Category Archives: Bible Study

Guest Blog: Do NOT Mismanage God’s Affairs by Lucky Atugbara

Do NOT Mismanage God’s Affairs by Lucky Atugbara

Dear Readers,

Once upon a time, in the not-too-distant past, my husband and I lived for two years in Lagos, Nigeria. Some people pray, “Lord, I will do anything for You, but please don’t send me to Africa.” Being sent to Africa was one of the best things in my life. I needed to be there. God sent me there to learn some important spiritual lessons that I could only have learned from being there! I also met some lovely life-long friends during the process.

One of them was our driver Lucky. Like many people in Nigeria, two jobs are a reality. Lucky worked for us at a secular job as our driver, but his “REAL” job was that of a minister. Some people believe that pastors must have higher education. I agree that education is an excellent plus for pastors, but in some situations and some countries, that is not realistic. Lucky is a self-taught minister of the gospel, and he is good at it. Theologian A.W. Tozer sums it up when he says, “The thing that must really be understood is that our knowledge of God cannot be acquired simply through academic processes. What we really know about God is what He has faithfully revealed to us.” ¹

Lucky occasionally sends me his Sunday sermon messages. I devour them! God is using this man to preach the gospel in Lagos. Below is a recent sermon he sent me. Yes, I edited his “speech” a little—with his permission—to make it more readable to my blog followers. I hope you enjoy it, and as you read it, look for the main point. The main point is the essence of our walk with our triune God.

Patti Greene

  1. God will never allow spiritual growth if we do not manage our lives correctly. So instead of praying for something from God, we should pray for the spirit to handle our sin, guide us into His truth, and be responsible for what He has given us. God will not allow you to have something you have prayed for if you cannot manage them.
  2. God created men and women to worship Him—as God. He required a manager to manage what He made. Note that whatever you mismanage, God will not allow that area of your life to grow—until you can handle it.
  3. If we ask people why God created man, they usually say, “It is to worship God.” Correct, but we must worship Him with the right motives, the right desire, and glorify Him because He is God.
  4. Whatever you mismanage, you will most likely lose. Whatever is under your care, work diligently to protect and care for it. God cannot give you what you pray for if you do not manage what He has already given to you well. He can only provide you what you can handle. You pray for a new house. But God looks down on the apartment you have and sees it is not well-kept or clean. So, He says, “No! You have not managed the apartment I gave you, so you may not have a house.” He only gives you what you proved you could manage.
  5. Some people might get jealous of your ministry. They may not understand what is going on behind the scenes and making your ministry grow and flourish. If you do not manage your church or church assignments correctly, you may lose them, just like if you mangle your body, you might lose part of your arm, leg, or health. If you mess up your relationships, you might lose them. If you mishandle your children, it is possible to lose them. If you blow your money or bungle your business, you could lose them.
  6. To my pastor friends, I say, “So stop crying, Pastor. Don’t say, ‘I don’t know what’s happening to me. Life does not give you what you deserve but for what you fight for. Start reading Philippians 4:6.”

Ask. Seek, Find

My dear friends, the only way we can defeat the enemy we face is to pray. We must appreciate and tell the people that God has blessed us in one way or another.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7 NASB).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED MADAM,

I hope you liked my sermon and have extracted something from this message.

In God’s Grace,

Lucky

Bible Verse:

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (Colossians 3:23-24).

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, I come to You today lifting my heart to You. I desire to work and serve You diligently. Please take away all my ungodly motives, my wicked spirit, and any desire to be “seen” for my works. Make me desire to live a life pleasing to You in grace, love, and humility. Remind me that my purpose in life is to understand the revealed truths You give me through Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

¹ Tozer, A.W. Delighting in God: True and Absolute Freedom is Found only in the Presence of God. New Delhi: General Press, 2020.

Verses are taken from The New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Subscribe: Joining by subscription ensures you will receive an email every time a new blog is posted. You can subscribe to the Greene Pastures blog site in the right-hand corner. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Feel free to forward this to your friends and family.

