Knowledge Isn’t All Powerful (4/6)

 

This post is the 4th in a 6-part series on Idolizing Knowledge. Read the rest of the posts here. Guest directory info is available here.

Sitting down to play a board game is relaxing. Until it isn’t.

One game in particular gets my wheels spinning with a frustration that is probably healthy for me.

It’s called 7 Wonders. Each turn, every player selects a card from their hand and then passes the rest to their neighbor. Around and around the hands go, whittling down with each turn. Inevitably, I realize I’ve got two cards in a hand that will allow my neighbor to win. I can only take one card though.

Come the passing of the hands, my neighbor wins. And I knew they would. But I couldn’t do a thing about it.


We can know all about something and have no power to change it or act on it.

The anthem “knowledge is power” gets us on our feet until we’re on our knees, fully informed about something we can’t change. Whether we learn all about a loved ones’ diagnosis or gain insight into someone else’s success, knowledge does not always equate to power.

Forgetting this fact is one of the most frustrating things for wanna-know-it-alls like me.

I think of the prophets.

Even with visions of what was to come and warnings given by God, they had no power to change the course of the people.

God even told Ezekiel that as a watchman Ezekiel was not responsible for the people’s responses to the prophecies. He was merely responsible for speaking the truth. There was no sugarcoating. Ezekiel was to speak knowing the people would not listen and destruction would surely still come.

Ezekiel remarked:

“They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word.” –Ezekiel 13:6

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We’re like that. We treat the knowledge we have like it’s the God-given truth and as if we’ve divined how to apply it properly. Using our knowledge, we proclaim how things are going to be. Then, we get mad when God doesn’t backup our plans with the power to see them through.

The gap between our knowledge and our power is where surrender lives. <Tweet this>

God is all-knowing and all-powerful. There’s nothing He doesn’t know about and nothing He can’t do something about.

That’s why we end up on our knees, fully informed and full incapable. We know the One who is capable, and we pray He exerts His power in a way that fits our knowledge.

However, God’s all-knowingness exceeds the information we have. We know the type of cancer, the odds, the way it affects the body. He knows all that too- and He knows how it fits into His perfect plan. God knows how to make good out of what’s not good. He can do it and He will.

Since His knowledge exceeds ours and He is good, we have reason to trust that whatever power He exerts, what He knows and what He does will align for our good and His glory.

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Surrendering to the One who is in control should be relieving.

If we’re honest about the limits of human knowledge, we realize it is good we aren’t in control. We don’t have the know-how to wield sovereignty well. And when we think we do, we can end up:

  • Growing egotistical and distant from God
  • Having “our own understanding” define our path
  • Leading others astray because our knowledge is limited
  • Unprepared to face the truth
  • Getting way ahead of ourselves and the Lord’s plans

Laying down what we know before the One who knows what to do protects us. Especially from messes like these. My husband points out, “What we don’t know we can’t control.” Whew.

Surrender in the space between knowledge and power relieves the tension that wears us and tears us as we live out the limits of being human.


Do you need to take knowledge off the pedestal of power to lay what you know at His feet?

Join me for the next 5 weeks to delve deeper into shattering the idol of knowledge to take hold of knowledge as God intends it to be.

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope, #DreamTogetherLinkup, #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #LiveFreeThursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

I would love to have you guest post on First and Second. Submissions for a guest directory on Idolizing Knowledge are due March 15th! More info on guest posting here.

Marital Spats and God’s Plan (Giveaway)

**Giveaway details at the end of the post!**

The day our premarital counseling workbook began addressing arguments, my husband and I were relieved. We have always been really good at arguing. It’s one of our unexpected spiritual gifts (ha!) We even told the pastor counseling us.

He was surprised.

Apparently, most couples get married believing they’ll always just get along or are caught up in love to the point that arguing has yet to cross their minds.

Not us. The Lord uniquely blessed us with plenty of practice disagreeing early on.

I mean it. The Lord gifted us with arguments.

My husband and I learned from the Lord Himself to argue well and to resolve issues to His glory. We have been taught to fight- for each other. The Lord has allowed us to experience strife- teaching us to strive to discern the Lord’s will despite our own propensities for sin.

Arguing can be to God’s glory too.

When we learn to disagree in a godly way, we learn to work in unity with the Lord to live according to His will. 

That’s what The Blessings of Unity by Richard Case is about. I really enjoyed the book’s no-nonsense approach to the topic.

