Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.…Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.
PROVERBS 2:2, 5
First Things First
Sometimes on our daily path in our relationship with God, spending time with him can seem like just one more thing on an already long to-do list. With responsibilities that seem to keep us unendingly on the go, it's easy to lose perspective about exactly why we need to spend time in God's Word daily. And yet God's Word itself promises wonderful benefits to those who will take the time to pursue wisdom:
My child, listen to me and treasure my instructions. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of justice and protects those who are faithful to him.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. (Proverbs 2:1–11)
Doesn't this seem like a great deal? If you have spent years second-guessing yourself, the wisdom in God's Word builds confidence in decision making. If you have felt like a victim in some aspect of your life, God's Word is a shield, and God is a protection. If you are depressed, God's Word gives comfort and knowledge that are pleasant to your soul. If you are struggling with the consequences of unwise or foolish choices, God's Word can teach you discretion that will protect and guard you from this point forward. Considering all the benefits of gaining God's wisdom, our busy days will go much more smoothly once we have God's wisdom firmly in our minds and hearts.
2 Corinthians 4:16–18
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:16
Can or Can't
"Whether you say you can or you can't, you are probably right." This is one of my son Zach's favorite coaching quotes.
Recently I was attending the All-star National Cheerleading competition, where my son, Zach, was on the team.
Going into stiff competition, Zach's team was favored to win the nationals and had been working hard to prepare for this day. During warm-ups, Andre, one of the team members, dislocated a shoulder. He was one of the key "stunters," and at many points in the routine he needed to lift another cheerleader above his head, a move requiring split-second timing. There was no room for delay or error. Somehow Andre managed to pop his shoulder back into place, but every time he tried to raise his arm over his head, the pain was so excruciating that tears would run down his cheeks. (And strapping young men like Andre don't cry!)
The team was worried about Andre. They knew the pressure he felt—and the pain. Although Andre was new to his faith, he had heard verses such as, "I press on toward the goal" (Philippians 3:14, NIV). But how was he going to do that?
Laying my hand on his shoulder, I prayed that God would give him strength and send Andre someone who could help him. Immediately after I prayed, another coach noticed that Andre was in pain and offered medical help.
We all held our breath and prayed as the team performed with so much responsibility resting on Andre. In spite of his pain, Andre pushed through—and they won the national title.
He could have said, "I can't," but Andre chose to go forward and say, "I can."
I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.
Creating your own Bible promise book can help you navigate through the pain of grief, divorce, illness, or job loss. God knows what your pain is, and his Word can be a healing balm.
You might decide to use three-by-five-inch cards, a small journal, or a perpetual calendar. To make a calendar, simply have 365 index cards or similar-sized paper bound together at your local printer.
One of these calendars was given to me a year ahead by a group that had scheduled me to speak. A small group committed to use a calendar with my name in it to pray for me each day! What a gift!
Inscribe in the front of your book the promises about the promises:
"Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!" (Joshua 23:14).
"Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much" (Psalm 119:140).
Devotionals can also be a way to keep hearts of friends and family connected over the miles. One Christmas my mother gave every daughter and daughter-in-law in our family the same quiet-time book and journal. When we saw each other throughout the year, we shared promises that we had gleaned from God for our own lives and one another's lives.
Share a precious promise today.
Copyright © 2004 by Stephen Arterburn.