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=patti+greene&ref=nb_sb_noss

Hannah: A Biblical Character of Worship

Hannah’s Dedication

In Chapters 1 and 2 of 1 Samuel, a touching story expresses Hannah’s complete dedication toward God. Elkanah was the husband of two women—Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was barren. Every year when the two women accompanied their husbands to the temple to worship and sacrifice, Hannah would weep because Peninnah would provoke her due to her having no children. Being oppressed in spirit one year, Hannah prayed and wept bitterly and made a vow that if the Lord gave her a son, she would let Him have the child for service. The priest Eli heard her prayer. He mocked her and accused her of being intoxicated. However, when he saw that she was afflicted and not drunk, he said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him” (1 Sam. 1:17). In due time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son which she and Elkanah named Samuel. Hannah said, “For this boy, I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is dedicated to the LORD” (1 Sam. 1:27-28). After weaning him, they brought the boy to Eli to serve in the house of the Lord.

Hannah’s Distress

In this Bible story, we see that Hannah was distressed. She prayed, cried out to the LORD, made a vow, listened to what Eli told her, trusted God, conceived, had a son, and remembered her vow to give her first child to the Lord for service by bringing him to Eli. Hannah started by worshiping the LORD in the temple, but we see it more profoundly after she dedicated Samuel to serve.

In her beautiful Song of Thanksgiving and Worship, we read:

My heart exults in the LORD,

My horn is exalted in the LORD,

My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,

Because I rejoice in Thy salvation.

There is no one holy like the LORD,

Indeed, there is no one besides Thee,

Nor is there any rock like our God (1 Sam. 2:1-2).

Hannah’s Worship

Because worship is unique to every individual, Hannah’s worship experience was not like Abraham, Jacob, Isaiah, or Mary of Bethany. However, we see Hannah using elements from each of them in her worship of the LORD, as stated in Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground by Warren Wiersbe. For example, she conversed with God (like Abraham), she made a vow (like Jacob), she heard Eli speak (like Isaiah listened to the angels), and she gave her best to the LORD—Samuel (like Mary of Bethany gave perfume). ¹ Furthermore, she trusted in the promise of God when Eli said. “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him” (1 Sam. 1:17).

There are multiple reasons we know she worshiped God. First, she approached the LORD with an honest and sincere heart. Second, she had a focused purpose in communicating her desire to God. Third, she waited for God with a humble attitude; we see that by Hannah’s initial deep cries in the house of God that worship filled her heart even before her prayer of thanksgiving.  Fourth, Hannah centered her life on God and His power by pouring her entire being to the LORD. Hannah’s ultimate blessing included her transformation from a barren woman to a child-bearing mother. After she conceived and weaned Samuel, her worship prayer included:

-An exalted heart,

-A mouth speaking boldly against enemies,

-A rejoicing in her salvation, and

-An acknowledgment that there is no one besides God.

Our Experiences

In today’s context, Christians can worship as Hannah did. Many times, when people experience trauma and distress, they give up on the LORD. They are not patient enough to wait on Him to work. Being impatient can diminish confidence in the Holy Spirit leading one’s life. However, every believer who yearns to empty himself of sin and live for Christ can worship like Hannah. We must continually train our church congregants to know what to do at all stages of their lives. We might not be going to the temple to worship, but we can go to church. We might not be experiencing barrenness, but we are experiencing something. We might not get our prayers answered as Hannah did, but we can trust that God knows the big picture of our lives, and He knows what He is doing.

Prayer:

O, dear heavenly Father, may my life seek Your will. May I feel at home with You enough to share both my distress and hearts’ desires? I seek Your wisdom. I give my life to You. Let me do all that is honorable in Your sight now and for the rest of my life. In Your name—the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Bible Verses:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Matthew 6:24)

Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker (Psalm 95:6)

For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36).

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Edited by E. Johnson

¹Wiersbe, Warren. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. p. 82.

Bible verses come from The New American Standard Bible.

Subscribe: Joining by subscription ensures you will receive an email every time a new blog is posted. You can subscribe to the Greene Pastures blog site in the right-hand corner. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Feel free to forward this to your friends and family.

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=patti+greene&ref=nb_sb_noss

Change the Way You Walk and Worship

One thing I can say with confidence is that traveling with God far outweighs traveling without Him. We are on a journey through life deciding whether to walk with Him or without Him. In Genesis through Revelation, God is working to get His people to yearn for an intimate walk with Him. The primary way to accomplish His purpose in our lives is through Christ-centered worship.

In Psalm 84:2, King David wrote, “My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for you to the living God.” True worship is giving our undivided devotion to God. Nevertheless, how do we do that?

