Posts Tagged ‘Romans 11:33’

Clarity and Ambiguity

November 10th, 2017

Purity is the spiritual fruit of clarity.

 “Then we will see everything with perfect clarity.”  1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Clarity and Ambiguity.”

We live in a world that lacks moral and spiritual clarity. Presently, our country is reeling from the senseless, murderous tragedy of lives taken on this most recent Sunday morning in a Church not far from where I write these thoughts. In vain, our hearts try to understand what our minds cannot explain. Where clarity lacks, confusion fills the void. Opinions pose as facts, but sometimes they are merely opinions. Inevitably, we find some supposed facts to be in dispute. Opinions are as diverse as the people that hold them. Truth is never ambiguous and not lessened by either those who proclaim or disclaim it.

The world longs for clarity yet there is not much that is perfectly clear. Ambiguity seems the norm. Spiritual ambiguity. Moral ambiguity. Political ambiguity. Ambiguity seems to have become the norm. Where there is no clarity there is no truth. When and where you discover truth, you will find clarity. Absolute truth is found in God’s Word and character. Clarity comes from His truth.

The Apostle Paul addressed his problem and ours. We lack clarity. “Now we see things imperfectly as [looking] in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT. Our knowledge is finite; His is infinite. Our comprehension is flawed; His is perfect. Our understanding is partial; His is complete. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33 NIV. Isn’t it foolish, or even arrogant, to assume your experience to be unique or your knowledge to be complete?

The more time you invest in God’s Word, and the more you welcome the Holy Spirit to direct your life, and the more you weave God’s Truth into your daily life, the clearer you will become about direction, relationships, values, integrity, purpose, and destiny. Be clear about your salvation; you are forever sealed by the blood of Jesus. Be clear about your victory in Christ; in Him, you are more than a conqueror. Be clear about your purpose; you are here to advance His Kingdom. Be clear about your identity; you are who God says you are. Be clear about eternal life; Jesus prepared a place with Him for all eternity. All other opinions to the contrary are superfluous.

I have found these words to be clarifying and a promise of what is ahead for us, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Prov 4:18 NIV. “When He shall come, we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” Here is God’s goal for you, and should be yours as well. “Until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV. Clarity about Who God is, what His Word says, and who you are in Christ produces purity of heart and life. Purity is the spiritual fruit of clarity. “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Read 1 John 3:2-3 NIV“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Read 1 John 3:2-3 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to be clear about your destiny and confident in His promises.

Christian Communications 2017

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Shallow Lives

October 26th, 2011

“Go out where it is deeper.” Luke 5:4 NLT

“Effort does not always equate with effectiveness.”

My thoughts today are about “shallow lives.”

Your life can be so rich and satisfying, if you unwilling to settle for things superficial. A superficial life is quicker and simpler, but will never provide the fulfillment you are meant to enjoy. Too many people are content to live shallow lives, lives without much depth and therefore with little consequence. I think shallow lives result from superficial lifestyles. Too often we lightly regard matters we should greatly regard, and highly regard things we should lightly regard.

Many lives appear a mile wide but in reality are only a foot deep. Your number of Facebook friends is no indication of having meaningful friendships. Those take time and attention. You can Google an unimaginable volume of information and still lack knowledge and wisdom. That takes a learner’s heart and life experience. Traditional media offers quick sound bites about global complexities for people who would rather be told what they should think than to actually have to do so. That requires thoughtful reflection. In “Christian” America, there are many people who know a lot about God, but far fewer who really, personally know God in a way that shapes their lives and everyday lifestyles. Dabbling in spiritual matters can never satisfy your soul. There are important areas of life that are truly, “go big, or go home!”

Shallow lives result in surface relationships with spouses, children, friends, and God – producing fragile marriages, broken families, mere acquaintances, and lean, empty souls. People’s lives are not usually from lack of effort, but from lack of direction. Most people work hard at life, family, and relationships. The problem is this: effort does not always equate with effectiveness.

People really haven’t changed much since Jesus walked the roads and shores of ancient Palestine. Read Luke 5:1-11. When a crowd pressed to hear Jesus, he commandeered an empty boat from which to teach. Men nearby had fished all night, but had nothing to show for their efforts but weariness, a wasted day leaving them to beach their boats, clean their nets, and try it again the next day. Life can be like that, large investments of time and energy with little return. Jesus not only has the answer to meaningful life; Jesus is the Answer!

Jesus offers an invitation to people exactly like that – “weary and burdened.” See Matthew 11:28-30 NIV. Jesus’ advice to those tired fishermen might be the same for today’s dissatisfied lives, left at the end of the day or week with only tired bodies and empty hearts. “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets and you will catch many fish.” Luke 5:4 NLT.

If life is empty for you in the shallows, you are missing what God has available for you a little further out, and a little deeper. The result? Those seasoned fishermen were “awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with them.” Luke 5:9. God has bigger and better things for those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Matthew 5:6 NIV. A large, fulfilling life is not found by the overly cautious, perennial doubter, or those who try to live without some measure of personal investment, sacrifice, and risk.

