Daily Devotions

Wisdom in Surprising Situations

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He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.” (1 Samuel 24:3)

King Saul was jealously chasing David all over the countryside. Then, suddenly, while David was hiding in a cave, Saul comes in to turn the cave into a bathroom. (Whoever says the Bible is just a lot of platitudes, has never read it. Now, back to the dirty cave.) David and his men are just around the corner of the cave, when Saul becomes vulnerable. David’s men encouraged him to take advantage of the God-given opportunity to kill Saul. David waited. When Saul finished up and exited the cave, David followed him out and hollered to him, that he could have killed him but didn’t. David said that proved his loyalty. David used “Adaptive Thinking,” and rather than kill Saul, David provided the opportunity to make a lasting change for the better.

Nick Wignall, in his article, “Adaptive Thinking: The Mental Mechanics of High-Performers,” helps define Adaptive Thinking, when he introduces the psychologist and expertise researcher Anders Ericsson. “Adaptive Thinking involves the ability to ‘recognize unexpected situations, quickly consider various possible responses, and decide on the best one.’” David fulfilled Adaptive Thinking when he unexpectedly came face-to-…with Saul. Rather than simply kill Saul, David found a way to not only stop Saul from trying to kill him, but actually make a friend, and help set the stage for David’s eventual kingship. 

One of the definitions of maturity is the ability to assess situations and make decisions most-advantageous to ourselves, others, and hopefully to God. Sometimes it takes cunning, other times it takes creativity, and it always takes wisdom. Today, think about an example of how you used Adaptive Thinking to make beneficial change. Any parent of an adolescent should be able to come up with at least fifty, or else life is too conflictual. I am only half-kidding. God calls us to make the most of any and every situation. We will have “Saul moments” when we are caught with our pants down, and we will be caught in “David situations.” Your prayer should be that God will direct you to make the best long-term decision for all concerned. That way, we will not get caught with our pants down too often.

Before and After Internet

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Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson were visiting this weekend. We were talking about the cost of diapers, formula, and the horrendously expensive childcare. Then it hit me, I was making next to nothing in my first church. Jill had a good job, but she wasn’t Bill Gates. We had diapers, formula, and childcare costs, but we had money left over to put a little bit away each month and keep up our tithe to the church. As I talk to my family and a number of other church families, it is getting harder for young families today than it was 30+ years ago.

Part of the problem is inflation – but salaries have also increased substantially in the past 30+ years. We also have more needs than we used to. We had one television when Hannah was young. Where we lived cable wasn’t even available. We didn’t have cell phones, and a computer wasn’t necessary, because internet wasn’t available. If we used the word technology, someone would go into the kitchen and look at our appliances. These added expenses are not wants, they really are needs, but are in addition to the other necessities. Add cell phone charges, wireless charges, cable charges, etc.; it all adds up each month.

I am not telling younger people anything they do not already know. For people my age and older, our 20’s and 30’s were less challenging financially and in other ways than today’s generation. Now, there are a lot of fun and exciting things we couldn’t have imagined. Our world is global now, but it comes with a cost. As careers transform and become antiquated at ever increasing rates, it adds to the overall stress levels in our families.

Today, pray for those starting their families, and trying to create financial stability and security for their families. As we pray, and become more sensitive to the unique challenges of this age, I pray that God will provide opportunities to comfort younger adults in the midst of the ever faster treadmill. Finally, rather than provide platitudes like, “we struggled too,” we should spend time listening more and working hard to give less advice. It is our place to wait upon God to find assistance for this generation and each younger adult, and we should wait to speak until we feel the Spirit leading our voice.

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