THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM

The Beginning of Wisdom
SCRIPTURE TEXT: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One in understanding .” — Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the Lord is fundamental to finding wisdom. Without awe of the Almighty, there is no access to His insights. Reverence for God’s holiness is a requisite for understanding His ways. The first step in acquiring wisdom from Almighty God is to fear Him—to worship His Majesty and dread His judgment.
 
God’s Holy Word—the Bible—is to be taken to heart as truth for the purpose of life transformation. At first, the fear of the Lord may be so overwhelming that we struggle to sense His love, and our desire for intimacy goes unmet. Anyone who has been broken understands this process. However, once we embrace a healthy fear of the Lord, the result is peace and knowledge in submission to and love for the Holy One.
 
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure (Isaiah 33:6)
 
We mock God when we move away from the language of fear, and He is not one to be mocked. So as devoted followers of Christ, let’s sow the seeds of respect, reverence, and the fear of the Lord. This discipline of faith results in a harvest of holiness, happiness, and wisdom. Fear of Him leads to knowledge of Him. Therefore, bowing before Him on your knees in prayer, seek His face for forgiveness and relational restoration.
To Ponder: What area of my life lacks the fear of the Lord, and how can I make myself more accountable.

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LIVING IN THE LIGHT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “For Thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness”— Psalms 18: 28
When God lights up your life, He lights up  your spirit with His glory. When you were outside of Christ you lived in spiritual darkness – God was a Person you did not know, He had a voice that you did not hear, and He worked in ways you could not see.

Your spirit is like a candle in need of the flame of God’s love. When God places His light within you everything changes – the voice of God becomes discernable, the ways of God becomes understandable, the presence of God becomes enjoyable, the will of God becomes desirable, and the fellowship of God becomes delightful.

The beauty of being in the light and living in the light of God is that you can live in unhindered communion with Him.

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OBEDIENCE BRINGS BLESSINGS

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” — Luke 11:28


The Lord’s simple requests often serve as stepping stones to life’s most wonderful blessings. Simon Peter illustrates what can happen when we say yes to God.
 
One day a large crowd pressed around Jesus while he preached (Luke 5:1–11). The Lord wanted to use Peter’s boat as a floating platform from which to address the multitude, so He asked the future apostle to push the vessel out a little way from shore (verse 3)—not in itself a particularly remarkable request. But Peter’s compliance to His request paved the way for a life-changing blessing. From his example, we also learn how essential it is to obey God in even the smallest matters.
 
The crowd received the first blessing of Peter’s obedience; the people could now clearly hear Jesus’ words. At the conclusion of the lesson, the Lord said to Peter, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4)—a second opportunity to say yes or no. But this time, Peter may have felt tempted to decline. After all, he was a seasoned fisherman. He had worked the entire night for a catch but had returned empty- handed. Now this young teacher—a carpenter, by the way, not a fisherman—was asking him to go fishing again?
 
Peter’s reply demonstrates the beginning of a lifetime of faith in God. He said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5). The soon-to-be disciple chose to obey the Lord and to leave the consequences of his decision to Him.
 
But notice what happened as a result of Peter’s obedience—Jesus demonstrated His power and Sovereignty. Peter and his partners may have started the day off thinking their efforts had yielded nothing. But they ended it in complete amazement because they pulled in not one but two overflowing boatloads of fish (5:7). Saying yes to the Lord’s request resulted in a miracle that transformed not only one fisherman’s life, but the lives of the entire group.
 
If Peter had said anything other than yes, he would have missed the greatest fishing experience of his life. But because of Peter’s obedience, the Lord arranged a miracle that he would never forget. When you choose to obey the Lord, He will bless you. This is because obedience always leads to blessing. I have always told people who say they do not understand why God is asking them to do a certain thing that if they will obey Him, He will reward them with a sense of peace and joy that compares to nothing this world has to offer. Therefore, set a goal to obey the Lord and watch Him work in your life.

PRAYER: “Dear Jesus, with your Spirit in me, help me to obey at all times.” Amen. 

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KEEPING COMMANDS

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you. . .” — John 14:15-16

Keeping Jesus’ commands means obeying what Jesus tells us to do. That’s simple to understand. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to do.
 
The main command Jesus has in mind here is “Love one another” (John 13:34). That’s a great-sounding command, and I really want to keep it. I think of myself as a loving person. But then I hear or read the daily news about all kinds of crimes and war and people’s abuses of one another. Suddenly I’m struggling to love. How do we love criminals? How do we love oppressors? How do we even love people who simply disagree with us?
 
