A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
We have had a lot of purple finches at the feeder outside our office window but yesterday a gold finch stopped by. We get quite a few of these beauties but they're squeamish so I was pleased to capture this shot before he sensed I was there and flew away.
"Connecting The Dots"
Message summary: 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).
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"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).
Yesterday we shared a message about, "connecting the dots" applying it to spiritual discernment.
But the term is also used in a business context such as Apple founder Steve Jobs, who viewed his leadership role as "connecting the dots" for people.
Far too often it seems our modern world with all its information, education and supposed brilliance just can't connect the dots, especially the most important dot connections in life.
Biblically connecting the dots goes way beyond drawing a line from the numbers, 1 to 20. It requires discernment, wisdom and understanding. 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 a deep settled or unwavering peace as we have confidence that God is in control and working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). Psalm 119:165 states, "Great peace have they which love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble." Connecting the dots also gives us a fuller understanding about current events from a spiritual and eternal perspective which helps to form our personal perspective. "The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple" (Psalm 119:130).
Today so 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 knowledge one attains he or she may still be a fool according to Scripture. Such an 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 unregenerate 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 since, "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 I affirm, "Yes, I believe!" Several years ago Brooksyne led a choir in this great song of faith which powerfully expresses our ongoing belief in God our Creator in the midst of the deadly assaults and daily insults perpetrated against believers every day.
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, 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 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
Ben Smart, an Australian campus minister, shares this perspective on connecting the dots:
There are two extremes that we should seek to avoid:
On the one hand, some people love to study theology, to stretch their brains, to learn, and to debate and discuss in-depth theology, but it has no connection to the way they live their lives. If you find yourself more tempted to lean in this direction, be very careful that you don’t let Christianity become merely an intellectual exercise. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
On the other hand, some people couldn’t care less about theology, because they would rather just live good lives for Jesus. But since their life practice isn’t informed by and based on good theology, they are prone to go astray. If you find yourself eager to do good works, yet you are bored by studying the Bible, then I encourage you to remember that the Bible is the only sure way that we can know how to live and do good works. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16).
Rather than falling into either of these extremes, we are to study the Bible and theology in order that we might better know God, His character, and His will for our lives. We learn and listen in order that we might live rightly, and honour God in all that we do. It is absolutely vital that we connect the dots between theology and the way we live our lives. Either one of these two is fatally insufficient on its own.
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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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