Ephesians 1:5-8 (NLT)
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
It’s funny how human beings are so judgmental yet ask not to be judged. We make certain determinations about other people by the way that they dress, or act or even by a single encounter and build a picture of their life based on our assumptions. I am guilty as charged. When I am on the elliptical at the gym lost in the music blaring in my ears, my mind will wander and I people watch. Our whole family is terrible about people watching some worse than others. I can tell you the story of their lives having never spoken to them built on my overall observations of their behavior for one hour. In my mind, I have decided who they are, what they do, who they are with and what they are up to even giving them nicknames since I don’t know their real identity. While this is probably a harmless past time, the truth is many people approach their relationship with Jesus Christ as I do at the gym. We watch from a distance and assume certain things about the Lord rather than getting up close and personal. Minding our own business, we live our life the way we choose seeking His Help and Attention only when absolutely necessary. We do not know God or the vast benefits of an inheritance found through His Love, Grace, Mercy, Kindness and Goodness. Too afraid to wander any closer in fear that He will change or we will be changed, we keep a safe distance and try to live a good life rather than pursing a godly or god-like supernatural existence all because we just don’t understand.
God decided to adopt you long before you decided to accept His Love and Devotion. This is the Will of God for your life. It is a good plan with a future and hope. It seems that this particular reference to Jeremiah 29:11 pops up every single time that I meet with the Lord in this place. It has taken most of my adult life to finally accept that this really is His Will for my life and not some feel-good, fantasy, fairytale that I have concluded. I now know and understand that the Lord is working every single detail of my life for good enough to remain faithful in hard times and keep striving when the road is dark and unseen. This is because I have decided that I want understanding. God sent His Son to die for my sins and pay the price necessary so that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Several years ago, my husband officially adopted our daughter. Although he had always been her real dad, it was made legally official the day we paid the adoption fee and went before a judge sworn in by the court and he fulfilled this obligation. We could not afford the “adoption fee” associated with our new life as Sons and Daughters of God, so Jesus Christ took care of the bill. In His Kindness and Grace, Jesus purchased our freedom and forgave all of our sins. He also gave us “all wisdom and understanding.” Why? What is the use of such knowledge now that our life is surrendered to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? We now have the profound privilege and undeserved honor of knowing the Lord intimately and completely. Please understand.
Ephesians 1:18-23 (NLT)
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
The Light of God’s Love exposes the measure of faith invested in us and the eternity planted in our heart so that it can grow, develop and prosper into confident hope. I once thought faith was enough to overcome in every situation only to discover that is only the beginning. We must plant that faith in something for it to produce anything. It is wasted on so many things. Only faith in Jesus Christ will become confident hope. Those who mature and develop such a hope will experience the rich and glorious inheritance that we have been promised in God’s Word over and over again. It is the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead ready to be activated in our life today. Jesus Christ has been given the place of highest authority and power but has not left us to fend for ourselves. It is His Spirit that lives inside of us identifying us as recipients of the Power of His Love and all authority in Heaven and earth. We have been given the Keys to the Kingdom but lack the knowledge and understanding to use them in our everyday, ordinary existence to experience the supernatural outcomes suitable for the life of everyone who is a believer. You will never be a believer if you do not put your faith and trust in the Lord. Who is going to trust a stranger? Who will put their faith in the unknown?
Isaiah 11:1-2 (NLT)
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
The Spirit of the Lord released by Jesus Christ to His People is the Spirit of Wisdom and Understand, Counsel, Might and Knowledge. God already warned us that His People perish for a lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) So rather than leave us floundering to find Him, Jesus sent His Spirit to guide and direct us. But we live in constant conflict and rebellion against the Spirit of the Lord primarily because we do not know the Lord and find such an invasion offensive and limiting rather than accepting His Guidance as the ultimate freedom to secure our inheritance in Heaven. Jesus told us that we are permitted to know the Secrets of God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 13:11-16) Jesus Christ told His Disciples that He overcame the world. By faith, they finally believed all the things that Jesus had been telling them. (John 16:29-33) You will never experience the Power of God’s Kingdom activated in your life until you take the time to know, understand and believe that potential belongs to you. Most of us have graduated from the school of hard knocks, but this is not our final destination or most important education. We have been given His Spirit so that we can know the Lord gaining wisdom, knowledge and understanding spiritually so that it takes precedence over what we know naturally.
Proverbs 24:24 (NLT)
The LORD directs our steps so why try to understand everything along the way?
If the Lord has a purpose and plan for our life and directs our steps, there is no point in evaluating each predetermined step along the way. We do it all the time. Let me give you some insight, it is usually prefaced by the words, “If it is God’s Will…” Human understanding will never change God’s Plan for our life because it has been pre-prescribed. (Proverbs 21:30) King Solomon who had great understanding, knowledge and wisdom from God gave us good insight. Even though we do not understand how God works all of the time or what exactly He is doing, we must keep walking. Do what we know to do until He tells us to do something different. This is obedience walking in God’s Way even if we are not completely sure of His Will. How do we do this with confidence? You must understand His Word.
