Posts Tagged ‘devotionals’

Knowledge is acquired information. Intelligence is the ability to use that information to your advantage. Wisdom is learning not to destroying yourself or others in the process.” – Anonymous

In Greek mythology, there are tales of a sacred spring located in the land of Pieria, a region of ancient Macedonia. According to the myth, drinking the Pierian Spring waters would impart great knowledge and inspiration. Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744), one of the great English poets of the eighteenth century, popularized the mythological spring in his 1711 poem entitled An Essay on Criticism,

“A little learning is a dang’rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again”

Pope was expounding upon the danger of shallow learning (or knowledge). Merely sipping on information can be intoxicating as it will make you feel like you know a great deal more than you really do. However, drinking deeply has a sobering effect as you become more and more aware of your own ignorance.

Socrates (469-399 B.C.) the classical Greek philosopher once said, The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Ponder that for a moment. Actually, the point here is very simple; we really don’t know very much. And that my dear friend is why we must keep learning.

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – George Bernard Shaw

Some say that ignorance is the only true path to contentment. According to them, the more you know, the more you realize how happy you were being clueless. Okay, who has not reminisced a time or two about the idyllic days of our youth? So what happened? We grew up. Slowly, as our knowledge increased, we entered the sometimes dark and painful days of adult life. Truthfully, ignorance is NOT bliss – especially when it is used as an excuse to falsely justify apathy. Real joy and peace of mind is seldom found in blithe stupidity.

And then there are those who emphasize spiritual knowledge while shunning intellectual learning. They see the secular and the sacred as somehow mutually exclusive. As a practicing Christian, my faith in God does not require me to abandon practical learning. In life, there are problems to be solved and pitfalls to be avoided. Everyday knowledge is useful – if not vital – while we live in the physical world. But remember, our hopes must never hang upon finite human achievement. No matter the zeniths of mankind’s knowledge, I will always place my absolute trust in the infinite wisdom of the Divine Spirit – the Creator of all things.

But what happens when mankind’s ever increasing empirical, academic and scientific knowledge leads to runaway human arrogance? Can an inability to recognize the inadequacies of our imperfect mortal achievements lead to many dangers and even destruction?

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) once said, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – but so is a lot.” You know what? I think he was right. In an age of “info-mania” with most of humanity swept up in the vortex of intellectual and technological advancement, an increasing dependency on human knowledge alone can be very dangerous indeed. The prospects of an unchecked knowledge explosion in the hands of people who may have questionable motives or little regard for moral boundaries and restraint is frightening.  While the pursuit of knowledge can yield many blessings, its misuse can become a curse.  Quoting Einstein once again, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”  He made this observation more than 60 years ago.  I can only imagine what his reflections would be if he were alive today.

Just look around. We live in a time of extraordinary achievements – the information age – modern marvels. Many of these advancements have improved our quality of life immensely. I am certainly not anti-progress. But, what has the knowledge explosion really cost our nation and the world? Traditions and morality continue to fall by the wayside. Our once cherished values are almost meaningless. Vanity is now celebrated as a virtue. Religion is trampled underfoot. Self-absorption is a doctrine and perversions of every kind are the new norms.

The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief” – Sigmund Freud

John Bertram Phillips (1906 – 1982) was an English Bible scholar, translator, author and clergyman, perhaps best known for his translation of the scriptures – The New Testament in Modern English. Dr. Phillips sheds some keen insight in his rendering of a passage in the New Testament book of Romans. Here, the apostolic writer Paul is addressing the Christian community living in ancient Rome:

3-8 “As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all.  (Romans 12:3)

Hmmm. A well-balanced assessment of who we are. The ancient Greeks had an aphorism (concise statement) that you may have heard – “know thyself.”  The only way to really know ourselves is to know the one who made us. Learn the truth about God – who he really is and what really happened to his creation – and you will begin to know and understand who you really are.

I once read that the first diamond found in South Africa was picked up off the ground by a farm boy who took it home for his sisters to play with. He had no idea what it was. To him it was just another pretty stone. I wonder how many people are just like that little boy.  A treasure more valuable than a priceless diamond is within their grasp. The wisdom and knowledge of the Almighty Creator of this present reality is hidden in the sacred texts of scripture. And yet, that knowledge is seen as worthless by some due to a lack of understanding.

12 “But though men can do all these things, they don’t know where to find wisdom and understanding. 13 They not only don’t know how to get it, but, in fact, it is not to be found among the mortals. – (Job 28:12-13).

You can of course, in your arrogance, reject every word I have written today. But that doesn’t change a thing. There isn’t an opt-out clause in the bible. You are and you always will be subject to the truth. If God is all knowing than his knowledge is perfect.  He is therefore absolute truth. For that reason, what He chooses to reveal to humanity is the truth for all of mankind.   However, if ignorance is your bliss, enjoy yourself. But remember, Truth always triumphs in the end. There will come a day of reckoning.

It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.” – John Locke

As a follower of the Liberator Jesus and a believer in the only wise God, the path before me is now certain. I have resigned the perfunctory practice of mere religion so that I can live my life in true freedom under God’s Amazing Grace. My knowledge grows with each passing day. His Divine Spirit enables me to see his principles and precepts in pure focus. His wisdom is now my goal; for it is by wisdom that I know how and when to apply the knowledge he has caused me to understand.

