Prudently receiving instruction

Pr. 15:5:  “A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent.”

Peter once had a remarkable vision of instruction from the Lord.

Meet another man:  a Gentile named Cornelius, a devout man who feared God with all his household, giving generously and praying to God always.  In a vision, he was told that His prayers and alms had come up for a memorial before God, and that a man named Peter would come and tell him what to do.

In His vision, the Lord revealed to Peter that no man is common or unclean, and that God shows no partiality.  This was a life-changing revelation!  When Peter preached to Cornelius’ household, the Holy Spirit fell upon the household.  The Gentiles not only spoke in tongues and magnified God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but they were baptized with water, as well.

Because Peter received the correction of his Father, this was a major shift in the church and in the meaning of the Great Commission.

Peter certainly had a choice.  He could have ignored the correction and refused to go to Cornelius.  Upon arriving at Cornelius’ house, he even reminded Cornelius that it was unlawful for him to be there.  He went on; however, explaining that God had given him new instructions.  Peter prudently followed the instructions of the Lord and our lives have never been the same.

Also worth noting…Cornelius was following the instructions of the Lord long before this happened, this fact went up as a memorial before the Lord, and his life was forever changed.  God’s instructions are always for good.  Perhaps they are for our own good, as in the case of Cornelius.  Perhaps they are for the good of others, as we see with Peter’s instructions.  Regardless, He knows best.

The Lord humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth.  (Ps. 113:6)  It is prudent for us to follow His lead.

Listening,

jamie

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Don’t despise your privileges

Pr. 1:7:  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

We cannot follow our own minds, hearts, whims, or societal laws.  Without reverence for the Lord, we are fools, floundering about in ignorance and sinfulness.  Our natural inclinations are to selfishness.  We were born selfish and we remain selfish.  If we have no fear of the Lord, our selfishness will guide our lives and our goals will be to do exactly what we want, exactly the way we want.

Fearing the Lord puts us in line with His vision.  He created us fearfully and wonderfully and has plans for us that include a hope and a future.  We must incline ourselves to His will and allow His wisdom to be what guides us.  He makes all things work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  Ro. 8:28.

Today, don’t despise wisdom and instruction.  Fear the Lord and gain knowledge.  Enjoy your time in the Word, learning truths to protect and keep you.  Don’t put it off.  We have been give full access to the heart of God.  Count your time of prayer as the privilege that it truly is, not as a labor you must complete to gain something.  We have been invited to boldly approach the throne of the King of Kings.  Don’t put off the gathering of the saints.  Who else in your life will teach you even more about the Lord and His amazing will for your life?  Who else will help you be accountable and keep you from becoming the fool we all are without Him?

Don’t follow your heart.  Do as Jesus asked His disciples:  Follow Him.

Be wise,

jamie

Be happy

Pr. 29:18:  “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.”

Have you ever been in a class room when the teacher leaves?  The teacher asks the kids to sit quietly while he or she slips out, but the moment the teacher leaves the door, the kids go crazy.  Without someone governing them, they talk, get out of their seats, write on the board, play with things they’re not usually allowed to touch, fight, throw things, and more.  It can be pure chaos.  When the teacher walks back in, everyone sits back down and tries to act subdued.  The teacher brings the “vision” of the classroom back through the door.

That’s a funny example that makes me chuckle a bit.  What’s not as funny is the reality of this same scenario when it comes to life not guided by God’s vision.  Without God’s vision guiding our thoughts and decisions, we cast of restraint and do whatever feels right at the moment, or even what others say is right.  God’s vision is cast clearly in His Word and He has given us guidelines by which we can live that are set in place to protect us and keep us from suffering the consequences of bad decisions.

The Lord created us out of the love in His heart and He desires fellowship with us.  He did not create “rules” to hold us under His thumb and make us miserable.  He placed His vision before us to bring us into salvation and to guide us to bring others with us.  He clearly displayed His love for us on the cross, so that we understand what is most important in this life.  If it was important enough for God to send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, then it is important enough for us to base our life on that sacrifice.

As I was reminded last night at VBS, Jesus performed miracles on this earth that weren’t always about healing or exorcism.  The Lord wants us to have life more abundantly, as evidenced in the feeding of the 5,000, the turning of water to wine, and the complete deliverance of the woman at the well.  The Lord loves us.  Our obedience to His Word isn’t about domination.  It is about us being obedient because of our love and respect for Him.  The result of us being obedient to the very things that protect us, is that we will then be happy.

Satan tries to distract us and get our eyes off God’s vision, promising freedom in the flesh, but Satan is a liar!  The flesh is never satisfied.  We can feed it for 60 years, and it will always want more.  God; on the other hand, God satisfies completely.  He fills us and then fills us again.  He continues to give more and more, as we hunger and thirst for Him.

When we get in line with the revelation of the Lord, and live a life that proves it, we will be truly free.  What sin actually brings is the bondage of guilt, shame, fear, brokenness, destroyed relationships, and consequences.  The Spirit of the Lord brings true freedom.  He gives us freedom and releases all bonds through mercy, grace, forgiveness, peace, and joy.  God already sent Jesus to set us free.  The proof of His love and His liberty was on the cross.  He cares for us and gave us access to His vision.  Let’s restrain ourselves within its bounds and experience true happiness.

Remember the cross,

jamie