisdom comes from God (Ecclesiastes 2:26, Colossians 2:2-3). If you are ready for the best travel companion, draw near to God. He is the giver of wisdom. He will help you to be more aligned on His timeline. You can truly be a good professional, not just in knowing how to do something, but in knowing when to act and when to pause, when to speak and when to listen, when to stand up and when to yield. 

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

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Rabbit in the Weeds

My neighbor’s overgrowth of weeds has reached nearly 3 feet. It is a perfect hiding spot for a rabbit, that is, until my Labrador decides he wants to retrieve him. I keep him from having any success; however, this morning he did shock the rabbit he uncovered with his keen abilities. The rabbit, stunned and not really able to evaluate his options, ran right towards a pack of German Shepherds. He rebounded and finally found an escape route.

Watching the frazzled rabbit run from one point to the next haphazardly reminded me of how easy it is to get comfortable and feel safe somewhere only to find yourself under attack. This can happen in a relationship, at a job, in a circle of friends, and even at church. It is usually the people closest to us that hurt us most. We get comfortable. We feel safe. Then something happens. We all have moments, situations, events, etc. in life that shock us, open our eyes, hurt us, change us as people. We have the option to respond in whatever way we see fit. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we deny. 

When we run, like the rabbit, we are running from something, and there’s always a place we are running toward. Maybe we attempt to nurse our brokenness with some self-soothing methods that are almost second-hand nature. Remember the Golden Girls moments when the cheesecake came out of the fridge? Perhaps your soothing is going to the gym, taking a shopping trip, having a few (or more) drinks. We all have our vices; some of us have multiple vices.

Whatever your situation may be, spend time with God. Take refuge in Him. People change; God is unchanging. People are unfaithful; God is faithful. People are broken, not-perfect, and many times selfish; God’s love is unfailing, His ways are perfect, and He pours out His blessing in abundance. As you cling to Him, may you realize you were never meant to hide in the safety of the overgrowth—you were made to soar! The people in your life are not to be your safety net, but they are part of your life to love, to encourage, to serve. The financial security of a good job and money in the bank is not for you to sit back and coast through life, but to glorify God. Often, when you are chased from the overgrowth, you are led to right where you are meant to be at this very moment. Let the Spirit guide your steps from the weeds to all that He has awaiting. It might not appear to be better than the pile of weeds, but you can trust that God has a great plan. In faith, in obedience, in love – press onward and soar!

“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” – Psalm 143:8 [NLT]

“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” – Psalm 25:5 [NLT]

Best Friend and Shepherd

In Psalm 23:1, David declares that the Lord is his shepherd and he has all that he needs. The Passion Translation breaks it down as “The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.” Oftentimes in life, we find ourselves seeing God in one way and not fully embracing His many attributes. We want Him as Savior but we do not see Him as King as is evident by our life choices. We call Him our friend but that friendship doesn’t align with us seeing Him as our Shepherd. We want God to fit in a package we have designed just for Him.

If you draw near to God, you are promised that He will draw near to you. In His presence, you will continue to experience the revelation of God. As you seek His face, your eyes will be opened. You will realize that He can be both your best friend and your Shepherd. He can be both your Redeemer and the Lord Most High.

As you allow God to reveal Himself to you with each day, you will find that you always have more than enough. You will find that He is the best of best friends. You will find that His love is unfailing. You will find that He is your Refuge and Strength. Draw near today.

“The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough.” – Psalm 23:1 [TPT]

 

Stay True

Paul told the Philippians to “stay true to the Lord.” This is all about being totally committed to God, not letting anything come between you and your relationship to God. In Matthew 5, we read that those who are pure in heart are blessed. They will see God! How awesome is that?! Staying true to the Lord is having a pure heart—a heart for Jesus.

James speaks of a divided heart, a heart that is for the world and for God. This isn’t a pure heart. This is not staying true to the Lord. In James 4:7, we read that we should submit to God, resist the devil, wash our hands, and purify our hearts. We should stop being double-minded, and stay true to the Lord.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Do all you can to stay true to the Lord. When you find your heart divided between God and the world, ask that He give you a clean heart and a steadfast spirit (Psalm 51:10).