Here’s how God is described, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33 NIV. The deeper things of God are reserved for the sincere, not superficial, inquirer. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NLT. God’s best is never found by people content to live in the shallows. See Ezekiel 47:1-10 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you cultivate a depth of life, in everyday life and spiritual life.

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Applying Truth

October 12th, 2011

“The Lord gives wisdom . . from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” Proverbs 2:6 NIV

“Wisdom is the art of applying God’s truth correctly.”

My thoughts today are about “applying truth.”

How well you do in life will be greatly impacted by the quality of your formal education and the life-lessons of your experiences. Education is valuable; life experience is beyond price. The quality of your education is not altogether about the reputation of the university you attend, but about the application of yourself to be an avid and appreciative learner. A university degree proves only that you took the required courses and got passing grades; it does not measure or adequately reflect the level of knowledge and understanding you acquired or wisdom gained.

Solomon wrote, “The Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6 NIV. Beyond the information you gather and the experiences you will gain, life is lived best when you recognize that God is your Source for living wisely. Paul marveled at the unlimited and available truth to be known in God. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing.” Read Romans 11:33 NIV.

In his earliest years as the new King of Israel, Solomon was given the opportunity to ask God for whatever he wanted. Read 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 NKJV. What would a king ask for – wealth, honor, long life, or victory in battle? Above everything else, Solomon desired wisdom. “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this . . great people of Yours.”

Solomon understood that for the large responsibilities before him to lead and judge wisely, he would need wisdom beyond what he possessed and that would best come from God.  Wisdom begins with a humble heart to serve God well. Here’s God’s response: “Because this was in your heart . . wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings before you, nor shall any after you.” All other things you may hope for in life will not assure you of wisdom, but wisdom will gain what you otherwise would not attain.

Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs whose central theme is the gaining of wisdom and its practical lessons for everyday life. Solomon’s advice? “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her and she will promote you . .” Read Proverbs 4:7-13 NKJV. Wisdom is not to be confused with mere cleverness, not broad knowledge, nor being worldly-wise. “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle . .” See James 3:13-18 NKJV.

To live wisely, you must develop a spiritual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. To have wisdom, you must live in obedience to God’s direction. To be truly wise, you must love and know God’s Word. Wisdom is the practiced art of applying God’s truth correctly. You know God’s Word best when you truly know God first. “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep your precepts.” Psalm 119:97-105 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you ask God for wisdom and prize it highly.

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The Great Adventure

September 10th, 2009

“Can you discover everything there is to know about God?” Job 11:7 NLT

“If ever you lose your passion for more of God, you’ve lost the adventure of a lifetime.”

My thoughts today are about “the great adventure.”

Today, we have extreme sports of every kind; people living on adrenalin rushes – pushing against previous limits, stretching accepted boundaries, seeking new challenges – extreme skiing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and skydiving. Maybe that’s a little much, but your life should be an adventure, yet most people spend their years leaving out the adventure part – avoiding risk, taking the safe paths, and preferring predictability. How about you? How adventurous are you willing to be? Sometimes the better things in life are found in out of the way places, while exploring experiences off the beaten path. You may discover important things about yourself in adventures.

Now, take my wife – please! No, that’s a comedian’s old joke. Gayle, she’s an adventurer – a happy wanderer – who never is lost; she’s just finding a place she hasn’t been before. She never meets a stranger; she just happily finds a new friend she didn’t meet until now. I confess that I am not inclined to being greatly adventurous. I feel better within the boundaries of what I know and where I have been. That’s my cautious and conservative nature, I guess.

The most adventurous thing I can recall doing as an adult was white-water rafting in Colorado with a couple of friends for my 44th birthday – and even that was done only at their insistence. As a child, maybe I got too much adventure with my Dad in his single engine plane. That was in the late 40’s and early 50’s. We got caught in an unexpected storm that turned out to be worse than could have been anticipated. Thankfully, my Dad was an avid and skilled pilot. When my side window in that small two-seater plane was sucked out by the storm, I held the baggage cover there while he navigated a very bumpy, blustery flight to the nearest airport. He loved to fly. His greatest disappointment was when health concerns prevented the renewal of his pilot’s license.

But my thoughts today are not so much on the natural adventures of what you do or where you go; it is about the exploration of the spiritual and supernatural in everyday life. This is one adventure I can get into whole-heartedly – the exciting and life-enriching adventure of knowing God! That adventure is all reward with very little risk, unless you count the occasional discomfort of following Jesus wherever He leads and doing whatever He asks.

The Bible describes this spiritual adventure in these words: Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 NLT/NIV.

Lloyd Ogilvie, 61st Chaplain of the Senate (1995 – 2004) and author of 44 books, penned a single, simple statement that has challenged my life and ministry for many years, “The God of your experience will always be greater than your experience of God.” No matter what you know about God, no matter how long or well you have known Him, there is so much more waiting for you to discover. If ever you lose your passion for more of God, you’ll miss the great adventure of a lifetime. The more you discover about Him, the more you will love Him, the more you will rejoice in serving Him, and the more gladly you will share Him with others. Read Philippians 3:10 NIV/Ephesians 4:13 NKJV/ 2 Peter 1:2 NIV.

My prayer for you today is: never be satisfied with yesterday’s experience of God.

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