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Seek Godly Counsel

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Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me…that walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth (Isaiah 30:1-2).

The Assyrian army was going to attack Israel first and then Judah. God already knew what Judah was going to do. They were going to try to make their enemy, their friend. They thought they would have greater success if they joined forces with Egypt, but it was already prophesied that Egypt would fall to Assyria, which meant that when Egypt fall, Judah would fall also. God didn’t have to send a prophet to His people, but because He loved them, He warned them.

Judah was aware that they needed help, but they were asking for advice from everyone except God. They never asked God if it was okay to go to Egypt. They just made a decision without Him. They thought Pharaoh was the answer, but Pharaoh was really the problem. Egypt couldn’t protect them and in the end, they would only be disappointed and embarrassed because the Egyptians are only men, not God (Isaiah 31:3).

The reason why some of us don’t ask God for advice before we make certain decisions is because we are afraid He is going to say no. We are afraid that God is going to tell us something that we don’t want to hear.

Let’s say for example, you’re dating someone. Because this is the person YOU want to marry, you refuse to ask God for advice because you don’t want Him to tell you that this person is not the wife or husband He picked for you. You’ve already made plans and you don’t want God’s plan to change your plan.

Maybe you’re tired of being single and you think you’re ready for marriage now, but God sees what is going to happen in the near future if you make a decision without consulting Him first. What you think is going to be an answer just may become a problem. Remember, the person you are about to join yourself to is just a man or a woman. They are not God. They are not a Healer and they are not a Savior.

If you’re not sure about anything else, know that God loves you. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t warn you before you go in the wrong direction or convict you when you do wrong. He does care for you and He doesn’t want you to make a decision that will only bring you disappointment and shame.

Jesus is called our Counselor and God has placed counselors around us. I know Proverbs 11:14 speaks about the condition of a nation without wise leadership, but even in your personal life, where there is no counsel, you will fall.

Before you make a permanent decision, seek godly counsel, ask for advice and then follow the advice.

Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).

Do You Know What You Have?

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Give me the portion of goods that fall to me (Luke 15:12). The prodigal son knew what belonged to his father and if his father had it, that meant he had it.  His father gave him what he asked for, but his problems began when he stopped obeying what he was taught by his father. He started doing things that sons shouldn’t do. The moment he disobeyed, he became a slave – to sin, debt, poverty.

But one day, his eyes were opened. He realized that he didn’t have to live the way he was living. He remembered that his father, who he had left, had hired servants who had enough bread. The prodigal son wasn’t just in a distant country, but he was in a distant relationship with his father. The moment he returned to his father, everything he lost was restored. The servants placed on him a robe, sandals and a ring. The ring signified that when he decreed a thing, it would be established and no one could change or alter what he had spoken.

The elder son was angry because he saw his brother living the way he should have been living. Although he had read the commandments and had not sinned against them, he still didn’t understand what belonged to him. All that I have is yours (Luke 15:31). Even though he took his anger out on his brother and father, he was really angry at himself because he didn’t know how to access what his father had already given him.

While the household was celebrating the return of the prodigal son, the elder son was outside when he should have been inside. He couldn’t believe his ears. Why were they celebrating? How could his brother who left his house and his country to become a citizen of another country, lose everything, return to his house and get back everything he lost? To him, that wasn’t fair, but it was fair. When the prodigal son asked for his portion, the father divided it between the elder and the younger. The elder had the same thing as his brother, but he didn’t do anything with what was given to him. (This reminds me of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30).

It took the prodigal son becoming a slave to discover that he was a son. He discovered that the things he was under were the things that he was created to rule over. He wasn’t created to toil or to beg.

The elder and the prodigal son lived in the same house. They had the same father. Isn’t it interesting how you can go to the same church with someone and hear the same sermon and the same instructions yet you’re still at the Jordan while others have already crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land? What did they do that you refused to do? Perhaps the problem has been that we like to hear a good word, but we don’t do anything with the information we hear in church because sometimes it’s not easy.

Do you think that leaving a country that was afar off to return to his home was easy for the prodigal son? It was a fight, but he walked until he walked himself out of his situation.

There is an enemy who is angry because he lost. He is angry that he got kicked out of heaven and he is doing everything he can to get you kicked out of the garden like Adam. He doesn’t want you to know who you are and what you have. He doesn’t want you to get everything that belongs to you.