7“Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! And with your wisdom, develop common sense and good judgment (understanding).” (Proverbs 4:7)

May we pray? Almighty God, “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; Cause me to understand wherein I have erred” (Job 6:24) and please Lord, “Give me understanding, and I shall live” (Psalm 119:144) and help me to grow each day in wisdom even as I learn to walk in your ways. (Psalm 111:10). Amen

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
InsightToday, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656
Hypocrites in the Church?   Yes, and in the lodge and at the home.   Don’t hunt through the Church for a hypocrite.   Go home and look in the mirror.   Hypocrites?   Yes.   See that you make the number one less.      – Billy Sunday –
Why do people go to church anyway?

Church not your thing? Tell me your story.

“I tried that church thing. Bunch of hypocrites mixed in with losers and assorted other misfits who can’t (or won’t) have any real fun. Who needs the drama? Bible thumpers really annoy me anyway. So called sinners are more fun. I’m basically a happy person. I guess I believe in a higher power; the man upstairs. Just not sure what or who that is. I’ll live my life the way I like and do good things whenever I can.”

Fine. I hear you. A happy agnostic.

Now, let’s turn our attention to all you faithful Sunday-go-to-meeting folks. What compels you to return week after week to the place where the faithful gather for worship?

  • Tradition?
  • Guilt?
  • Duty?
  • Fear?
  • Emptiness?
  • Etc., etc.

How many church services have you attended over the years? Ever wondered, “What am I doing here?” Week after week you respectfully go through the motions prescribed by your religion. To what end? Just to feel better?

And what is religion anyway?

  • Is it just a set of dogmas which help you to understand the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe?
  • Is it just something that you follow with blind ritualistic devotion?
  • Is it a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs? (And if so, does that make church an assembly of persons who share a common adherence to a particular set of doctrines and practices which govern their lives on earth?)

And what is life anyway?

  • Is it just living out our allocated time and then disappearing in death?
  • Is it just learning to subsist while we pass these earthly years?
  • Is it just chasing after the elusive brass rings of happiness and fulfillment while simultaneously dodging as much pain and sorrow as possible?

And what is truth anyway?

  • Is it just living in harmony with fact or conviction?
  • Is it subjective or objective; relative or absolute?
  • Is it just the product of a cultural consensus?

Wait, I hear the voice of the confused and the misinformed,

“Religion is about the higher power. Something is out there and I believe in it, you know. I’m good with that. And life is, you know, being alive and living like a good person should. Now Truth, that’s whatever works for you, man. My truth can be totally different from your truth but they are still both truths, you know?  Anyway, who cares about all this stuff?”

I care.   And, I suspect that I am not alone.   For most people, knowing the truth is very important. No sane person would deliberately believe in a lie.

I hate how hard spiritual transformation is and I hate how long it takes.   I hate thinking about how many people have gone to church for decades and remain joyless or judgmental or bitter or superior.        – John Ortberg  –

Have you heard of Pontius Pilate? He was in charge of the Roman province of Judaea from 26–36 AD. He is best remembered for his role in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.

33 Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. 34 Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”   37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” 38“What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. (John 18:30-38)

At first, Pilate finds no reason why Jesus should be sentenced to death. He even tried to persuade the crowd to let him go. However, being a quintessential politician; he soon caves to the madness of an unruly special interest group (the angry mob). But, not before attempting to avoid personal responsibility for the death of Jesus by ceremonially washing his hands of the whole matter.

Let’s not miss the significant statements Jesus made regarding the truth when he was being interrogated by Pilate. He said,

  • I came into the world to testify to the truth
  • All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true

Pilate’s well-known response to Jesus still reverberates in the hearts of mankind to this day. He said, “What is Truth?”

When it comes to that question, you may be more like Pontius Pilate than you care to admit. You see, a genuine Christian will accept something as truth only if it is consistent with the thoughts and ways of the architect of all things (God). The scriptures teach that His thoughts and ways are on a much higher level than those of mankind.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
   (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

Oh the foolishness of humans who think they will ever be fully aware of what the architect of all things knows. God alone delineates truth because He IS truth. God is the basis of all we perceive as reality.

The Church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians, but a school for the education of imperfect ones. – Henry Ward Beecher –

When Jesus spoke (prayed) to the creator (God) on our behalf, He asked that we would be made a distinct and separate people in the earth (Holy) by way of our knowing the truth.

13-19”Now I’m returning to you (God). I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing so my people can experience my joy completed in them.  I gave them your word; the godless world hates them because of it.  …They didn’t join the world’s ways, just as I didn’t join the world’s ways.  I’m not asking that you take them out of the world, but that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world. Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating myself for their sakes so they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission. (John 17:16-19 MSG)

Truth as revealed to us by the creator of all things is what sets us apart from the ordinary inhabitants of earth. When you are in tune with the one true God, you are the genuine “illuminate” – the enlightened ones.

Jesus also said,

“You will KNOW the truth and the TRUTH will free you”. (John 8:32)

Wait, I hear the voice of the cynic and the skeptic,

“Free me from what? Like, I’m already a free man. I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. I don’t need the God crutch. That’s a bunch of @#$%.”

Yeah, right. You keep telling yourself that.

