Gains In Spiritual Wisdom and Knowledge
Pastor Joshua Humpa
Verse of the Day:
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. (Ephesians 1:16-17)
I absolutely love YouTube. As a superhero fan who watches breakdowns of superhero movie trailers, as a homeowner who needs to constantly learn how to fix things, to finding videos to help communicate the Bible to kids. YouTube gives me instant access to anything I want to learn more about, all in the palm of my hand!
In the age of instant knowledge, anything you want to learn about you can. It’s never been easier to grow in knowledge. In today’s One Year Bible Reading, Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesus about his desire for them to grow both in knowledge and wisdom. The difference between the two is knowledge is knowing the how to and wisdom is knowing how to apply it. As constantly maturing Christians who want to grow in our walk with Christ, growth in knowledge and wisdom is essential.
We can attend every Power For Living Group, watch and read every devotional and message put out by the church, read three books a week from today’s top pastors, and still not grow in our walk with Christ the way He desires us to. It’s a two part process - first gaining the knowledge of Christ and then living it out. As we read these devos each day and drive home from church on Sundays and Wednesday’s we’ve been given divine knowledge on how to live this life the way God intended it. The next step is to apply it appropriately - that’s wisdom. When that gets out of balance, that’s when we become weird Christians that become judgmental, cynical, and out of God’s will. To be a balanced, growing mature Christian grow in both wisdom and knowledge of Christ!
I’m losing interest
Pastor Dan Wootton
Verse of the day:
“Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.”
(Galatians 6:14 NLT)
When I was 27, I went back to college to pursue my graduate degree. The education was what I expected it to be—challenging and beneficial. The social experience, however, was surprisingly captivating. When I went to college the first time, I was 18. I was wide-eyed, zealous, competitive, and a keystone example of “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Returning to a college campus nine years later was so very different. I was in a similar place with an unsimilar mind. The interactions that had once invited panic or aversion or retaliation, came and went with ease. If I had an enemy, I wasn’t aware or interested. I was different, and so my experience was . . . different.
I believe this is what Paul is describing in Galatians 6:14. “Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” With the eyes of Christ, Paul is walking through life differently. The people, places, and things that once evoked envy or angst, now fall to the ground like hollow nouns. It’s not for a lack of caring. It’s a repositioning of WHAT Paul cares about, and when it comes to the things of this world . . .
Paul’s losing interest.
And I think we should too.
No More Rules –
Verse of the Day:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)
I love playing games. Growing up, that’s just what we did as a family. On Saturday afternoons, we pulled out Monopoly and played for hours and hours. On New Year’s Eve, we went to my grandparents and played Uno or Phase 10 until the clock struck midnight. It was tradition and some of the best memories I have growing up. I still love playing games and enjoy getting to play UNO and Crazy 8’s with my oldest son, who is in Kindergarten, except for when he cheats or tries to change the rules!
Rules are very important to the game playing process and so when you don’t know them, try to change them or break them, things get a little dicey. You can’t just make up the rules to UNO as you go along or change them for your benefit throughout a game. The rules are very clear that you play a card that is the same color or number as the one played previously. So if my 5 year-old tries to play a red 2 when the last card played is a yellow 5, we have a problem.
In today’s reading, Paul is talking about a life that is guided and directed by the Holy Spirit, not the law or rules. In verse 18 he says, “But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.” When the Holy Spirit is leading us, we produce wonderful qualities: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If you think about the laws of today, none of them would prevent these from being displayed through us.
You can’t change the rules when you’re playing a game, but there is no rule about how many times you can have self-control or how joyful you can be. There is no law that will stop you from being faithful, whether it is to an activity, a ministry or your spouse. No parent is going to tell their child that they’re just being too patient. Why? Because the Spirit of God is not going to have us live in a way that will be offensive to others. So while you can’t play an unlimited number of DRAW 2’s or SKIPS in UNO, there is no rule to how many times you can show love or be the peacemaker. Today, let’s be directed by the Spirit of God and live a life with no limits.
We are all called to lead by example
Verse of the day:
…set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12b)
In 1 Timothy 4, Paul encourages Timothy to lead the church of Ephesus by setting a good example of following Christ. Timothy was young, and many of the church elders could have easily overlooked his leadership because of his age and assumed lack of experience. But regardless of Timothy’s experience level, Paul points made it clear that setting a good example by daily actions was something people of any age would respect. I love the way the New Living Translation puts it:
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
As Christians, we are all called to be an example to others whether we’ve been saved for one month or 50 years. Younger believers need elder believers to look up to for wisdom and encouragement. For non-believers, we must demonstrate our faith in Christ by the way we speak, act, love, believe and avoid things that don’t please God. I think we always need to be humbled by the fact that people are watching us. We may be the only real connection to Christ that our co-workers, neighbors or family members have, and we’ll want to be sure we are representing Him well. And the best way to represent Him is to closely align our lives with His Word found in the Bible.
Thus, we would do well to heed the advice Paul gives at the end of the chapter:
Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4: 16 NLT)
Pastor Armin Colón
For those of us who have lived in hurricane-prone places, we are familiar with the level of frenzy and panic leading up to the arrival of a storm. People raid supermarkets and gas stations. Everyone is busy storm-proofing their house. After the hurricane, people tend to experience the stress of recovery and the hopelessness of having lost most (if not all) of their belongings.