Married to Linda for more than 45 years, Case offers Biblical insight into one of God’s primary commands for husbands and wives: to cleave to one another. Case puts the command in context: not only is cleaving in marriage important, but it is also part of the unity of the body of Christ.

As Case says on page 35, “unity is brought about by our desire to pursue God.” We ought to seek this sort of unity in Christ’s body as the church and as couples.

The Blessings of Unity provides comprehensive Bible study examining several angles and forms of unity. I’ve never encountered a topical marriage book so structured around passages of Scripture.

Each chapter addresses challenges and strategies for unity in the context of living by God’s Word.

Being aligned with the Holy Spirit is another main theme throughout The Blessings of Unity. Case explains: “The same one Holy Spirit in me is also in my spouse…our decisions can always go to unity with the Spirit when we are willing to hear what the Spirit has to say” (pg 42.)

Insightful points like these are packed in tightly.

If there is a criticism of this book, it is also a warning: The book is dense to the point of disorganization. You will find extensive, helpful, Biblical truth throughout, but you will have to work to put it all together in a memorable format for yourself.

I imagine spouses would benefit from reading the book individually and discussing it informally, as it’s not clearly organized for shared study. Retreat or study leaders are also likely to find essential truth in The Blessings of Unity, but should expect to create their own more organized materials for teaching and discussion.

Certainly useful and supported by substantial Bible lessons, The Blessings of Unity is an important reference guide for those involved personally or professionally in the work of more faithfully pursuing God through marital relationships.

Find a copy here.


GIVEAWAY of THE BLESSINGS OF UNITY:

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post
  2. Be sure to include your email address in the private form for commenting
  3. Comment by 11pm EST Monday, November 21st.
  4. I’ll randomly select a winner on Tuesday, November 22nd and notify you by email if you won! You will then receive a free copy in the mail. 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


BONUS GIVEAWAY: All For Jesus eBook

If you’d like a practical 6-page eBook on living an unshakable life, you can grab it here.


This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

Lie 2: Your Sin is Special

(A series on lies sin tells us to tempt us and trick us. Join me in exposing sin’s lies to God’s Word in this 8 part series.)

We don’t like to talk about our sin because we think people will judge us.

So we believe a lie that keeps us isolated and alone, one that falsely inflates our egos.

We believe our sin is special.

Convinced people won’t understand why we sin, we hide it. After all, they don’t know what leads us to make our choices. Despite what the old adage suggests, nobody, by walking a mile in another person’s shoes, knows the feel of the fit on the shoe owner’s feet.

It’s true- we are all individual people, with individual accounts to give before God. But when our individualized sin appears to be what’s special about us, we have a problem.

The inflation makes it seem as though our sins and our identities are one in the same. This lie makes a mess of our relationships, our concept of honesty, and our sense of shame. It makes a mess of us, melding us into people who hold sin in high regard.

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When we believe our sins are special, then:

  • Talking about them is risky
  • Our excuses seem valid
  • Others can’t get close to our real, imperfect selves
  • Sin’s isolating effect is falsely normalized
  • Sin looks way bigger than it is
  • We compare our sins
  • The forgiver of our sins seems under-equipped
Case Study: Comparison

Comparison suggests our sins are "special" because they are too little or too much.

We hesitate to tackle our sins when they seem so much worse than those around us face. At the same time, we sometimes excuse our sins when we compare our failings to the “bigger” sins of people we know.

Comparing our sins’ to others can entice us to blame others for our errors, minimize or exaggerate our own sins, and judge other people for theirs’.

Comparison is just another way sin deceives us about the special and personal quality of forgiveness by Christ. 

God is a knower of hearts. He knows more about our hearts than even we do. As He forms our hearts, He calls them special, good, and precious in His sight.

God believes we’re special.

Notice: it is not our sin He calls special. It’s us.

His proclamation of our value is demonstrated in this: Jesus sent His son to die for us, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life- freely (John 3:16.) It is for freedom Christ has set us free (John 8:36.)

Our freedom to be especially who He made us to be is humbling and precious.

We are uniquely created by Him and for Him- sin is a condition He didn’t choose for us and will remove for us.

Because we are special to Him, He takes special care to deal with our unique sin, forgiving these hearts He knows so well.

Call out the lie that seeks to enslave: sin isn’t unique. God is.

We are His, and He calls us special too.