For the rest of us, knowing the truth is what liberates us. We are freed from,

  • The Law of Sin and Death
  • The bondage of empty traditions
  • The prison of endless guilt & fear
  • The pain of loneliness and rejection
  • And the robotic cycle of religious obligation without joy and significance

Jesus, our liberator, came to this planet to teach us the actual meaning and purpose of life. In essence His message was very simple:

  • You are lost – I AM the way.
  • You are deceived – I AM the truth.
  • You are the walking dead – I AM the unlimited life you need.

Isn’t that what we all want – genuine life – not mere physical existence? The Spirit of life in Jesus compels us onward with a definite purpose for our natural terrestrial life and then propels us into eternity with the creator when this physical existence is over.

Sunday morning church service is not an enormous priority;   spending time with other believers is.    – Donald Miller –

So why attend church?

Thought I forgot, didn’t you. Yes, we’re back to that question once again. Why assemble with other people who seek to know the truth about God? Certainly not out of duty or obligation. Here are just a few reasons:

  • To celebrate life beyond existence
  • To encourage and to be encouraged
  • To see the Truth unfold more clearly
  • To grow in genuine wisdom and knowledge
  • To learn how to serve the purpose of God almighty by becoming an instrument for His use in this lost and rapidly decaying world order

But perhaps the most compelling reason to find an assembly you can be comfortable in calling your “church” home is that the scriptures (God’s Word) tell us we should,

25 Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord’s return to earth is coming nearer. (Hebrews 10:25)

Soon we shall behold Him – face to face. Until then, spend time with those of like faith and be occupied in the work He’s given you to do. Invest your “talents” wisely. That way, when he returns, you’ll have something of eternal value to show for your life.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12)

The story of Adam and Eve is meant to help people grasp the dilemma of humanity. In Adam, the whole future of the human race is personified. He was placed upon the earth by God, provided with a soul-mate to complete him and instructed as to what they could and could not do. Eventually, Adam listened to the wrong voice, overlooked the rules and violated the will of God. In the parlance of Christianity, this singular act of disobedience is often referred to as “Original Sin”.

13”Yes, people sinned even before the law was given (to Moses). But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. 14Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did…” (Romans 5:13-14)

From the incident at Eden with Adam & Eve to the rise of the prophet Moses was about 2500 years. But, from the moment Adam knowingly transgressed, there were consequences. The whole dynamic of the earth and the human relationship with God – the architect of humanity – was now in disorder. It was not until the time of Moses that God communicated the magnitude of the disruption.

19”Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people.” (Galatians 3:19)

The disobedience of Adam brought “Death” to the human race. It is helpful to think of this death as separation from God rather than cessation of life. Physical death is just one byproduct of this disconnect from the giver of life.  Every human being born on this earth inherits the consequence of Adam’s breaking the rules. We are all born in “sin” (death).   Eternity is where we belong, but time is where we are marooned. The human dilemma (death) is a huge abyss separating us from God. The only remedy is a rescue mission.

But who can do this for us?

“The reality of loving God is loving him like he’s a Superhero who actually saved you from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gave you some stuff.”  ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
The Real Superhero

14”…Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. 15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. (Romans 5:14-16)

Ironically, Adam, the one who got us into this mess, also points ahead to the One who will set the captives free. When Adam transgressed, God declared that the Seed of the woman (a child) would one day come to the earth as the Liberator of humanity. The long awaited and greatly anticipated “rescue mission” commenced with the birth of the God/man fusion called Jesus. He arrived on the earth without pomp or circumstance about 4000 years after the blunder of Adam.

“And she (Mary) will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Jesus is a visitation by the creator to this planet embodied in human form. The purpose of His visit: to seek and to salvage a lost civilization (mankind).   He came here to save us from the human dilemma (death). Jesus is also called Emanuel which means God is with us.

  • He is fully God and fully human thus he is a relative to us all
  • He is our Redeemer, and our Liberator
  • He is the Entry Door and the Pathway to eternity
  • He came from infinite time to live briefly in finite time
  • He is the Light being that stepped into the darkness of the earth

Our congenital Sin nature is what keeps us at odds with the great designer. That breach needed a link. Jesus became that connection. He is the doorway through which we find the road. He is also the road upon which we bridge the great abyss. Follow Jesus and you’re on the path that will lead you to a genuine life here on earth and an eternity with the Almighty.

“The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.” ― Francis Chan

If this information is not new to you, I offer a word of caution; knowing that as a true Christian you are no longer estranged from God is not a free pass to live recklessly. In a broken and dysfunctional world system we still can (and do) behave in ways that are displeasing to God. We sometimes refer to these inappropriate behaviors collectively as “sins”. We need to apologize to our Maker and ask His forgiveness for our indiscretions as we become aware of them. Especially our secret sins like…

  • worry
  • unrighteous anger
  • gossip
  • addictions
  • lust
  • impurity
  • envy
  • etc., etc., etc.
Remember:
  • Sin is born through our thoughts and intentions (James 1:14–15)
  • Sin is intrinsic – wickedness is in our nature (Romans 7:14–25)
  • The Sin Nature was inherited from our ancestor Adam who was the first of our kind to go against our maker. (Genesis 3)
  • Sin brought separation from God—both physical and spiritual—to humanity (Genesis 2:17)
  • Sin merits an (eternal) death penalty before a holy and righteous God
  • Sin cannot be overcome on our own no matter how desperately we try to do what is right.

