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]
We spend a lot of money and time trying to gain knowledge and understanding. Some of us have huge student loan debts. Some of us have shelves or tablets filled with books. I know many people who have numerous degrees in various fields. I am very thankful for my college education, and I learned a lot; however, the granter of wisdom is the Lord. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Many people spend a lifetime trying to understand life, not realizing that the LORD grants wisdom—knowledge and understanding come from His mouth! Some people dig deep into books and learn so much, yet they deny our Father. They can speak volumes of facts, but do not know the Source of all wisdom. As a result, they do not know the truth. They miss the greater revelation of Christ Jesus. It’s sad.
Today, spend some time with He Who grants wisdom. Dig into the Word. Seek His wisdom. Pray for wisdom. Ask for Him to reveal His truth to you. Ask for knowledge and understanding. He is the wisdom granter.
“For the LORD grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6 [NLT]
[The Unproductive Fig Tree: Luke 13:6-9, Withered Fig Tree: Matthew 21:18-22]
Colossians 1:9-10 – “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [NIV]
*BEARING FRUIT IN EVERY GOOD WORK*
- Filled with the knowledge of His will
- Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
- Bearing fruit in every good work
INTERNAL FRUIT + EXTERNAL FRUIT
Internal Fruit – Deeper walk with God which produces: Fruits of the Spirit
External Fruit – Abiding in Christ impacts relationships and increases effectiveness of your ministry
Galatians 5:22-23a – “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [NLT]
John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” [NASB]
John 15:8, 11 – “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples… I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” [HCSB]
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-21 [NIV]
Bible Study Questions:
1) Looking at the Parable of the Unproductive Fig Tree, who is:
The Vineyard Owner –
The Vineyard Keeper –
2) The Keeper of the Vineyard pleas with the Owner to give another chance. What does this say to us?
3) In Matthew 21:18-22, we read of the Withered Fig Tree. The fig tree bears a false resemblance of one that would have fruit. How can we appear to be fruitful but not yet not bear any fruit?
4) What does the Withered Fig Tree represent to us? What can we take from this message?
5) Read Colossians 1:9-10. The passages mentions being filled with the knowledge of His will, to walk in the manner worthy of the Lord, and about bearing fruit in every good work. How can we:
Be filled with the knowledge of His will?
Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord?
Bear fruit in every good work?
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.
“Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.” – Job 10:8-12 [NIV]
“You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.” – Job 30:21
“You have become cruel” (NLT) – basically saying God changed toward him.
1) God does not change
Malachi 3:6a says, “I am the LORD, and I do not change.” (NIV)
Job realized that God was gracious, kind, and his Creator
But thinks God changed because of his situation.
2) God does not think like us
“’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LORD. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’” – Isaiah 55:8 [NLT]
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:16 [NASB]
3) We cannot understand everything
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 [NLT]
“I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.” – Ecclesiastes 8:17 [NLT]
“God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep that it is impossible to explain his decisions or to understand his ways.” – Romans 11:33 [GW]
“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5 [NLT]
4) Ask – Show me Your ways
Moses said to God, “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.” – Exodus 33:13 [NLT]
“Now show me Your glory” (v. 18)
I want to KNOW YOU
I want to SEE YOU
I want to BE IN YOUR PRESENCE
Psalm 103:7, the Psalmist writes,
“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” [NASB]
God’s ways must be MADE KNOWN.
- He MADE KNOWN them to Moses
- Ways – Intimate Relationship
- Know God (Hosea 6:6)
- To the Israelites He taught them by His actions, but his words were concealed. The relationship wasn’t the deep relationship like that He had with Moses.
- Works – Observation – What God does
- Parting Red Sea / Water from Rock / Walls of Jericho
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
– Jeremiah 29:13 [NASB]
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8a [NLT]
“I long to look on the face of the One that I love
Long to stay in Your presence, it’s where I belong”
(Jesus Culture “Show Me Your Glory”)
Since my kids went to the Creation Fest, I had some time freed up to allow me to do things I do not so often get the opportunity. I gladly accepted a dinner invitation from my aunt. When we were relaxing and having conversation, she asked me who is Mark Best.” I responded, “I don’t know, who is he?” I thought she was telling me a joke. Then she pointed to my hand.