First, we must give God complete priority in our lives. When we give Him our heart and soul in pure love, genuine worship prevails. Worship is not just singing in a choir, being on a worship team, or even listening to Christian music. Even Bible knowledge does not always connect us with the worthiness of God. Being in the presence of God daily, desiring to follow our Lord and Savior in all areas of our life cultivates true worship.

Second, we ought to worship the Lord not for what He can do for us, but for what we can do for Him. He gave His life for us to live honorably, dedicating our service to Him. Once we accept His offer of salvation, we can worship the Lord in spirit and truth. Author Warren Wiersbe defines worship as involving “wonder, witness, warfare, and wisdom.” ³

Of course, Satan does not want us to worship the King. He will try to disrupt our worship by allowing sin, distractions, evil thoughts, and more to enter our lives.  However, through Jesus, we can fight this warfare with God’s strength and power working through us.

I am a firm believer in both personal and corporate worship. Personal worship includes praying, Bible study, and a quiet time with the Lord. Every person’s modus operandi is different. For example, one might worship through music, pouring out adoration upon the Lord in prayer and Bible reading, while another person might sing while walking through a wooded area, then proceed into prayer with our heavenly Father. No matter how we worship, our actions, behaviors, and thought patterns affect our efforts—maybe through a divine appointment, a service opportunity, or a deeper walk with Him. Our unique personalities and gifts from the Holy Spirit will mark how we worship. Moreover, we cannot leave out the importance of corporate worship—worship in our Christian community. It is there where we will find means to unite with the congregation in spirit, Bible study, song, and sermons, for encouragement or conviction.

A.W. Tozer applicably states,

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” ²

Benefits abound when true worship washes over our spirit, mind, and soul. God may choose to bless us by providing us with incredible opportunities to use our spiritual gifts, a deeper faith, assurance of His will, the holy expectancy of living a life worthy of honor as His child, and more.

There may be broad and varying opinions as to the final goal in worship. However, worship’s crucial goal is to transform our mind, as stated by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2 NASB). ¹

A verse worth memorizing!

Bible Verses: Within Text

Prayer: My gracious heavenly Father, I love You more than anything. Let me experience pure worship, both in my personal and corporate worship. Let my life be honorable to You in all I do. Show me my weaknesses and where I need to repent to be a better witness and soul-winner for You and Your Kingdom. Again, I love You. Thank You, Lord. Amen!

Edited by E. Johnson

Works Cited 

¹ Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. Rev. ed. Chattanooga: AMG, 2008.

²Tozer, A.W., “20 Timeless Worship Quotes by A.W. Tozer. Renewing worship, accessed January 27, 2021. www.renewingworshipnc.org/quotes-by-tozer.

³ Warren, Wiersbe. Review excerpt on the book cover. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004).

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=patti+greene&ref=nb_sb_noss

GUEST BLOG by Heroes II: What Makes Bible Characters Better Than Superheroes?

Most of us, especially children and youth, are fond of fictional superheroes like Superman and Batman.

We often watch them, collect toys and souvenirs, and even imitate their signature moves. Do you remember putting on an improvised cape to pretend like flying? Have you attempted to jump from a rooftop? Dangerous, right? Those were the days!

Let’s admit it! Superheroes are fascinating to follow. It is not only because of their powers but because of the inspiration they give us. We can relate to them because they experience the same struggles we do.

The most exciting part, perhaps, is whenever they overcome a tragedy.

Before going any further, let us define a “superhero.” A superhero is an imaginary character possessing superhuman power.

But do you know that the Bible also has heroes? It defines a hero as someone who lived his life in faith and helped his neighbors.

The Most Famous Fictional Superheroes of All Time

Superman the Greatest

Superman is the superhero we consider the strongest. His name implies it.

We identify him with the red, blue, and yellow costumes. His height is 6 feet and 3 inches, while his weight is 225 pounds. His hair is black with a natural curl, and his eyes are blue. He has a rugged body-build and a square jaw, giving him a noble physique.

He has a gentle, kind, and selfless personality. He knows what is right and wrong. Thus, he can act decisively during a crisis. In addition, he can maintain friendships and acquaintances.

Finally, he has superhuman powers that make him invulnerable. He can fly and leap in the air. Having X-ray vision, he sees through walls and other obstructions. It allows him to shoot red beams out of his eye.