We also realize there is more to keeping Jesus’ commands than simply obeying. Part of keeping commands means that we hold on to a command even when we have recently broken it. It means that we should try again. And again. And again. Because of God’s forgiveness, we’re not lost forever when we fail. But we must also keep trying.
 
Thankfully, Jesus provides us with the help we need. Jesus promised an Advocate—an Encourager. Someone who will put His arm around us when we need comfort, and Someone who will spur us on when we need to try again and keep trying. The Advocate is the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent Him to live in us so that we will ­never be alone in trying to keep Jesus’ commands.

 
PRAYER: “Dear Jesus, with your Spirit in me, help me to sense Your grace over my failures and Your power to help me obey.” Amen. 

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THE POWER OF OBEDIENCE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: When [Jesus] saw [the men who had leprosy], he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.” Luke 17:14 (NIV)


Is your trust in God so strong that you act on what He says even before you see evidence that it will work? Just as the ten lepers did, they trusted and obeyed and they received their healing.

 
According to the Mosaic law at the time, a leper should present himself to the priest to determine whether he is healed or not. Jesus asked the ten lepers to present themselves to the priest even though they were not cleansed, yet they obeyed Him and went. On their way, they were healed!

Isn’t it amazing how obedience can bring us blessings? The above is a classical example of obedience being a key to answered prayer.

As Christians, it is sometimes very difficult to obey. The devil tries to make it seem tedious to obey God. However we should strive to trust and obey. We are not left by ourselves to obey, we are enabled by God to do what pleases Him as seen in Philippians 2:13.
 
PRAYER: “Dear God, grant us the grace to stay in obedience so we can enjoy Your blessings” Amen. 

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TRUST AND OBEY

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “I will always obey your law, for ever and ever” — Psalm 119: 44


Have you ever heard the term “ear-worm”? It describes how the words or the tune of a catchy song can keep running through our minds. One song that is still lodged in my head after all these years is “Trust and Obey.” At the end of this reflection on Psalm 119, this song is playing in my mind.
 
The writer of Psalm 119 often mentions trust. God’s Word is trustworthy, he says; so he trusts in God’s laws, precepts, commands, and decrees. Along with that, the psalmist eagerly commits to obeying God’s Word. He explicitly speaks of obedience again and again and again. Clearly, the call to “trust and obey” God’s Word is at the heart of this psalm.
 
There’s another theme worth mentioning as well. The psalmist is committed to trust and obey even in times of difficulty. When the psalmist cries for God’s rescue, he affirms his desire to trust and obey, no matter what.
 
This helps us see another way in which Psalm 119 points us to Jesus: on the night before he died for our sins, Jesus faced one of the worst moments of anguish recorded in the Bible, an experience more challenging than any we will ever know. And yet Jesus said to the Father about the suffering that was before him, “Not as I will, but as you will”(Matthew 26:39).
 
Jesus trusted and obeyed. What a blessing it is to know that “while we do his good will, he abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey”!

 
PRAYER: “Help us, Lord, to live for you, in the assurance that you love us and will never leave or forsake us.” Amen. 

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IS IT EASY TO BE OBEDIENT?

SCRIPTURE TEXT: [Jesus] said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” — Luke 5:4–5

Would you, an expert, take the advice of a non-expert when you know it may not yield the desired result? I know your answer will be “Why on earth will I do that?” Well, Peter did! Yes, Peter, contrary to his good judgement as an experienced fisherman, followed Jesus’ instruction to cast his net once more. I’m not sure where those fish had been hiding all night, but this time his net was full of fish he had to call for help.
 
Do you think it was easy for Peter to obey Jesus? I don’t think so. Yes, Jesus’ instructions were simple “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish” but it was not easy to follow. Why? Firstly, it seemed practically a ‘waste of time’ because fishermen usually catch fish in the night not in broad daylight. Secondly, he may have been exhausted after working all night and not catching anything. To make matters worse, Jesus was not a fisherman. Yet Peter simply obeyed.
 
It wasn’t easy for Peter to follow but he said “if You say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” That is obedience. We should always trust and obey Christ even if It does not make meaning to our human sense. Peter obeyed and was rewarded. So shall we if we trust and obey.

PRAYER: “O Lord, grant me the humility of heart to be obedient to Your will at all times.” Amen. 

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