Jesus is our Superhero because He alone can give us freedom from our depravity and a pardon from our well-deserved condemnation. As Divinity in the form of man, the Liberator Jesus came into this world to both buy us back (redeem) and to set us free (save). Like an attorney in a court of law, Jesus is our advocate. He has obtained for us an eternal acquittal.

“Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do.  He is himself the way.”Karl Barth

Still wondering why you need a Liberator? Because, we are all reprobates and we cannot meet the standards of a holy and righteous God without His involvement. Resistance is ill-advised. Behold Jesus – the chosen one. He is our Liberator; a genuine Superhero. Death could not handle Him. The Grave could not hold him. We cannot know genuine life without Him.

The good news – He’s waiting to walk you home.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.

“My life really sucks”

I hear that a lot from people that I meet. Many seem to live with endless drama and uncertainty; hanging onto emotional and spiritual sanity by a thread. Some complain about being trapped in the status quo. Others are exhausted, anxious, and feel like they are running out of options. They often feel helpless, with little control over their state of affairs.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever wondered if it was time to throw in the towel?

Let’s talk.

When you reach the end of your rope, you just may find the hem of HIS garment. Author Unknown

So you’ve reached the end of the rope and you’re slipping fast. Some would tell you to hold on to that rope for dear life. Re-claim control of your circumstances. Not me. Here’s my suggestion. Let go of the rope.

The burden of life’s uncertainties were never yours to carry. I’m not saying that letting go of the rope won’t hurt. Some things in your life may even get worse. But once you let go of the worry and give up the struggle to control everything, God can take over.

Check out this verse from the Bible,

6-7”So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 Phillips)

Isn’t that awesome?  God is always watching everything that concerns you. He will grip you in His strong hand and hold on to you as long as it takes. The French say, La vie est dure mais Dieu es bon si bon. In English it translates, Life is hard but God is good, so good.

But God is more than good. If you will trust Him, in time, He will lift you out from under the mess you’ve made (or the one you got sucked into). In the interim, you will learn all about endurance.

Every calamity is to be overcome by endurance. – Virgil

Endurance is the capacity to withstand hardship or stress. In the New Testament letter written to the Hebrew Christians, the writer encouraged them by saying,

35-38”Don’t throw away your trust now—it carries with it a rich reward in the world to come. Patient endurance is what you need if, after doing God’s will, you are to receive what he has promised. ‘For yet a little while, and he who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him’.” (Hebrews 10:35-38 Phillips)

When you remain determined in the face of a struggle and trust God to deliver you from your current miseries – that too is endurance. As a Christian, I have learned that no matter what I face in this life, I can confidently wait with patient endurance for God to act. He can do the impossible. I cannot.  

20”God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Ephesians 3:20 The Message)

Stressed out people have generally allowed inward or outward pressures to consume them. For some, constant anxiety is a way of life. But the Scriptures admonish us to have a single mind; an undivided resolve. We are to press in and learn God’s unique purpose for our lives. And when troubles come, God wants us to welcome the challenge as an opportunity to test our trust in Him. The New Testament writer James put it this way,

2”…is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience (endurance) has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience (endurance) is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.(James 1:2-4 TLB)

It always comes back to this: Who do you trust? Yourself? The doctrines of the cultural, social, and political elite? Or is your trust in God and His word? Where you place your faith is critical. When you really learn to trust in the Lord, you can let go of your rope and with confidence enter life’s endurance run.

The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials.  – George Muller

1-3”Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message)

Get it? Life is an endurance race. The joy of knowing that you will come out a winner in the end should motivate you to endure every test and trial. No, it isn’t easy – nothing of any real value ever is. One day we will all pass through the veil of death. It is then we will cross that great and glorious finish line into eternal rest. But first, this earth will enter a time of great sorrow and extreme tribulation. So expect bad days, but remember, Jesus made a promise to everyone who endures the trying times,

10“Because you have kept my command to persevere (endure), I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

Do not grow weary in the struggle. Learn to find your rest in the God. Stay focused on the truth that Jesus shared. And always run with patient endurance the race that lies before you. One day, you will reap the harvest of God’s faithfulness – if you do not quit!

Just hang in there baby!

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.

10 ”The Lord has made me very grateful that at last you have thought about me once again. Actually, you were thinking about me all along, but you didn’t have any chance to show it. 11(Even so) I am not complaining about having too little. I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. 13 Christ gives me the strength to face anything.” – Philippians 4:10-13 –

Meet two little words: Even and So.  They don’t seem like much when you first look at them.   All the same, they can be a powerful twosome in the lexicon of your daily life.  Together, these two little words never pretend.  They don’t deny reality.  And, they don’t disguise the hardships of survival with paste on “everything is just fine” smiles.  In fact, “even so” unflinchingly recognize that sometimes life just stinks.

This dynamic duo of words can stare courageously at the obstacles we face each day.  With the help of their cousins – however, nevertheless, withal, still, yet, all the same, nonetheless, and notwithstanding – they shift our gaze from what we see only with our natural eyes to the things yet invisible to our senses.  In the process, our attention is redirected from the limits of what we know to the one whom by nature is omniscient – our Creator, the all-knowing one (1 John 3:20).

And that my friends changes everything.