Batman the Protector of Gotham

Batman is the superhero in a black and brown costume with the wings of a bat. He claims to be the protector of Gotham City.

His love for his city is probably one of his best qualities. He is intelligent, suspicious, devoted, and determined. He is ready for any challenge. Another good trait is his ability to control emotions and tolerate pain.

He does not have superhuman abilities, but he can do incredible things. He can pick a lock, hack and record mobile frequencies, understand multiple languages, and much more.

Spider-man the Superhuman

Spider-man is the character who does whatever a spider can. He shares almost the same uniform colors as Superman’s uniform.

He is caring, kind, loyal, brave, and intelligent. He uses more of his left brain in assessing situations. However, he has a personality disorder–neuroticism. He is anxious, fearful, jealous, envious, lonely, and frustrated.

Despite those weaknesses, he is notable for his superpowers. Like a spider, he can cling to walls. He has a sixth sense which keeps him alert for possible danger. He can also maintain perfect balance and equilibrium.

The Most Famous Bible “Hero” Characters of All Time

Joseph the Dreamer

Joseph was the second youngest son of Jacob and Rachel.

Since he was his father’s favorite, his brothers envied him. They became angry whenever he shared dreams, telling them that he would someday be their king.

As such, they would always trick him until they finally decided to sell him to Egypt. To protect themselves, they made their father believe Joseph died.

Extremely cruel, were they not?

In Egypt, Joseph became a slave. He suffered for something he never deserved. Nevertheless, God blessed his curse.

He earned the favor of the king by interpreting his dream about the coming famine. Eventually, Pharaoh appointed him governor.

When famine came, his brothers went to Egypt to buy food. They did not recognize him until he revealed himself (Genesis 45:4-5). Soon, he met his father and youngest brother. It was a dramatic revelation and reunion.

Indeed, Joseph’s curse turned out to be a blessing. It not only benefited other people but saved his family who his brothers had once disowned him.

What a hero!

Noah the Ark Builder

Noah, son of Lamech, was a righteous man in his generation. God entrusted him a special mission to save and restore the earth from all wickedness. He was to build an ark.

For 120 years, he preached about the coming global flood. He encouraged people to get into the ark, but they laughed at him–thinking he was crazy.

When the flood came, the people realized they were wrong. They wanted to get into the ark, but it was too late. Thus, they died along with other living creatures. Only Noah’s family obeyed and saved themselves.

Though he was not able to save his generation, Noah was a hero to his family. He became God’s instrument to eradicate all sinful beings and start anew.

Jesus our Savior

And, of course, there has been no better hero than Jesus Himself! Can you believe the Creator and God of the universe sacrificed Himself on our behalf?

He fulfilled this plan by living as a human on earth. God guided His earthly parents in preparing Him for the divine mission. By overcoming sin his entire life, He saved the world by dying on the cross of Calvary.

Indeed, Jesus is the ultimate hero in the Bible. His life, death, and resurrection justified us, giving us the chance to obtain salvation if we accept Him.

Reasons Why Bible Heroes Are Better Than Fictional Superheroes

Bible Heroes are Real

Bible heroes truly existed on earth. Superheroes are just fictional—meaning they are made up.

No matter how much we admire and follow them, superheroes can’t do anything outside our television screens.

On the other hand, Bible characters were real humans who did exist just like us. Genesis 2:7 confirms that God created man from the earth and gave life to it. Verse 27 of chapter 1 adds that He made them in His image.

Bible Heroes Did Not Need Superpowers to Carry on a Mission

Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, and the rest had superpowers. Without such, they could not protect themselves and other people.

Meanwhile, Bible heroes did not have supernatural powers. Faith and prayer were their weapons. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for…” (Hebrews 11:1).

With God as their source of power, they have performed acts that changed the world beyond human understanding.

The Deeds of Bible Characters Never Exemplified Violence

Fictional superheroes have good motives. Saving people from danger is their mission. However, it involves killing and other forms of violence.

In contrast, Bible characters never had to be cruel to bring about change. They just relied on God’s power and let Him move. They did not have to commit any sin that would ruin their moral character.

1 John 3:9 says that a child of God does not practice sinning because God’s seed abides in him.

Take-home Lesson

There is nothing wrong with admiring fictional characters. But to be fanatic about them is somewhat alarming.

It may sound harsh, but the truth is that there is no sense to idolize fictional characters. Superheroes are just a product of human imagination. They do not give us any value more than entertainment.

