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]
The Psalmist declares hate for every false way of life. Other translations translate this as hating the wrong path or false propaganda. The Hebrew word “sheqer” is used here, meaning falsehood or deception. The complete verse says that the commandments of God result in understanding. When we have this understanding, the result is then hatred towards deception and falsehood.
We can better understand life and move forward living for Jesus by following the commandments of God. As we do this, we grow in our understanding and in our faith. In time, we begin to detest that which is false. God reveals to us His Truth. We aim to live by His Truth. Anything apart from that is no longer acceptable as our eyes are opened.
There are still people today who live the false way of life. Some of these people have always been blind to the Truth, while others have traded the Truth for a lie (see Romans 1:25). Today, pray that God would reveal to you hidden things to grow your understanding. Take some time to pray for those who are still on the wrong path, that eyes may be opened to the deception. Thank God for His commandments who are just, perfect, and true.
“Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.” – Psalm 119:104 [NLT]
The Bible tells us to rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). This is very difficult, because we often find ourselves in circumstances that are not so delightful. Nonetheless, no matter what is going on in our lives, our heavenly Father is always deserving of honor, glory, and praise. This does not change with circumstances. Whatever happens – rejoice in the Lord!
Today, remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord. Take time to praise Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He has promised. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).
“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” – Philippians 3:1 [NLT]
Pride can really beat a person up, but perhaps you are too proud to admit it. In Proverbs 14:3, we read about a foolish person who is proud. When he opens his mouth, it is like a rod that beats him when he speaks. What a great visual!
The words of the proud many times beat those who hear; however, often the words come around and smack the proud speaker just the same. The proud speak offensive words that provoke others. The words of the proud do not only provoke others, but also blasphemy God.
The wise keep safe by the words they speak. The wise are slow to speak. The wise are Spirit-led. Today, consider if you are taking a beating from your words. Are you safe or beaten?
“A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.” – Proverbs 14:3 [NLT]
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]
Yielding to others is difficult. Try driving in a roundabout with everyone thinking they are justified in going first. There’s a pattern to the road plan that has given drivers a time to yield and a time for others to yield. The world tells us we shouldn’t have to yield. The world tells us that we are owed the opportunity to go first. The world has caused us to think we must rush around, without pausing to allow someone else to go, because there isn’t enough time.
Yielding to others is not simply something we are to do when we are driving. We are to yield to others in life too. Another way to say this is being reasonable or accommodating. You might consider this to be very sacrificial in some regards, or it could be something very small. At the end of the day, if we are not willing to yield to others, if we are not flexible and able to adapt for others, we will neglect those that God has placed before us. We will charge over them just like someone who rushes into a roundabout without acknowledging the yield sign.
Today, consider how you interact with others. Remember that we aren’t supposed to be stressed out and OCD over every area of life. We need to be willing to yield to others as we go through our days. This demonstrates our compassion for others. This is a way of surrendering to the fact that you are not in control. This is all about thinking more about the ministry than about your selfish desires or pride. If you aren’t at a place where you feel ready to yield, continue to fix your eyes above. Remember that this is a wisdom that comes from above.
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:17 [NLT]
Today’s devotion is hard to write. I must admit that as a pastor, this verse is one I think upon often. One day I was hit with this overwhelming truth—that my actions—my words and my deeds – could cause someone to stumble and fall. This great responsibility caused me to reevaluate everything. I asked the Lord to please reveal to me if I am being a stumbling block, and to give me the wisdom and discernment to not get in the way of His work and His people. I was deciding “instead to live in such a way that (I would) not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” This doesn’t mean I haven’t done it, but that I pray for more of Him and less of me. I pray that I can live in such a way to embrace and encourage others on their walk, pointing them to Jesus, speaking life, equipping the saints for His kingdom.
Fall on your knees today and seek the wisdom and discernment so that you, too, will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. Seek out the best interests of others. Live with the eternal perspective. Today, decide to live in such a way that you build others up, that you show the love of Christ, that you reach down and raise up. This is grace. It is the same grace that God has shown us when He reached down in our broken world, and through Christ Jesus raised us to new life. We are now co-heirs with Christ Jesus. Live in such a way.
“So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” – Romans 14:13 [NLT]
My daughter loves to sketch and paint. She has a lot of talent. Yes, I’m biased but you can look for yourself. Talent can get you so far in life, but experience is always necessary. God gives us all talents, but He also takes us through many experiences in life to grow us to properly use our talent.
In Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1, we read of the leader selection process in the Old Testament. Listed character traits include those who fear God, who are honest, who are wise, who are understanding, and who are EXPERIENCED. The wisdom and the understanding comes as we continue to fear God and walk with Him. The experiences of life, the dark valleys and high mountains of life that God leads us through, teach us and stretch us. It is through experience that we become more capable.
Each of us are leaders. We are created to be leaders. But we aren’t where we are meant to be in life, and we certainly aren’t the leaders we could be to those we lead. Allow God to use you where you are at right now. Keep your ears and eyes open. Ask for Him to use you. Don’t be selective. Allow the Spirit to lead you. Serve where He places you. Soak up the experience. Glean from what He has placed before you. God wants to teach you. He wants to raise you up. Don’t let yourself get in the way. To be a better leader in your home, at church, in your workplace, on the field, you need to humble yourself as a servant of Christ, and forever remember that He both qualifies you and places you. Always stay focused on Him; always point to Him.
“But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” – Exodus 18:21 [NIV]
“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.” – Deuteronomy 1:13 [ESV]