Daily Devotions

Don't Be a Christian Soothsayer

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Do not forsake wisdom, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. (Proverbs 4:6)

 

The difference between wisdom and knowledge has been debated even before the ancient Greek philosophers made it a national pastime. Rather than talk about wisdom, I would rather talk about the use of knowledge and the ability to take action. Knowledge for its own sake is a fine activity, but knowledge has little lasting merit without action.

 

I’ve known many people in my life who were brilliant theologians or Biblical memorizers, but who didn’t seem to do anything meaningful with their knowledge. In one of my churches, we had a Youth Director who formed a group of youth to attend Bible memory competitions. The youth from our church and other churches who competed, became very proficient at memorizing vast numbers of Scripture passages. What disappointed me was when I would attempt to discuss those passages with those same youth, they didn’t have a clear understanding of how those passages influenced their lives, and the lives of others.

 

Many years ago, I saw a wonderful cartoon that had a woman with her hands over a crystal ball, and the caption read, “Mentalist.” The adjoining caption had a woman with her hands over the Bible, and it read, “Funda-Mentalist.” In other words, a Bible reader is no better than a soothsayer if they cannot interpret what they are reading in a way that is in harmony with God’s intention.

 

Today, pray that the Holy Spirit will fill your heart and mind, so you will be able to understand the mind of God and God’s intention for your life. Memorization is hollow knowledge unless it is melded together with wisdom. Biblical knowledge can quickly become Bible trivia, and hence trivial, without the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to help you study, pray, and learn so your knowledge becomes wisdom, rather than trivia. For it is true, “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.” Trivia cannot do that, but through prayer and study, wisdom can provide care, love, and protection.

 

Making Your New Year's Resolution Stick

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The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want. (Proverbs 21:5)

 

January, and its New Year, with its resolutions, is a time to discuss how to make your faith resolutions. I am taking a number of these recommendations from an article by Ryan Holiday, entitled, How to Develop Better Habits in 2019. Holiday says that with New Year’s resolutions it is important to keep it simple. If the new plan is too elaborate, it will be much harder to follow for the next twelve months. This is why so many gym memberships are purchased in January and ignored by May! They work too hard, too quickly, and then just as quickly, give up.

 

Holiday continues by saying that resolutions stick when you include a physical reminder. He says, “A physical totem can make the habit or standard you’re trying to hold yourself to into something more than an idea, and that helps—a lot.” For example, leaving your Bible next to the chair you sit in first thing in the morning can be the totem that helps remind you to read your devotional or Bible passage, and begin the day in prayer.

 

Holiday reminds us of the famous quote, “‘Tell me who you spend time with and I will tell you who you are’ was Goethe’s line.” A meaningful way of solidifying your New Year’s resolution is to Surround Yourself With Good People. God expects us to live out our faith in community. Church friends are probably feeling the need to renew their faith resolutions. Make a plan to start your faith resolution with one or more friends. If it is to make devotions a daily routine, then plan to read the same devotions each day and discuss them together. This can be done on the phone, on the computer, or meeting weekly and discussing the ones that spoke to you.

 

Finally, Holiday points out, “It’s a huge advantage, however, to cultivate certain habits or commitments that are foundational to your identity.” Choose your New Year’s resolutions carefully. There is nothing worse than feeling you’ve wasted your time and energy. Then, commit to it with passion. Let this become part of who you are in your soul. Let your resolution help you become the person you want to be. If you are like me, you want to be a person who has a deep and intimate relationship with God. When you are disciplined in what you choose to do, your life will be rich and meaningful. Today, offer a prayer for your resolution commitment, but also offer a prayer today that all who read this devotional will be diligent in their devotions as well!

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