Although hurricanes cause anxiety and worry, our capacity to predict, the behavior of hurricanes has allowed us to ensure the safety of those who live in their path.
Life’s unexpected problems, like hurricanes, bring catastrophic winds of uncertainty and insecurity. They cause a flood of mixed emotions and storm surges of anxiety and worry.
Thus, we wish we could predict problems before they arrive, much like meteorologist predict the path of hurricanes. After all, if we could predict them, maybe we could avoid them or even fix them in order to live a peaceful life.
Honestly, no. We couldn’t.
The only way to truly be prepared for the winds, floods, and storm surges of unexpected problems is to trust in God. Faith in God, in His goodness and faithfulness, is the only way to peace. Even amidst the most challenging of trials, if you trust God, you will live a peaceful life.
When you face unexpected problems, what is the first thing that you do? Do you trust God will handle it? Or, do you try to fix it on your own? God will take care of you. He will be by your side. Trust Him.
Parenting can be hard work and overwhelming at times. We wonder if we are doing things right and when it comes to disciplining our child we second guess our actions and are fed lies from the enemy. I have read a few books and blogs on discipline when one of my girls were having a difficult time listening and obeying. Some of the recommendations offered worked and some didn’t work for our family. However there is one book I read daily that’s recommendations have worked consistently, The Bible!
When pondering discipline, one Bible verse always comes to mind, Proverbs 23:13. Proverbs 23:13 in the New International Version translation reads “Do not withhold disciple from your child…” In the message translation it reads “Do not be AFRAID to correct your young ones…” As parents, I feel we are afraid to discipline our kids sometimes. We’re afraid of being too harsh when maybe their poor behavior choice wasn’t that big of a deal. We’re afraid of our kids being upset with us, causing an escalation in poor behavior. Even more real is being afraid to discipline in public. We’re afraid of being judged by others. I know I am guilty of feeling like all of the above at times.
However the Bible indicates that as parents we are suppose to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). You see if we do not discipline a child’s poor behavior or disobedience starting at a young age, there is no way to hold them accountable when they become teenagers and young adults. We are to train our little ones on the consequences of poor behavior and choices so they learn to make better choices and become responsible adults. It also teaches them how to respect others.
So, if you struggle with discipline, “Look to the Lord and His Strength; Seek His face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11. I encourage you to pray for strength for those tough parenting days. Pray for guidance and wisdom when you have no idea how to handle a situation. Also, talk with other Christian parents when you are feeling alone or defeated. They’ve probably been through it, can give you words of encouragement and pray for you!
Love and Justice
Pastor Jon Brooks
God is loving and God is just. It can be difficult for us to hold both of these aspects of God in their proper place. Often people will see God as loving and therefore they downplay His justice. Others see God as just and lose sight of his love. Isaiah 15 and 16 show us how both of these traits are central to God.
Isaiah predicts the destruction of Moab at the hands of Assyria due to its idolatry and pride, among other things. A little bit about Moab and its people…
The Moabites were descendants of Moab, the son born to Lot’s oldest daughter as a result of incest with her father. Moab’s descendants had a long history as enemies of God and his people. They often succeeded in luring Israel into their idol worship and immorality. During the time of Israel’s wilderness wanderings, Moabite women deliberately seduced Israelite men, then enticed them to participate in sacrifices to idolatrous gods (Numbers 25). In addition to all of this Moab’s king, Balak, hired a prophet, Balaam, to prophesy against Israel. So throughout the Old Testament, relations between Israel and Moab ranged from uneasy tension to outright hostility.
As Isaiah announces judgment on Moab he does so with a broken heart. He says in Isaiah 15:5 ‘My heart weeps for Moab.’ Just as a parent takes no pleasure in punishing their child, God takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. Yet God is just and he does not overlook wrongs.
Why is God bringing judgment to Moab? The answer can be found in Isaiah 17:7
In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
Sometimes God has to shout to get our attention, and God is never louder than when we are in pain.
CS Lewis said “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
May God be able to get our attention via a whisper rather than a shout.
Why does the Apostle Paul tell the churches in Corinth, Rome and Thessalonica to greet one another with a holy kiss? Peter does the same when he wrote in his letter to greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Peter 5:14). What does this mean and how does this apply to us today?
In my upbringing in American culture I was never taught to kiss another person. Even in my own family we did not greet one another with a kiss. When I went to the mission field of Mexico I was required to learn how to give a kiss on the cheek when greeting. It became a normal everyday thing. In Spain, I learned to give two kisses.
In Biblical times in Hebrew and Greek culture that was the thing to do. Paul and Peter communicated to greet one another with a holy kiss. It was culturally correct to kiss but Christians were to make it holy. What makes a kiss holy? It is to be set apart and sanctified. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17). The kiss is to genuinely express love for the other person in a holy way.
What does this mean for us today? Show Christ like holy love to one another. Show sincere and pure love to the people when you greet them. Depending on your cultural background this could mean a handshake, high five, fist bump, salute, bow, hat tipping, hug or a holy kiss. Whatever it is, express your genuine love for one another.
The Ultimate Study Guide
2 Corinthians 12:11-21