And so, Bible heroes are the ones worth following. We learn the best moral lessons from them. We can relate well because they were real beings like us. Above all, they lead us to the ultimate hero of all – Jesus Christ. Amen!

Heroes 2: The Game is a Bible trivia game released by the Hope Channel. It is a sequel to the game Heroes which was released in 2013.

The latest game version features:

  • New 3D animation
  • More challenging Bible Questions
  • Comes in four languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French
  • Heroes 2 is available on  iOS and Android
  • Downloadable at the Apple Store and Google Play

CLICK HERE – Heroes II Bible Trivia Game

Ten Ways to Acknowledge God Honorably and Biblically

Have you ever felt led to pour love and grace upon a person? If so, it is most likely a person that you find great happiness being with. You want to help this person in their pursuits and passions. You protect them and wish them the best. Just as with a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, you find time to be with them—no matter what!

This is the same reason we should find time to spend with God. We do this because . . .

  • He loves us.
  • He is gracious to us.
  • He is merciful to us.
  • He forgives us, and
  • He sent His own Son Jesus Christ to die for us.

Let’s see what the Bible says about how to acknowledge our heavenly Father honorably and biblically. While these ten ways are not exhaustive, they are an advantageous start to keeping our minds focused on the Lord.

Ten Ways to Acknowledge God Honorably and Biblically

  1. Be obedient. (See Genesis 22:1-14)

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” So, Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place of which God had told him. (Gen. 22:1-3)

  1. Offer Him your sacrifices. (See 2 Chronicles 7:1-9)

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. (2 Chron. 7:1)

  1. Humble yourself and pray. (See 2 Chronicles 7:12-22)

And My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron.7:14)

  1. Marvel at what He has done through His resurrection. (See Luke 24:1-12)

Nevertheless, Peter got up and ran to the tomb; and when he stooped and looked in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. (Luke 24:12)

  1. Follow His words. (See John 21:1-14)

And He [Jesus] said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find the fish.” So, they cast it, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great quantity of fish. (John 21:6)

  1. Follow Him. (See John 21:15-25)

Now He said this, indicating by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” (John 21:19)

  1. Worship Him. (See Revelation 4:1-8)

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.

And when the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created.

(Rev. 4:8-11)

  1. Bless, honor, and glorify Him. (See Revelation 5:6-14)

Saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.”

And I heard every created thing which is in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, or on the sea, and all the things in them, saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion forever and ever.” (Rev. 5:12-13)

  1. Give Cheerfully. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:7)

  1.  Praise Him. (See Psalm 34:1-10)

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Ps. 34:1)

When you embark on a lifestyle of poring your love and mercy upon your heavenly Father in an honorable and biblical fashion, you will notice positive changes in your life occurring and so will others! Despite anything you are going through!

And that’s awesome!

Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to become more honorable to You. Allow me to become more conscientious as I go through my day to appreciate the tenderness You have shown me. I am sorry for when I have failed to recognize Your movement in my life, Let Me become more like You as I practice Your righteousness in my heart and before men.

God Bless.

All Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Books by Patti Greene

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (Westbow, 2016 Reprint)

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (Westbow, 2016 Reprint)

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (Westbow, 2016)

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending (Awesome Librarian, 2018)

Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Wishing you a “Happy New Year!”

Let me end this year by encouraging you to choose a Bible reading plan and read the Bible through in 2021. You will never regret soaking up the Word of God.

Below is a link with many different plans you can chose from. Choose one that suits you best and go for it!

Top 14 Best Bible Reading Plans – 2023

Also, here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

1. Skip over the Bible genealogy you can’t pronounce. [At this point, knowing there’s a genealogy is enough for now, especially if this is your first read-through.]

2. Read with a pen, highlighter and notebook nearby to write down verses, questions, or things you want to look up later.

3. It is okay to read ahead. There will be days you will miss.

4. If possible, find a friend to read along with you on the same plan. [This way you will have a comrade to share with.]

5. Don’t be discouraged if you lag behind. Keep at it. So what if it takes you 1 1/2 or 2+ years to finish?

6. If you are reading a book for your Bible study class or group, count it. When you get to that book, you will be happy to have some catch-up time.

7. If you are in a plan where you are reading the entire Old Testament at once, give yourself permission to stop and read something in the New Testament.

