Tag Archives: seeking wise counsel

Including God in Everyday Living

While sitting with Jesus yesterday, we began to talk about the importance of trust. He and I talk about this often, probably because I desperately need to be reminded of it every single day. And I do want to include God in everything; I’ll take the path He leads me down over over the crooked mess I can make of my life by leaning on myself every day of the week.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reveals a ton about the nature and character of God. As we see in our dissection of verse 5 in yesterday’s post (“Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”), leaning on our own reasoning alone really isn’t a wise thing to do. More importantly, we also see that God truly is interested in the details of our lives. Because He is asking that we depend on Him and include Him in every part of our hearts (the core of our being), He goes on to attach a promise in verse 6:

“…in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6

 Just as we did with verse 5 yesterday, we will break down this line of scripture word by word:

“…in all (in everything) your (personalized, individual responsibility) ways (decisions, courses of life, methods, manners, processes, plans, habits) acknowledge Him (recognize, include, and seek God) AND He will (God promises to) make (create, shape, alter) your (He is talking to YOU) paths (decisions, circumstances to decisions, direction of life, priorities, focus) straight (to be pure, just, proper, and honest).”

Also interpreted as….

“In every area of my life, including my plans concerning my present and my future, my habits in the way I spend my time, and my decisions, I will include God. By doing so, He is going to alter my very life circumstances to be right, in order, and incredibly fruitful.”

Wow. When you really dive into this scripture, you can begin seeing why including God is so important. Not only does He want to be involved; we actually need Him to be involved. We can’t make our paths straight; only He can. For me, this verse has been an extraordinary epiphany by revealing when and how I think I should include Jesus in my life.

What I find most interesting about this piece of truth is that it completely (not partially, but fully) rejects our modern approach to Christianity. In our fast paced world, even those with heart-felt devotion to Christ can find it easy to merely include God on Sunday, but then live for themselves the rest of the week.  Monday is when we return to work, and mixing Jesus and work can be complicated. We start thinking that we can handle our jobs, and that we only need to include God in the more “spiritual” areas in our lives.

Yet God cannot be compartmentalized, beloved. When we apply scripture to our lives (through His grace), we can no longer divide our load between what God controls and what we control. Because He is God, He needs to be treated like God. He deserves everything that we can give Him. After we surrender our life circumstances to Him first, and then we can see how our decisions will best be handled.

Such a mindset is really the manifestation of the statement “Jesus is my Lord.” Jesus is more than the Savior that died on a cross; He is a leader and a guide for every aspect of our lives. By willingly choosing to include Him every single day, we come to truly recognize Jesus as Lord. As you seek Him, beloved, you will always find Him. Always.

May your heart be encouraged and challenged to include this Righteous King into your everyday world.
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5 Key Principles in Giving Advice to Others – Continued

If you’re just joining us today, check out the first segment of this discussion in yesterday’s post (5 Key Principles in Giving Advice).

Let’s dive right into the meat of the post this morning with the last three of our five principles on giving and receiving advice:

Principle #3 – Limit the advice and council that you accept from others. I have seen many loved ones bounce between opinions like waves in an ocean as they desperately seek direction on important decisions. After we first seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance on a situation, it is wise to intentionally limit the number of opinions we receive concerning our life choices.

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:1-6 NIV

Keith and I have very few people that we allow to speak into our marriage, our ministerial callings, and our individual lives. We prudently evaluate anyone that seeks to give us advice, and then we seek the Lord before heeding to their instruction. Here are two great ways to determine someone as a potential adviser:

A. Test (through observation, questions, and prayer) to make sure that these individuals model Biblical soundness in the very area that you need counsel in. This is in fact what makes it wise counsel. Here’s a quick example: If you’re having marital issues and need some help, it’s probably not wise to seek advice from someone who is either not married or unhappily married.

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15 NIV

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1 NIV

B. Surround yourself with what you want to become. Those who walk with the wise will grow wise. For example, if you want to have a Biblically sound and thriving marriage, then surround yourself with married couples that know, understand, love, and apply God’s word to their relationship. Remember that marriage is a full-time ministry because its sole purpose is to honor God. This cannot be overlooked. We do this most effectively (and successfully) by intentionally keeping Jesus Christ in the center and by edifying one other to become holy like Christ. Can you see why you need to be prudently selective?

