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Tuesday, January 13, 2015
A winter scene in Wisconsin
(Photo by Georgia)
"Connecting The Dots"
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"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Many of you have heard the strategic phrase, "connecting the dots". It comes from a form of puzzle containing a number of sequenced dots. At the completion an object such as a person, animal, or flower is revealed. I liked doing those puzzles as a child and still do from time to time.
But the term is also a metaphor used to illustrate an ability to associate one idea with another, to see the "big picture". It is often used in a business context such as Apple founder Steve Jobs, who viewed his leadership role as “connecting the dots” for people.
We also hear the phrase used as we observe current events and watch the news. So often it seems our modern world with all its education and supposed brilliance just can't connect the dots!
Biblically connecting the dots goes way beyond drawing a line from the numbers, 1 to 20. It requires discernment, understanding and wisdom. To understand means to grasp the nature, significance, or explanation of the subject matter. The really big and most important picture is understanding the purpose of life.
Living with a big picture outlook leads to peace as we have confidence that God is in control and working all things out for our good. Psalm 119:165 states, "Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble." Connecting the dots also guides us in more fully understanding current events from a spiritual and eternal perspective. "The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple" (Psalm 119:130).
Today many mock God and those who follow Him. These rantings actually strengthen my faith and resolve to serve the Lord, even more so as I consider the source of disbelief going back to the Garden of Eden. Disbelief and mocking the things of God are certainly not unique to our generation.
Today's Scripture verse gives powerful insight on this matter: "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Many have always considered the things that come from the Spirit of God as foolishness. They cannot understand them, regardless of what level of human knowledge or formal education they attain, since they do not have spiritual discernment, which is a result of spiritual regeneration.
Regardless of how much wisdom they or others assert they have they're what the Holy Scripture describes as fools. This assessment may seem unkind, unloving and even harsh but consider Psalm 14:1: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'." An interesting footnote is that the Hebrew word rendered "fool" in the Psalms denotes one who is morally deficient. Romans 1:22 states, "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools." Later in the same chapter is a list of characteristics of the unregenerated which includes, "They have no understanding" (Romans 1:31).
The Psalmist stated "I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding" (Psalm 119:32). Biblical understanding must have a foundation in faith for "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Today we affirm, "Yes, Lord, I believe!" Several years ago Brooksyne led our choir in this great song of faith which came to mind today as we prepared this message. It powerfully expresses our ongoing belief in God our Creator in the midst of the deadly assaults and daily insults perpetrated against believers everyday. (A link to a video of the song and the lyrics are in the footer.)
Today we encourage each reader to unashamedly place their faith in the Lord who guides us in connecting the dots of life. "We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true" (1 John 5:20).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I recognize my relationship with You is based solely on the faith You impart to me through the power of Your Holy Spirit when I surrender my heart to You. Your Word declares that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God. Through my words and actions I want to express to a disbelieving world that I do believe! I am not ashamed of the Gospel, even if it would cost me my life on this side of heaven, because it is the power of God to everyone who believes. Help me to be merciful to those who doubt and praying for them to be snatched from the fire as You save them through Your atoning blood. In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Yes, I Believe Video Clark Family
When I said that I would follow
It was with an honest heart
But I didn't fully understand the cost
'Cause there are saints throughout the ages
And there are those today
Who show us what it really means to carry the cross
That only fuels my devotion
No matter what comes I will say
Yes, I believe
I believe with all that is in me
Yes, I believe
Though the world rises up against me
I will be faithful
To the choice I have made
I am determined
I will not be ashamed
To live so the whole world can see
That yes, I believe
There will never be a reason
To lose this confidence
For I have found where my assurance lies
It is not in my own power
But in who my savior is
And the truth of this conviction
Makes me shout to the sky
Yes, I believe He is risen
Yes, I believe we are forgiven
Yes, I believe and one day we'll see Him
And together we'll say
Words & Music by Joel Lindsay & Tony Wood
"He Will Instruct Him" (Psalms 29:8-9, 12-14) Video Scripture Memory Songs
"Teach Me Thy Way" Video Maranatha! Singers
"A Heart To Know Me" (Jeremiah 24:7) Video Scripture Memory Songs
"Direct My Footsteps" (Psalms 119:132-133,135 &165-166) Video Scripture Memory Songs
Finally today: Our friend John, observing our temporary mailbox photo yesterday, "Your mail box looks like a giant Praying Mantis!"
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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