8. Share meaningful verses with your friends and family.

9. Look for God’s sense of humor as you read. For example, today I did something rather “stupid” and the next thing I read (in my plan) was in Matthew 11:4. It said, “Go and report to John what you hear and see.”

Yikes, John is my husband’s name! I laughed when I read that. I still haven’t told him, but I will when he wakes up!!!

Best wishes and again, have a blessed 2021!

And please share this article with your friends and family!

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

How God Speaks Supernaturally Through His Word

The Bible Speaks Supernaturally

You may have heard people say, “the Bible speaks supernaturally,” but what does that really mean, and how do you experience it? Those are tough questions to answer because unless you have experienced it, explaining it is hard to do. I am not an expert on this topic other than the fact I have personally experienced it. Not just once, but multiple times.

I am not talking about the everyday way the Bible speaks to mankind through Godly principles, commands, inferences, and stories; I am talking about those WOW moments when one cannot escape the fact that the Lord is speaking so directly and so powerfully that His Word enlightens us as nothing else can! For me, these verses have usually become part of my collection of “life verses” because they have made such an impact on my life at the time I received them and in my current walk with the Lord.

Author Blair Park defines a “life verse” as a Bible verse that “establishes intimacy with our heavenly Father and is our tether to remind us of His love and omnipresent nature in our daily lives, whether we feel He is near or not. A life verse also reveals to us that God’s Word is alive and still appropriate for whatever situation we might find ourselves in when our faith is tested.” ¹

Honestly speaking, if you have not experienced this, you are seriously missing out on one of the most joyous experiences in a believer’s life!

God Speaks to Us

I am often hesitant to say “God told me…” Whether it is because of fear that I might be mistaken or possibly not wanting to appear too pious, I find myself saying instead, “God impressed upon me…” It just sounds less religious and less pompous.

However, in truth, God does speak to us!

In a cursory search on Bible Gateway, I plugged in the terms God says, God said, God spoke, and God told and discovered that these terms yielded 1,030 results. ²

In John 16:13, Jesus says…

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

God may speak to us through counselors, pastors, laypeople, and others. But God mostly speaks through His Word. It is through the Bible and the Holy Spirit we can have confidence in what God reveals to us.

God Speaks to Us Supernaturally

Whenever someone uses the word supernatural or supernaturally, people get a little freaked out. They think you must be talking about the likes of mediums, channeling, and/or seances. When a believer in Jesus Christ talks about the Bible speaking supernaturally to them, they are not referring to something psychic, mystical, or paranormal. That is NOT what is being referred to here.

The Bible strictly forbids that kind of supernatural occurrence.

Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:31).

When the Word of God speaks to us supernaturally in the WOW kind of way, we are often desperately seeking an answer or needing confirmation that we are doing the right thing. At times like these, God may choose to give us a Bible verse or principle to hang on to through our anxious inquisitory period. But, while we may long for WOW verses, it is up to our heavenly Father when and how He speaks to us. We will just know supernaturally when we receive a special word from Him.

We must remember that He also speaks to us through other means as well like, nature, angels, our conscience, other people, commands, principles, and even in a still, small whisper as He spoke to Elijah at Horeb (1 Kings 19).

In the 1970s I had my first experience with a WOW verse. I was teaching second grade in the Fort Worth, Texas area. Apprehension and restlessness filled the beginning of the school year, so I made a deal with the Lord. I said, “Lord, I will start reading Your Word until you show me whether I should move back to my hometown of Houston or not.” After work, I would rush to my apartment and conscientiously and faithfully devour the Bible seeking an answer to my question.

I remember the morning of April 1st well. My principal stopped by my classroom and handed me my school contract for the upcoming year. He said, “I need to have this contract back and signed by 4:00 pm today.” What was I to do? God had not given me an answer yet on how to proceed, and I had already finished reading the entire Bible—Genesis to Revelation! I gave my class some busy work to do. I pulled out my Bible and started reading. And, WOW, God spoke to me in the WOW kind of way:

Just as you do not know the path of the wind, and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes everything (Ecclesiastes 11:5).

Being in a state of awe, that verse could have just as well said, “Patti, move to Houston.” I do not know how I read that into that verse. It was the supernatural Word of God speaking. I did not and still do not fully understand how this works, but that is why it is called “supernatural.” That verse gave me the confidence to turn in my unsigned contract that very afternoon.