  • Facing situations that are difficult?

Even so, you can do anything if you believe.

  • Up against cliffs of challenge that seem impossible to climb?

Even so, God will see you through.

  • Are storm clouds looming and you feel too weak to pray? 

Even so, God will be the strength that you need.

  • Do you feel like an angel of darkness is harassing you?

Even so, His grace (favor) is all you need to succeed.

  • Are you confused; full of fears and doubts.

Even so, God has given you an overcomer’s spirit of power, love and a sound mind.

EVEN SO – In Brazil they say mesmo assim, in Italy nonostante ciò, comunque.  All over the world, in any language, the meaning is clear; in our most desperate hour, God will supply us with the strength to face anything.

You’re right, sometimes, life stinks.  Even so…, even so…

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
and the founder of Living faith Christian Fellowship, Inc. 
The intellectual property published above is © 2010 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.
For additional information write to: Coastal Junkie, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656.
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My life. Your Life. His Life. Her life. That’s how we sound. We talk about life like we own it. “It’s MY life and I will live it as I please”.   Really? I hate to wreck your day but, you own nothing. We arrive on this earth with zilch and on our departure, no checked baggage. Do you want to experience true freedom? Try self denial.

Hello?  Anyone left in the room?  Best to avoid this subject. After all, it’s more fun to sin. Why do you think we do it so much?

We arrive on this earth with zilch and on our departure, no checked baggage

For those of you still with me, Jesus put it this way,

23 “If anyone wants to follow me, he must give up himself and his own desires. He must take up his cross every day and follow me.” Luke 9:23 New Living Translation

The New Testament writer Paul also shared a few thoughts on this subject as well,

1 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” Romans 12:1 New Living Translation

19 “Do you not know that your body is a house of God where the Holy Spirit lives? God gave you His Holy Spirit. Now you belong to God. You do not belong to yourselves. 20 God bought you with a great price. So honor God with your body. You belong to Him.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 New Life Version

Interesting.  True worship is becoming a living sacrifice. I am to yield myself to God. But why? Because he purchased us and we belong to Him. God sent Jesus to earth to “seek and save” his lost creation. It’s called the plan of redemption which included the sacrificial death of Jesus by crucifixion and His subsequent bodily resurrection. Death was the price He paid to get us back. But death could not hold Him and He arose from the grave as our immortal leader. His death satisfied the claims of eternal justice and opened an entry point to everlasting life in the spiritual dimension which the Bible refers to as Heaven.   Sounds like a movie plot. But this is no fantasy.   Turning once again to the Bible, Paul wrote to the Galatians,

20 ”My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 New Living Translation

Old self? Yes, that stumbling, fumbling, mumbling, bungling wretch of a person that we all once were (and, in some respects, still are) was vicariously put to death with Jesus on that ancient cross. The Spirit of Christ now lives in us. Christ in me is my hope. Christ at work thru me is my new life.   The paradox is that while my life is no longer my own, I still make choices every day that affect how I live it. This is where we need to proceed with caution; living daily with a sense of amazement and accountability. Think about it, God gave us a “do-over” through redemption. We now have an opportunity to respect God by obedience to His will. Look what Paul wrote to the Philippians,

12 “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:12-13 New Living Translation

  Living with the “attitude of gratitude”

Demonstrating the “result of our salvation”, as Paul put it, can be seen in the way we behave. Some refer to the Christian life as living with the “attitude of gratitude”. God saved me from the damnation I deserve, set aside the penalty for all of my failures and covered me in His own blamelessness. In return, out of an attitude of gratitude, I happily surrender my own egocentric and self-serving motivations to Him. I will still struggle with wanting to exercise my own will every day. Selfishness doesn’t magically disappear. Admittedly, I have some good days and then there’s the rest of the time.   But God is at work within me. If you are a Christian, He is working in you too. God is helping you obey Him by giving you the will and the power to achieve his purpose.

Living uninhibited in the will of God is very hard. That is why we are admonished to work out our recovery one day at a time. There will be costs. We will face many difficult choices. And yes, there will also be losses. But God is within us. He is working out all of the details – for our good! Never forget the promise that Jesus Himself made to all of his followers:

29-31 “I promise you, nobody leaves a home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property for my sake and the Gospel’s without getting back a hundred times over, now in this present life, homes and brothers and sisters, mothers and children and land—though not without persecution—and in the next world eternal life. But many who are first now will then be last, and the last now will then be first.” Mark 10:29-31 J.B. Phillips Translation

Bountiful blessings from your Under Construction brother…

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author, broadcaster, and popular Bible teacher. 
© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.

12 “Hopes deferred make the heart sick; but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy” (alt: “it is a tree of life.”) Proverbs 13:12 (The Living Bible)

Unfulfilled hopes make us feel sick inside. You could interpret Proverbs 13:12 as “Hope deferred is spiritual heart disease.” On the other hand, when our hopes become a reality we are full of joy. A dream come true fuels the life force within us.

Our Faith is inadequate without Hope. Hope is like a high-wire. Faith walks the high-wire of hope, bridging the gap between the unseen world of the spirit and the world which we can see.

1”Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. 3By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:1, 3 (Amplified Bible)

Faith can only reassure us of “the things we Hope for.” It serves as proof of what we cannot see. By our faith we recognize as real fact what is not yet revealed to the senses. For example, faith enables our minds to accept as an absolute fact that the whole structure of time and space (the world which we can see) was set in motion by God through principles which are invisible to us. Wow!