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Interested in guest posting on First And Second? Click HERE…looking for your thoughts to add to the Sin Lies Series!

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

 

Just For Me

As the speaker in the video wraps up her lesson, she prays. All of us in the room grow quiet, listening in. The screen grows dark and before anyone launches the discussion questions, a friend speaks up.

“Sorry you all had to sit through that,” she grins, “because that was just for me.

I know what she means.

One of the amazing abilities of our Lord is reaching out to us individually while reaching out to us all.

His sweet love and unique relationship with each of His children involves personal gifts and private moments. There are inside jokes and memories that hold us warmly, tucked into his care.

One of the kindest, more precious things the Lord has taught me is this: He doesn’t just care for me, He cares about me.


Sometimes the sunrise’s streak of gold peeking over the trees is just for me.

The weather isn’t what everyone wanted, but He did it for me. I asked last night.

Whoever donated those exact boots to the thrift store didn’t know it, but they were just for me, an unexpected gift from the Lord.

My husband’s shoulder, though not his own selection, isn’t too large or too small. It’s just right- made, I believe, just for me and my heavy head.

As I speak to God on a matter, asking a specific question, He rephrases it back to me with an answer through the song on the radio proclaiming truth I need in that moment. The lyrics are familiar, but that time, He played it just for me.

At the end of one Saturday, I am tired of struggling to surrender something to Him and I’ve grown weary from the humbling that’s been happening. The reason I press on is the commitment I’ve made to obey Him in this matter. Settling into bed, I open a book I’ve been struggling to enjoy, one I’ve grown weary of plodding through. I’m reading it only because I committed to making it all the way through.

The chapter rubs salve on my soul. Words just for me, custom shaped from an author’s keyboard to my aching heart by the Lord’s own hands.

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I open the good book, the only one I’m known to actually hug goodnight, and open to the page I left off on. This is His word, active and alive, and it quickly enfolds those feelings of fear in the triumphant embrace of the one who died just for me. Words spoken a couple thousand years ago, spoken right now to me by the same Savior.

In the words of the Isaiah 25:1, “Lord, you are my God.”

And because of Christ, I’m more than your creation. I’m your child. Do you know if you’re His child, too? As His child, do you see God’s good gifts- the just for you kind?

It’s a precious thing, that He cares so much for just me and just you.

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

What God Has For You Today

It’s a new day. What if it’s a good one?

God has a few things for his followers today (and everyday.) They’ll make whatever your schedule holds better. You don’t have to take them or appreciate them, but you can if you’d like. His offer is free and wide open.

What’s His offer? Read the rest of this guest post at Uniquely Yours Ministries

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

In The Midst of Trials- The Word Works Series

 

It always seems that Ifeoma has a timely lesson on her blog, Purposeful and Meaningful. Sharing practical tips on relevant topics, Ifeoma keeps Christ at the center of her writing. Grateful to have her sharing a challenge to grow in prayer based on God’s Word.


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One fateful night, after I had spent a splendid time studying and praying, I prepared to ease into my writing by checking my messages.

You wouldn’t believe the message I got. My eyes literally widened in shock. I read the message over and over again. It is not possible, I said to myself. This can’t be true!

It was far from being good news, friend.

I was in the midst of a mess. Someone had set me up. Now I was called to my own defense.

I lost my balance. Lord, what is this? At 2 am I couldn’t bear it any more, I woke Obi up and briefed him. He began to pray about it too.

It was time for a divine intervention. I had less than 24 hours to prove I was innocent of this senseless accusation. At about 8:30 am, I let a few sisters know about what was going on and we prayed. The Word was declared over the situation. Sometimes we need other sister friends in our lives to pray along with us. We need true friends who would stand by us in faith. Remember Ruth and Naomi?

Every Christian Woman needs praying Sisters.

God’s Word works. There is tremendous power in the Name of Jesus.

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My heart found peace and quiet and I went about my routine activities believing that the Lord would vindicate me.

Friend, God did it! Amen!

By 8:30pm that same day, I received a follow-up email confirming that the perpetrators had confessed and my name was cleared. Thank God for His faithfulness.

Are you been falsely accused?

Is there a situation threatening to swallow you up?

Does it seem like everything is contending with your peace?

My prayer for you:

In the Jesus Name, there is deliverance. In the Name of Jesus, there is divine help for you. The Lord will quiet every raging storm blowing over your life in Jesus Name. The Lord will fight every battle over your life and set you free from the trap you are caught in. He alone will deliver His people and take the glory in Jesus Name.