I moved to Houston at the end of the school year, met my husband, and raised three children there. And, 43 years later, we are still in Houston (with a few brief stints elsewhere.)

No matter how we hear from the Lord—through conventional means or in a WOW way, let us graciously thank Him for all His leadings, love and insights.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is real. He is probably the least understood person of the Trinity. It is important for us to know how the Spirit works and understand how He reveals Himself.

I would be remiss if I did not tell you that it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to understand God and His Word.

However, not everyone is privy to the things of God. The natural man (he who has not yet chosen to follow Christ) does not understand the things of God, as they seem foolish to him.

Those who have received God’s gift of salvation by confessing their sins and accepting Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, they are qualified to understand His ways and words.

If you are a believer, pray and ask God to give you supernatural insights. Ask Him to give you a thirst for the deeper things of God and to hear from Him through His word. God reveals glorious things through the Holy Spirit because no one knows the “thoughts of God except the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11).

Unfortunately, there are times believers are prevented from hearing from God. This may be due to unconfessed sin, pride, a controlling spirit, a desire for power, idolatry, and other reasons.

Many nominal believers do not know how to deal with deep spiritual ideas. In 3 Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit, author James H. McConkey wrote, “Many today are saved by Christ, and yet are unwilling to yield to Christ.” ³ If you find yourself in this category today, there is hope. The Holy Spirit filled you at your new birth, and now He wants to sanctify and mature you.

Think of the Holy Spirit as your helper, your source of wisdom, your provider of truth, and your interceder. Get real with God. He knows everything anyway. Confess any known sin, pray, and commit to reading your Bible—it is through these things God will reveal Himself to us.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17).

The Bible

The Bible was not written just for pastors, seminary students, or Christian professors. It is written for people just like you and me, regardless of our lack of ministerial training or positions. Some of the most astute Bible pastors I have known have trained themselves in the Word of God through reading and individual study.

Every time we open the Bible, it is beneficial to ask God to open our eyes so we can see wonderful things (Psalm 119:18).

The Bible gives understanding and light to the simple (Psalm 119:30).

All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

When we speak about the Word of God speaking supernaturally, we are not talking about adding anything extra to God’s Word, as some might think. We are talking about the Holy Spirit giving us an illumination into the Word which we can understand more acutely. It gives us the ability to walk away from temptation or toward a blessing.

A Bible verse may speak to you, but not to another. While a verse may be individualized for you, be wise and compare it to other Scriptures, read it in context, and ask other mature believers for clarification if you do not understand it. We must saturate our minds with the Word of God.

Some ask, “Why is it important to read the entire Bible?”

The answer lies in the fact that one part of the Bible helps us to understand other parts of the Bible. You might notice – “Oh, I read the same thing there and there.” This brings enlightenment to God’s Word and how it all ties together. But, keep in mind, it is okay if you do not understand it all. Scholars have spent their entire lives searching out the Scriptures, and so should we.

Frequently when I am reading the Bible, walking in obedience, and praying about something specific or otherwise, God speaks clearly to me through His Word. Sometimes it is in a still small voice, sometimes through a mighty WOW verse. The Lord usually uses exactly where I am in my personal Bible reading to show me His will. It is also at the exact time I need it as well—usually.

Why Don’t We Let God Speak Supernaturally to Us Through His Word?

There are many reasons why we do not allow the Holy Spirit to speak supernaturally to us through the Word of God. Below are just a few.

  • We are fearful of submitting our lives fully to God
  • Unconfessed sin. We may have sin that we are not willing to hand over to God
  • Not willing to give up time for prayer and Bible study
  • We want to be in control of our lives, and
  • We are worried others will think all this talk about the Word of God speaking supernaturally to us will be considered malarky to them.

Conclusion

Recently my mother died. It was on her mind that she wanted my husband and me to move into her home when she passed. For two years, I did pray about whether that was God’s will for us or not. I soon came to realize that was probably not His will.

Nevertheless, sadness still filled my heart once the house went up for sale, and others would have the privilege of living in my parents’ house—a house I grew up in, a house that had been in the family for 51 years, the family home for all holidays and birthdays, the house that held my wedding reception. But God in His goodness provided a verse from His Word that released me from that sorrowful thinking just a few days before the house sold.