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.” – Philippians 4:1 [NLT]

Coming Closer

My dog Max is laying on the sofa by my side as I type this devotion. If I get up and go into the kitchen, I have moved away from him. We then are not as close in position. When it comes to God, some people will say they feel like God isn’t around, like He moved from them. But the truth is, it is they that have moved.

James reminds us that if we come close to God, He will come close to us. We simply need to reach toward Him, and He is ALWAYS reaching back.

Today, be intentional with your relationship with Jesus Christ. Recognize that if you dig into the Word of God, you will hear God speak. If you spend time in prayer, you will feel the presence of God. If you feel like God is faraway, take a few steps closer to Him and you’ll find you had strayed. Thank God, He continues to keep His arms wide open awaiting His children.

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” – James 4:8 [NLT]

Return to Me

People many times say that God is hiding from them, that they cannot tell if He’s around. The truth is that God never moved—you did! Again and again, we read in the Bible of people who fall short, people who do not walk with God. A holy God cannot look sin in the face. Even so, God is gracious and merciful. Again and again, He forgives us. Each day we are offered the opportunity of a daily cleansing, a new day. It is through Jesus Christ alone that we are able to stand before the throne as white as snow.

In Zechariah 1, we read about a call to return to the Lord. Zechariah declares what the Lord says, “Return to me… and I will return to you.” It’s that simple. Don’t allow it to be complicated. Don’t allow people to put stumbling blocks between you and God. Don’t think His grace and mercy are for everyone but you. Return to Him and He will return to you.

Every day we have an opportunity to decide which road we will take. Every day we can move closer to Jesus or in the opposite direction. When we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Today, take time to reach out to Him. He’s already reaching out to you.

“Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 1:3 [ESV]

He Restores

I have been studying Jeremiah this month. One of the most quoted verses in Jeremiah is Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Many times this verse is not used in the proper context. As you read the verses around it, you read of a people who is in exile. This does not sound like something desirable. The promise for a hope and future is made to the people in captivity. It was a promise to those who spent seventy years under the rule of others. It was a promise to bring back the people.

After the seventy years were up, just as promised, God delivered his people out of captivity. The people of God were able to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple and the city walls. God restored His people. Just in the same way, He is able to restore all that is broken. That includes you and I. For just as the earth and all it contains, you and I are broken. Praise God, He promises to restore us.

Though this verse speaks about a people long ago, God also promises us hope and a future (Hebrews 10:23). He also listens to our prayers (Psalm 77:1, 1 John 5:14). His Word also says when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Today, remember what the Psalmist wrote: “Trust in Him at all times… pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (62:8 NIV). Let Him continue to restore you by fixing your eyes on Him and following His leading.

“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on 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 will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’” – Jeremiah 29:10-14 [NIV]

All Your Ways

In Proverbs 3:6, we read “seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (NLT). One of the first things we can note is the verse speaks about “all your ways” or “all you do,” which is very easy to understand. ALL. ALL YOU DO. Everything. Completely everything. In all things, in all ways, in all that is done—we acknowledge Him. The “ways” speaks of journey, road, way or manner. The verse basically says in ALL of the journey, we acknowledge Him. We should spend our entire journey through life to point to Him.

So what does acknowledge mean? The translation is “to know,” or “consider,” or “announce,” “make known,” or “indicate.” We can only consider and know Jesus if we seek Him in all things and at all times. This seeking, is to seek to know Him in all—to draw Him into each situation. It means we acknowledge Him along the journey, in every step along the journey. It speaks of fellowship, an intimacy with God.

Today, remember to acknowledge that God is here with you—that He is right with you in your current situation. He is present. Draw Him into the situation. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in new and awesome ways. Ask Him to help you to see Him, to feel His presence, to grow closer to Him. As you continue to trust Him and draw near to Him, He will lead you down the straight path—a path that leads to joy, peace, and everlasting life.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:6 [ESV]