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20 NIV

Principle #4 – Listen more, speak less, and mind our own affairs. If you are slow to speak and quick to listen, people will want to know what you have to say. As an experiment, intentionally try to talk less so that you can listen more, and then see how much you learn about people. Many assumptions (and corresponding pieces of advice that you may have wanted to give) may just melt away. This reminds me of a little sayin’ I heard while growing up from my own Dad: “Christy, we have one mouth and two ears for a reason.” Can you tell I liked to talk?

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” James 1:19-20 NIV

There is a time to speak (which I highly recommend doing only after praying first). But there are also times that we just need to allow others to figure things out on their own. With the aid of the Holy Spirit and a measure of discernment, we can know exactly when we should pray for them, shut our mouths, and gently walk away.

“All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2 NIV

Principle #5 – Be the example that you want to see in others. Allow your actions to speak instead of the verbal opinions that you may desire to give. People often notice actions much quicker than they hear words. Even God’s word reminds us that faith without action is dead (Jam 2:14), and that we should be doers of the word rather than just hearers.  So if you want to see a change in your family, in your marriage, in your friendships, or in your workplace, model the behavior you would like to see. Be the catalyst of change within your circle of influence. Over time, you may discover people approaching you to find out how to do the same thing. No unsolicited advice will be needed because your actions did all the work.

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” James 1:22 NASB

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 NIV

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Romans 12:14-18 NIV

We can all avoid unnecessary disputes, strife, and confusion if we first choose to  submit out own thoughts and opinions to God (by actively seeking His direction and timing). Then, after  receiving clearance from God through His peace, we will be able to share what we believe the person needs to hear in a gentle, humble, and loving manner. In the entire process, God is glorified as we maintain humility and encourage unity in our relationships. And hopefully both we and and the person involved may be drawn closer into the arms of Christ, which is in fact the best place to be. 

I hope you all have been deeply encouraged (and maybe even challenged) just as I have been (and continue to be) about giving and reeiving advice. Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! To God be the glory!

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Standing Still to Wait on God

While sitting with the Lord this morning, He brought me back to one of the very first blog posts written for His Daily Dose. In that particular season, He was asking me to stand still and to wait for Him. Today I’m in a similar season, in that He has been requesting that I greatly slow down and wait for His leading. Over the next few posts, we’ll dive into waiting maturely, a concept that requires time and His grace. Like me, perhaps many of you are faced with (or anticipating) making some big decisions. My prayer is that you will be encouraged by my experiences and sharpened by His word. We serve an incredible God who is always for our best.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Standing…still. This isn’t easy. And it’s exactly what the Lord has asked me to do. I want to move forward, but He wants me to wait. Sound familiar?

This morning my heart was desperate and yearning for His direction, when the Holy Spirit began to speak:

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

Waiting. Not one of my personal favorites. Yet, I find it interesting that waiting requires strength. Why would the Lord tell us to take heart and be strong? Because it’s hard. And often times there are many setbacks (or so they appear) intermingled with distractions that can cause us to get off course. Our gaze needs to remain on Jesus.

My gaze needs to remain on Jesus.

Why must I strive to understand all the details of my future life? I need to be still and recognize that He is God. He’s got it all under control. His Word enforces this very truth: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

This discouragement and anxiety produced by my lack of understanding is absolutely pointless. Nothing good is yielded by my striving.

If the Lord is telling us to wait, then we must wait.

Here’s another scripture the Holy Spirit directed me to this morning:

My heart is not proud (arrogant, pretentious, domineering), O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; do not concern (worry, to engross, to be absorbed, distress) myself with great matters or things too wonderful (miraculous, incomprehensible, amazing, puzzling) for me. But I have stilled (settled, calmed, soothed) and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned (managing without something on which they have become dependent on) child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.” Psalm 131:1-3

This scripture blows my mind. It’s completely relevant to where I am today.

This is what I’ve learned:

  • I cannot dictate when the Lord reveals things that are beyond my understanding
  • I don’t need to focus on the things God has chosen not to reveal
  • I am to remove myself from the infatuation of my unknown future like a weaned child and to put my hope in the Lord (because He is good!)

What about you? Beloved, if you are also in a season of waiting. I pray that the Lord may grant you the strength and patience you need to complete this journey. He is faithful beloved. And He sees you standing still.

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