Hope for the Hopeless

There is no shortage of hurts, sicknesses, troubles, financial woes, family problems, catastrophic issues and geopolitical concerns in our world today. People everywhere are losing hope and trust.

It is my opinion that our society suffers greatly as a result of misplaced trust and hopelessness.

Lost hope is frequently accompanied by a feeling of being on your own. When someone feels that they are all alone, it is difficult (if not often impossible) for them to find the way out of challenging situation. This leads to a flood of helplessness.

So what exactly is hope?  HOPE is looking forward to a desire with confidence.  When we have hope, we have an expectation that the things we hope for (and dream of) will one day be a reality.  Hope enables us to find purpose and meaning in life. And when we add faith to our hopes (by putting our trust in God) our hopes gain substance.

Trusting in God is more than just asking blindly.  Because we have hope, we place our faith in God expecting an answer from Him.  Look at what happened to a miserable crippled man as recorded in the New Testament Book of Acts,

1-4”One afternoon Peter and John were on their way to the Temple for the three o’clock hour of prayer. A man who had been lame from birth was being carried along in the crowd, for it was the daily practice to put him down at what was known as the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, so that he could beg from the people as they went in. As this man saw Peter and John just about to enter he asked them to give him something. Peter looked intently at the man and so did John. Then Peter said, “Look straight at us!” The man looked at them expectantly, hoping that they would give him something. “If you are expecting silver or gold,” Peter said to him, “I have neither, but what I have I will certainly give you; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” 7-11 Then he took him by the right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankle bones were strengthened, and he positively jumped to his feet, stood, and then walked. Then he went with them into the Temple, where he walked about, leaping and thanking God.” (Acts 3:1-11 Phillips)

Peter and John had supernatural ability working through them. They believed in the power of Almighty God without question. They also knew that His authority was with them.

Peter made sure that the lame man was paying attention. He said, “Look straight at us!” For his part, the lame man did two things. First, “he asked them to give him something.” Second, he looked at them “expectantly.”

It’s amazing what can happen when we look in the right place and ask with expectation! Clearly the lame man was imagining he’d get a few coins. But God doesn’t offer momentary relief for our sufferings. He remedies them!

The bible also records details about the extraordinary life of a man named David. Throughout many difficulties and adversities, David would often remind himself not to lose hope.

Here are a few of David’s prayers to God:

  • “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39: 7 NIV)
  • “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42: 11 NIV)
  • “Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” (Psalm 25: 4, 5 NLT)
  • “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame,” Psalm 33: 18 NIV
  • “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,” (Psalm 25: 3 NIV)
  • “Remember your promise to me, for it is my only hope.” (Psalm 119: 49 NLT)

Israel’s legendary King David expected God to keep His promises. That hope is what empowered him to trust God completely. Today, our hope is built upon the trust that we have in the one who came to reveal the truth about God and His plan of Salvation for mankind. He is called Jesus.

Knowing who Jesus really was when he visited this little water world – and who He is today – brings hope into your life and it keeps hope alive. Don’t go by your feelings. Your emotional state changes like the weather. People who live by their emotions are more prone to instability. No matter how miserable your existence may seem, there is hope. You may not be able to see or feel anything that causes you to believe this right now, but hope is there for you notwithstanding. “Hope is the anchor of your soul” (Hebrews 6:19)

God really wants you to be acquainted with Jesus – not as a religious figure – as a person. Jesus knows the way to God because He IS the way. He will show you truth and give you an amazing life! A life filled with HOPE!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29: 11 NLT)

What do you really need right now? Whatever it is, talk to God about it. You have direct access to Him because of and in the Name of Jesus.

Here is my prayer for you,

“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)

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  – Ephesians. 2:10

I was sitting around a table at an outdoor restaurant with a group of acquaintances. There was this one guy in particular who frequently made negative comments about himself. I knew him to be compassionate and helpful. He had a good reputation and everyone liked him. But in listening to his numerous self-abasing remarks, what I heard was a man who seemed to be obsessed with his own shortcomings and failures.

When he finally said something about God being let down by all of his screw-ups, I could not contain myself any further. I looked at him and said, “Every human being starts out in this life as a copy of God’s master blueprint. God doesn’t make junk!” Sin is what has tainted us.

Have you ever felt like this man. Stuck in a funk of disappoint. Look, I have made plenty of mistakes. Regrets? I’ve had a few. Missed opportunities? You bet! But I decided that wallowing in self-pity was not pleasing to God at all. When I mess up, I ask Him to forgive me. I gather my wits, take a deep breath and I move on.

And why not? Look at what the bible says about us:

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
the days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day. – Psalm 139:14 (The Message)

As we grow older, it’s easy to look at our cumulative mistakes and think that we’ve diminished our usefulness to God. But no life is so messed up, so broken, so imperfect that He can’t fix it.

The next time that you look at someone and think, “they seem to have it all together”, remember this: we all struggle with our own brokenness, mistakes, and hurts.  There is not one person on this planet who isn’t struggling in some way.