Don’t do what the elder son did. He told the father what he didn’t have and what his father never gave him (Luke 15:29). Some of us do the same thing.

I don’t have the money to purchase a home.

I don’t have anyone to help me.

I don’t have a college degree.

This is why God asked Moses, What is that in your hand? Elisha asked the widow, What do you have in the house? I think sometimes we are so focused on what we don’t have that we can’t see what we do have. 

May God not only reveal what He has given to us, but I pray that we use it for Him.  

Refuse to be a church that is a hearer, but not a doer of the word.

 

Get Understanding

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Knowing is not understanding. There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.  – Charles Kettering

The word, understand, means to grasp the meaning, significance or importance of something you know (information). Jesus and his disciples had just entered the ship to go to the other side. The disciples had forgotten to take some bread and they only had one loaf of bread on the ship. Jesus told them, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.  Jesus made this statement because He didn’t want them to be contaminated by people who honored God with their lips, but not with their hearts (Mark 7:6). He didn’t want them to become like those who kept the tradition of men, but refused to keep the commandment of God (Mark 7:9). Instead of asking Jesus for understanding, the disciples reasoned among themselves. They saw when five thousand were fed with only five loaves and two fish and there were twelve baskets of leftovers. They saw when four thousand were fed with only seven loaves and a few small fish and there were seven baskets of leftovers. So, why were they fussing about who forgot to bring bread? There was something they didn’t understand. How is it that you do not understand?  (Mark 8:21).

Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews yet he didn’t understand what it meant to be born again. Are you a master of Israel, and know not these things?  (John 3:10). Nicodemus thought an old man had to go back into his mother’s womb to be born again. Although his statement didn’t sound intelligent, he was smart enough to ask for understanding. How can these things be?  (John 3:9).

When we were in school, some of us raised our hands to ask questions when we weren’t sure of something while others pretended to know or understand what the teacher was saying when they really didn’t. Maybe we just didn’t want to appear stupid or maybe we were just trying to impress someone we liked or maybe we were just trying to fit in. What happened in school is what has been happening in the church. We know lots of scriptures and can quote them, but our life living, our actions and our disobedience are proof that we really don’t understand what we are saying or what we heard. To shun evil is understanding  (Job 28:28b, NIV).

There is something I’ve been doing for months now and recently the Lord told me that what I’m doing now is what He wanted me to do all along. Then, He reminded me of the things He told me to do (through men and women of God), but I missed it. All I could do was repent and tell the Lord I was sorry. I really didn’t understand. I heard, but I didn’t understand – neither did I ask for understanding. I was doing, but it wasn’t what God wanted me to do. I was giving, but it wasn’t the gift He required of me. When you are led by your feelings, you are going to either hit or miss, but when you are led by the Holy Spirit, you will never miss. God’s Spirit knows what is in God’s mind. There are things we don’t know, but He knows and understands all things. Nothing is hidden from Him. If you follow Him, He will guide you into all truth. He will let you know what is going to happen. He reveals what has been given to us from God. When He prays, He doesn’t pray amiss.

We are getting a lot of word and we are getting a lot of revelation– and that’s good, but with all your getting, get understanding. Some of us have been going to church most of our lives, yet we are blind. We have eyes, but we really don’t see. We have ears, but we really don’t hear and we forget what we should remember. Jesus doesn’t want us to be like the blind man who was brought to Him in Bethsaida. He wants us to see clearly. He doesn’t want us to be people who are not able to discern between men and trees (Mark 8:24-25). He wants us to recognize and to identify when it’s Him and when it’s the devil. There will always be a way that seems right, but He doesn’t want us to try to figure things out on our own. This is how we miss God. He gave the church true apostles, true prophets, true evangelists, true pastors and true teachers and He gave us the Spirit of Truth so that we wouldn’t be deceived like Eve.

People who are trained to recognize counterfeit money don’t study counterfeit bills. They study and learn every detail of real  money so that when the counterfeit appears, they can see (discern) the difference. Let us study the life of Christ so that we will know what is Him and of Him, and what is not.

Prayer: I pray that you receive your sight today. May God anoint your eyes with eye salve so that you may see. May the Spirit of the Lord rest upon you, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:3). Open our understanding that we might understand the scriptures (Luke 24:45). Father, You commanded the light to shine out of darkness. Now command Your light to shine in the hearts and minds of Your people. Thank you for restoring our sight, Amen.