Psalm 119:27-32 (NLT)
Help me understand the meaning of your commandments and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. I cling to your laws. LORD, don’t let me be put to shame! I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.
God did not set His People up to fail. We did that on our own. The Word of God is a divine set up. We cannot possibility fulfill the Law of God because sin does not permit it. If you break one law, you might as well have broken every single one when it comes to the Lord. I have a friend whose son was ruthlessly murdered by his “friends” just because they wanted the boy’s most prized possession – his car. They shot him and left him to die. The young man stepped over his friend walked through his blood to take a joyride while he lay dying. During the trial, the courts have decided to reduce the murder charge in hope to convict on several lesser ones. They feel that the case is not strong enough to punish the boy to the fullest extent of the law. The boy’s father asked me, “Where is justice for my son?” Although the focus is on the young man who is currently in prison with his life hanging in the balance, the heart of the father of the victim is on his beloved son. This man is visibly broken and has not been himself since his boy left this earth. Where is justice? You will not find it in this world. So you must learn where to look for it along the way. God’s Word is the Power to know and understand the Lord while obtaining the wisdom that we need to live what we believe. To know the Lord is all the understanding that we really need. (Job 28:23-28) But because we do not “know” the Lord or pursue a deeper understanding found in intimacy with God – we are left empty and confused by the stress and pressure of this life. (Psalm 119:143-144) Hardship adds stress and pressure to our heart. It releases the substance of our heart when applied. True belief in God through faith in Jesus Christ as our confident hope allows us to keep believing when we do not understand what we see in the natural based solely on the spiritual. It allows us to do His Will when the way seems long and difficult. We do give in to the stress and pressure of the hardships of life because His Word is our firm foundation. Faith is the root that grows deep. Confident hope keeps us trusting the Lord even when the unthinkable happens because we know the Lord and His Great Love. Nothing compares to the wisdom found in knowing the Lord. (Proverbs 8:6-11) Even when nothing changes in the natural, wisdom in Christ changes everything. No matter what you are going through to know the Lord enough to believe His Word and live what you believe will change the outcomes in your life even if not a single situation changes in the meantime. (2 Corinthians 6:3-10) The irony of wisdom found in God’s Word means nothing can change at all but we still have everything being complete lacking no good thing according to His Word.
Proverbs 2:1-11 (NLT)
My child, listen to what I say and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. 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 common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.
Our little dog is absolutely terrified of thunderstorms. He hides wherever he can find shelter from the storm. He lives inside our house which is refuge enough yet insists on hiding somewhere. In the beginning, we could not find him. We could call him, beg with him and plead for him to come out and never find him until after the storm when he come out of nowhere. Over the years, he has learned that he can trust me. So when I come to him and call him although it may take some coaxing, he will slowly crawl to me because he trusts me. To know the Lord and pursue greater understanding as you learn to live in covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we are wrapped in the Love of God instantly but it may take some time for us to love and trust Him. I believe that our dog’s previous owner left him in the garage as a puppy during violent storms which fostered his fear of abandonment and a lack of security. Maybe your life experiences have left you to depend on no one but you so it is tough to transition to the Shelter and Refuge of God’s Love, I encourage you today to crawl out of hiding and make your way into His Presence. His Word will take you there. It will wrap you tightly in His Love, Acceptance, Approval and Affirmation so that you will not be afraid to bring your concerns and even complaints to the Lord face-to-face. (Job 13:1-3) The Lord grants us common sense and discernment to navigate through this life until we finally step into Eternity. Yes, there will be hard times. Yes, you will have struggles. Yes, you will feel like giving up. Yes, you will battle fear. But according to the Word of God you must understand that Jesus overcame them all so you can, too!
Psalm 33:13-15 (NLT)
The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.
One thing you should know today above all else is that God understands. He really does. He is not judging you but wants to restore His Relationship with you otherwise Jesus could have come to condemn the world rather than through Him we would be saved. You will never know the full potential of God’s Love in your life until you strive to know Him more rather than evaluate every step along the way. He has ordered your steps to fulfill His Purpose and Plan for your life that is good and contains a future and hope. He is perfecting all that concerns you! (Psalm 138:8) The Lord is working out every detail for our good. (Romans 8:28) When faith becomes confident hope, this will be a reality in your life. David prayed and fasted pleading with the Lord to save his son, but when the boy died he worshipped the Lord. His advisors were perplexed. How could he praise the Lord when his son had succumbed to sickness? David knew God! (2 Samuel 12:16-23) God blessed David and Bathsheba with Solomon shortly after. Manoah asked the Lord, “What is your name?” His response was “it is too wonderful for you to understand!” Manoah built an altar and worshipped the Lord right then and there. The Lord made His Presence known in an instant. (Judges 13:17-20) Those who can worship when they do not understand will see the Lord. Solomon, son of King David, was to be granted his heart’s desire in his faithful obedience in building God’s Temple. He could have anything. He asked for wisdom, knowledge and understanding. God gave Him everything. (I Kings 3:11-13; I Kings 4:29-31) Job said it best when he said in the midst of great trial and sickness, “And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’” (Job 28:28) Please understand.
Hosea 14:9 (NLT)
Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.