On my hand was a typical scrawling of some passage I wanted to look back to when I had the time to sit down with my Bible in hand. I had the normal lunch date with God earlier in the day but there was a passage that I wanted to reflect upon more. The passage was from Mark and at a first glance I could see why she thought it said “Mark Best.”
I’m sharing this with you because I want you to grasp the importance of understanding God’s Word and remembering God’s Word. When there is a verse you want to remember, to really remember, write it down. Keep a journal. Take notes in your Bible. Keep it close till it’s written on your heart. When you have a question, write the passage or verse down. Seek guidance to understand better. Approach your pastor. Pull out a commentary. Read the passage in another translation. Today, make it a Mark Best day.
“How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
I won’t forget a word of it.”
-Psalm 119:9-16 [MSG]
We tend to complicate things as humans. I have seen so many writings and videos providing instructions that seem unnecessary. The problem is we overcomplicate things even to the point of piling on extra baggage. In Hosea, it says that God does not want sacrifices above all else—he wants us to show love. Further, he doesn’t want burnt offerings—he wants you to know him.
Jesus Christ came to earth to pay the price for our sins so that once and for all there would no longer be this separation between us and God. Nothing ever again can get in the way of the relationship we have with God—that is unless we allow it. Unfortunately we often overcomplicate things. Some of us are legalistic. Some of us focus so much on sacrifices and offerings, but we lack the love. We put other things above knowing God.
You might love things and love people, but do you show love? Consider how you showed love this week. Is it a daily thing? Is it a way of life? You might know your neighbor but you don’t know your neighbor like you know your spouse. You know a spouse differently. God wants for you to know him in this type of way. That requires time. That requires a desire to know him. But it’s not a complicated thing to show love or to know God. Focus on him. Complications are just stumbling blocks.
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [NLT]
We all have different images that come to mind when we hear the phrase “tragedy.” In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote that “a great tragedy” was that people who would “work wisely with knowledge and skill” would end up leaving the fruits of their labor to someone else, “someone who hasn’t worked for it.” Imagine your job. You invest your whole life excelling and doing great things for your area of business. Then one day, all the reward for that hard work goes to someone else who was not around for all those late nights you put in at the office. Imagine working hard since you were of age to work, but then having it all taken from you to get a bed at the county nursing home. To many people, these examples are to them “a great tragedy.”
What we need to always remember is that we are only here temporarily. We are not here building a huge dynasty for ourselves, but rather, we are here to fulfill the purpose our Lord has planned for our lives. We each have a purpose—we each are significant and have a great contribution to make to the world. It is a great tragedy to work so hard and for it to seem meaningless. But it’s a greater tragedy when we do not know our true purpose in life—when we do not have a relationship with Christ.
We have a choice. We can work hard to have this “great tragedy” or we can work hard serving the Lord with joy. We can work hard to build up something here on earth or we can work hard so that God gets the glory He alone deserves. We will all face this great tragedy and it is a great tragedy—but we will receive something so much better than anything we could have here on earth. Let us continue to serve the Lord with joy, awaiting this beautiful, “great tragedy.”
“Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy.” – Ecclesiastes 2:21 [NLT]
“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”
– Daniel 1:17 [NIV]
Today’s verse says that God gave Daniel and his friends the knowledge and understanding. Now in this passage, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are all supposed to eat what the king has commanded. It was from the king’s table so one would believe it to be good—fit for a king. However, Daniel “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine,” and he asked if he could eat his own diet of food (v. 8). The official agreed to let Daniel and his friends eat what they wanted for ten days. After the ten days, they were “healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (v. 15). This could cause some people to have problems digesting.
So often we look at Daniel and his friends going against the king’s rules and following a special diet of vegetables and water. We conclude that these vegetables and the water provided the four young men with better nourishment, as the passage states, and that is what we take from this passage. However, we cannot forget that it was God who gave these men the knowledge and understanding. God was and is at the forefront.
There are times in our own lives when we use our God given gifts and resources and find great success. We start to attribute this success to our hard work, our talents, etc., but we need already remember that God gave us everything—God gets the glory.
Today remind yourself of what God has given you and take the time to thank Him.