The Word of God works in every situation.

As a believer, strengthen your faith by feeding on His Word.

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost…”

Jude 1:20 (KJV)

Believe and act in faith.

God’s Word is a powerful weapon in the hands of those who have faith and understand the potency of His Word.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds”

 2 Corinthians 10:4 (KJV)

You my friend, are not of this world. You operate differently because the mystery of the God’s kingdom is given to you not to the world. Therefore, the world cannot understand it. To them it is foolishness to call on the Name of Jesus and to speak the Word. To us, the Word of God is everything.  For more reading… (1 Corinthians 2:4-7 and 1 John 4:4)

We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory (1 Corinthians 2:7.)

In the midst of trials don’t give up your faith. Hold on to His promise over your life and He will come through for you. In whatever situation you find yourself, lift up your voice with all your heart and call upon the name of Jesus. Wait for Him and be not discouraged. 

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

 

THE WORD WORKS

A simple “I love you” can take root in a person’s heart and change them. Hearing “I believe in you” or “you’re special” makes all the difference to children- and confident adults. Likewise, disparaging words can wreak havoc on anyone’s life.

Our words are powerful. How much more are His?

Over the centuries, people have used God’s Word for many powerful purposes. Some have seen it as a rule book. There are people who find it so unlike any other book that they won’t approach it without an intercessor. People have used it to punish, dehumanize, build up, excuse, justify, and permit any number of wrongs.

On the other hand, many have found God’s Word to be a valuable self-help book. It has been used in diverse and plentiful ways to teach morality. The Bible has informed cultures and governments. On a more personal level, it has been used to encourage and to build up.

But Scripture isn’t a tool for us to use and mold as we find convenient.

God’s Word- breathed by Him upon us- is alive and active.

His Word is at Work.

A weapon we wield, a light for our path, a refuge we run to, Scripture does more than work for us. God’s Word works in us. <<click to tweet>>

In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul thanks God:

“because, when you received the word of God…you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”

As Christians, the Holy Spirit uses the God-breathed Word to breathe new life into believers. His Word works in us to:

Equip us. Correct us. Teach us. Train us.

Guide us. Bless us. Grow us.

Free us. Transform us. Exhort us. Sustain us.

Flow through us.

(all those links are to Scripture- breathe it in!!)

We don’t always feel like God’s Word really works in our culture, our circumstances, or our lives. But He does- and it does.

I’ve experienced this in my own life and study of Scripture. I know many others have too.

For several upcoming Mondays, some wonderful bloggers will be sharing posts in this series reflecting on how God’s Word Works in their lives. Each Wednesday, I’ll reflect on a particular Word from His Word related to each blogger’s post.

We would love for you to join us as we praise the Lord and rejoice in His Work in our lives through the Word! 

Join in this multi-week series of bloggers sharing how God’s Word has worked in their lives! <<Click to Tweet>>

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

 

9. BEHOLD: Our Treasurer

People tend to count often in December. Fastidious budgeters often check their bank accounts multiple times a day during December. Others tally what’s left in their wallets. Some people take the time to count their blessings. I know I’ve also counted the hours in the day and the tasks left to complete.

December is a month of spending, tracking, budgeting, and collecting. Whether our time, our money, our gifts, or our to-do’s, we have much to manage.

Fortunately, the Christ we celebrate this month is the best treasurer to ever exist.

“Does he not see my ways and count my every step?” Job 31:4

                        “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Luke 12:7

If He knows the number of the hairs on our heads and every step we take, He is certainly doing a better job of keeping track of our mess and our gifts than we could ever hope to. More than just tracking, though, Christ, on our behalf:

  • Has paid our debt
  • Has provided what we need
  • Has invested our lives in eternal things
  • Has given us everything we need, counted and tallied, to glorify Him
  • Has sacrificed to ensure that all our loved ones are covered too
  • Has secured for us a future with Him that is priceless –and that can’t be bought or sold

The Christmas lists of budget sheets, wants and needs, and plans to complete look a little different when we recognize the work that our treasurer is doing.

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

Behold, the one who counts most (pun intended!)

Behold, the treasurer who exchanges for treasure in heaven.

Behold, the treasure Himself.

This post is being shared on: #Thought-Provoking Thursday