God loves each and every one of His children the same. He may hate our sin but he loves the sinner. He may allow the consequences of sin to manifest, but he still loves the sinner. He may even have to allow eternal damnation to one day lay claim to everyone who refuses the gift of His grace, but he still loves the sinner notwithstanding.

There are several examples of broken people in the Bible for whom God had a plan – even when they seemed to be “hopeless cases.”

Esther was an orphan girl living with her cousin.  In the culture of her day, she had two things working against her; she was a women and an orphan girl. Hopeless?  God used Esther to save the Jewish nation.

Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery.  Later he was falsely accused of rape and thrown into jail.  At that moment, his life sure seemed hopeless and useless.  God eventually used him to save the people from a 7 year-long famine.

Job lost his children and all of his wealth.  His body became covered with boils and oozing soars. His wife walked out on him when he needed her the most.  Hopeless?  Sounds like a lost cause to me. But without knowing it, Job was proving the accusations Satan made about him to God were wrong.  Eventually Job was restored and blessed abundantly.  His life and actions have provided comfort and encouragement to people who are struggling, even to this day.

The Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well was a real piece of work.  She had been married 5 times and then didn’t bother to marry the 6th man in her life.  She was a social outcast and appeared to be a hopeless loser.  Jesus spoke with her, exposed her true condition and offered her His living water. As a result, God used her to bring the Samaritans the Gospel and many in her town were converted.

Peter denied Jesus three times.  The shame he felt must have been overwhelming.  When Jesus saw Peter after the resurrection, He didn’t scold him.  He asked Peter to spread the Good News of salvation to others.  Jesus knew the real Peter.

Paul had a reputation for killing people that followed Christ. He actually thought he was doing God a favor. So, Jesus confronted him as “an extraordinary light” on the road to Damascus. The incident left him shaken and temporarily blind. Paul later became a hand-picked convert and was responsible for setting up the early churches. His writings make up nearly two thirds of the New Testament.

Every one of us has a purpose. God formed us; He knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7). Our faces and personalities are well-known to Him.  It doesn’t matter how far away we wander, He never forgets who we are.  His love for us reaches to the far corners of this earth and to the depths of the ocean.  He does all He can to bring us back home to Himself whenever we go astray.  And if we ask for His forgiveness, He doesn’t keep a record of our failures.   In His great mercy He sees the beautiful person He created.   God doesn’t see the mess we’ve made; He sees the potential for good in our restored righteous state.

“I alone am the one who is going to wipe away your rebellious actions for my own sake. I will not remember your sins anymore.” Isaiah 43:25 (God’s Word translation)

Broken lives and broken bodies are not junk to God.  Whatever the circumstance, God loves us.  He sees the value in each of us.  He knows the gifts he has placed within us.  As His workmanship, we are shaped into a new and a beautiful design.  We are His children, created in His image, by His hands.

 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!” 1John 3:2

GOD DOES NOT MAKE JUNK…

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.

 

What? God let you down?

Some of you just got so uptight. Performing intellectual cartwheels through all of your theological platitudes.

“Why dear brother, God can never let us down.” “God’s ways are simply not our ways.” “We must never question God.” “Just keep believing.” “God always answers prayer.” Miracles are just around the corner, etc., etc.”

Well done. You’ve memorized some good Biblical principles. Line upon line they have been written upon the tablets of your human spirit. And for the record, I agree.   27 “…Everything is possible with God.” (Mark 10:27b)

But tell me, what happens when you meet someone who says,

I love God. I go to church and I practice tithing. I talk to the Lord regularly about the things that weigh heavy on me. In my prayers, I ask… I seek… I knock. Then I wait and wait and wait some more. In the end, God remains silent. He takes no action that I can see. Instead, the awful often happens. I am hurt and angry. I don’t understand why he chooses not do things that seem so clearly right to me. Why doesn’t God keep His word like the preacher said He would? What happened to all those exceeding great and precious promises that I read about in His book?” I’m confused and empty inside. God has let me down.

This person is clearly dejected. And there are many more just like him.

“Why did I pray so intently for a healing… and that person died?”

“Why did I ask God for a child for twenty years… but I never conceived?”

“Why didn’t the Lord help me raise the money to save my home?

“If God is so good, why is His world so miserable and unhappy?”

There are no easy answers for these questions. But this is certainly not the time to start quoting all of those well-ordered one liners from the promise box.

The raw concerns of real life are painful to confront. It’s easier to carry the burden of pretending everything is going to be just fine. So we tell ourselves, “God is going to make all this crummy stuff disappear one day soon and everything will be much better”.

What happens when “someday soon” never seems to come?

Hiding your hurt, anger, and disappointment behind facades of God-speak and mechanical Christianity is poison to the soul. Your spirit slowly fills with a contagion that destroys your faith in God.

If perception is your reality, then I might as well just say it; from where some of you sit right now, it sure appears that God has let you down.

But here is what I believe; it’s your expectations that have been dashed upon the rocks of disappointment. And now, it’s hard to navigate the waves of this life with a faith that has run aground.

Inadvertently, we absorbed many erroneous and unconfirmed “facts” about God in the course of a lifetime. We read books about what He has promised to do for us when we pray. All of the sermons, seminars and a million casual conversations have molded our interpretation of what we can expect from Him. Some of these expectations are spot-on. Some are not. The trouble begins when things don’t go the way we expect. We begin to feel deceived. And over time, our faith grows weaker.

Unfulfilled expectations are worse than low expectations.  It is okay if you sometimes feel like God has grown silent and even turned away. In reality, He has not. I know this because He plainly said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).

But that is not how you feel right now.

Take a deep breath. Cry if it helps. But please, do me this favor, listen carefully as I retell some important spiritual realities.

  • Prayer isn’t an extraordinary process for getting things to go your way.
  • Prayer isn’t a guarantee of satisfaction.
  • Pain and struggle cannot be removed with simple requests.
  • As a rule, God doesn’t wave supernatural wands and instantly change things.
  • God exists outside of our time dimension and, because we are chained to the ticking of the clock, He will often seem to move agonizingly slow.
  • Life isn’t fair and you cannot change that.

Welcome to the Ragamuffins. We are the waifs and strays who follow that marvelous incarnate man from heaven who once visited this planet by way of the Galilee. Daily we struggle to “work out the salvation that God has given us with a proper sense of awe and responsibility” (Philippians 2:12). As one among us, it will always be safe for you to share your individual fears, disappointments and pressing concerns. We will laugh and cry with you as we patiently await His return. And I promise you, one day all will be understood.

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.

 

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  So is a lot.

– Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) –

Perhaps Albert Einstein was right. Some say that ignorance is bliss. The less you know, the less you are responsible for. And I suppose there is some truth to this philosophy. But stupidity an absolution does not make. Try telling a law enforcement officer that you did not know you were supposed to stop at that intersection. He or she might be sympathetic but most often their sympathy will be followed by this reminder, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

But Albert Einstein also suggests that possessing mass amounts of knowledge is also dangerous. Now this begs the question “is it possible to be too smart?” Can someone be “too clever for their own good?” And what does that mean?

Glad you asked. Too much knowledge can lead to overconfidence. Cockiness can harm you or at least work against you. Worse is when you believe that you know something you really don’t. That will get you in trouble. I suppose we have all met someone that we thought was just a bit “too big for his/her britches”. Don’t you fall prey to thinking more highly of yourself than you should. It has its own way of catching up with you.

John Bertram Phillips or, J. B. Phillips was an English Bible scholar, translator, author and clergyman. He is most noted for his version of The New Testament in Modern English. Dr. Phillips sheds keen insight on a passage in the New Testament book of Romans:

3-8 “As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all.  (Romans 12:3)

It seems so many could use a dose of the good doctor J.B. Phillips medicine these days. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is to develop a correct understanding of who God is, what he does for us and how he has uniquely gifted us. Having the right kind of knowledge is essential.

Knowledge is power. – Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) –

 

There is no disputing the fact that knowledge is power. But what happens when we have too much power? The historian and moralist John Lord Acton (1834–1902), expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

I am glad Lord Acton didn’t say great men are always bad. He did say ALMOST always. And if world history is any indication, he was right. Knowledge and its accompanying power have produced some very maniacal people. Only God can handle an absolute. Unrestricted power when held by one whom also possesses complete truth, justice, love, etc. (i.e. God) will work out just fine.

In the first official English edition of the Bible (the King James Version), Proverbs 24:5 is translated, A wise man is strong, a man of knowledge increases strength”.   In other words a wise man, because he is a man of knowledge, is a powerful man.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

– Socrates (469 – 399 BC) –

Ponder that. Actually, the point here is simple; we don’t know every answer to every question and there is so much that we still don’t understand. Only God is all knowing. He is absolute truth and His word is the truth revealed for mankind. When we humbly accept these facts, we are ready to learn and, we are on our way to true wisdom.

10 “The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.   All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom”. – (Psalm 110:10)

And the book of Job gives this insight:

20 “From where then does Wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? 28 …to man He said, behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord—that is Wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding”. (Job 28:20, 28 Amplified Bible)

Reverence means respect. It also means worship and devotion. In the bible, the word fear is often used to express reverence and devotion to God. True wisdom begins when we are in awe of the God who made us and then, because we hold Him in the highest regard, we obey the things he teaches us.

No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding.

– Plato (427 – 347 BC) –

So, having the right knowledge is essential because knowledge is power. Not our power; the power of God within us. Once you know that you really don’t know as much as you think you know and you turn to God in reverence – that is the beginning of wisdom. But you can’t progress from wisdom to true knowledge without understanding.

7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding”.  (Proverbs 4:7 NKJ)

You might be thinking, “Understanding of what?” How about the purposes of life or, of our relationship to God who is our Father? Not to mention all of the other divinely inspired principles found in the Bible. Get it? There is so much to understand.

I once read that the first diamond found in South Africa was picked up off the ground by a farm boy who took it home for his sisters to play with. He had no idea what it was. To him it was just another stone.

I wonder how many people are just like that little boy. Holding a treasure in their hands (God’s Word) yet not knowing its value due to a lack of understanding.

12 “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. (Job 28:12-13).

As believers we need to pursue understanding. We need to look at the Scriptures with an eye on understanding them and especially understanding how they apply to our lives. We must rise above a perfunctory practice of religion so that we can live a life of obedience to His perfect will. Remember, “In all your getting, get understanding

Let’s pray, Lord, “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; Cause me to understand wherein I have erred” (Job 6:24) and Lord, “Give me understanding, and I shall live” (Psalm 119:144).

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.