For both husband and wife shall be taken, the aged and the very old. And their houses shall be turned over to others (Jeremiah 6:11-12).

How I read this verse…

For both your dad and your mom shall die, the aged (my dad died in his late 80s) and the very old (my mom died in her mid-90s). And their house shall be sold, and others will live in it.

Now, that is a WOW verse—spoken supernaturally through the Holy Spirit directly to me!

I hope this article has shed some light on this sometimes-perplexing topic. If it did, I would love to hear from you in the comment section.

Bible Verses:

This also comes from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who gives supernatural guidance and imparts great wisdom (Isaiah 28:29).

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:13).

For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Prayer:

Jesus, I love You. Enlighten my eyes to the treasures in your holy Word. Guide me by Your Holy Spirit into Your truth. Speak clearly and often to me and let me hold dear all You reveal to me. Thank you for being who You are. You are loved. Amen.

God Bless,

Works Cited

¹ Parke, Blair. “What is a Life Verse and How Do I Choose One?” Accessed 20 Nov 2020. www.ibelieve.com.

² Biblegateway. Accessed 5 Nov 2020. www.biblegateway.com.

³ McConkey, James H. Three Fold Secrets of the Holy Spirit. Create Space, (originally published 1897), 2014.

Edited by E. Johnson

All Bible Verses are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.

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It: Isaiah and Prayer

Frequently in this article, I will be referring to the word it. I will not be talking about it as in Information Technology or the abbreviation of Italy, but as the Middle English word used as a noun or pronoun that refers to a problem, decision, or challenge you are facing or have faced in the past. Examples of an it may possibly include handling your child’s alternative lifestyle, dealing with your spouse’s affair, or noticing false teachers or doctrine at your church.

For the sake of this article, all referrals to it will apply to any trepidation that should cause believers to call upon the Lord, just like the prophet Isaiah encountered.

Background

The book of Isaiah was written around 700-680 BC—more than 700 years before Jesus was born. This prophetic book was written for instruction to past, present, and future generations.

Isaiah came from a privileged family that provided a stellar education to him. His 40-year ministry began in Judah in the Southern Kingdom of the nation of Israel.

The nation of Israel consisted of two kingdoms—the Northern Kingdom known as Israel and the Southern Kingdom known as Judah.

Isaiah’s call to the ministry came through an intense revelation he received when worshiping the Lord. As a result of this vision, his life was transformed into a heartfelt full-time service to God, much like most pastors who are called into the ministry today have experienced. Isaiah yearned for the nation of Israel—both Northern and Southern Kingdoms—to return to their Lord, their God. Furthermore, he knew God needed someone to proclaim this essential pronouncement to the people. He heard and accepted the call to be that person.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then, I said, “Here I am! send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Isaiah ministered during the kingship of Uzziah, Jotham, Johoahaz I, and Hezekiah. During their reigns, political mayhem faced the Jewish people. Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom, and the restoration of Israel consumed Isaiah’s onerous ministry load.

American pastor and writer Warren Wiersbe states that Isaiah was confronted with many different concerns including Israel’s captivity, including prosperity (and lack thereof), and possible famine. The prophet held an unquenchable desire for holiness in God’s people while only seeing their lavish wickedness.

Conceivably, Isaiah’s calling in the day and time he was living caused his it—his despair!

In many instances, our it may be—just like Isaiah’s—a burden we do not know how to handle or a challenge we are facing.

As we capture the essence of Chapters 29 and 30, let’s unearth and follow the Biblical principles below to help us unruffle the difficulties we have in pursuing God’s will for our lives.

  1. When facing Your It, PRAY

Recently, when pondering my it, I prayed this prayer.

Help me, my heavenly Father! I think about it daily. I have been thinking about it not only for days, weeks, and months, but for years. I do not understand why or how I am supposed to think about it. I want to discern Your will and even if it is not Your will. Please make Your desires my desires—Your thoughts my thoughts. I do not care how You speak to me about it. Just speak. Please resolve any hindrances to being totally aligned to Your will. You may be using it as a springboard to refine my character. There is so much unknown about it. Help me, Lord!

Many of our prayers, such as mine above, are never made known to the “general public” or even to those closest to us. Sometimes, we cry out to God, and only God and ourselves know the depths of our concerns. And that’s okay!

Our lives should be structured insomuch that prayer comes first to our minds when seeking solutions to our problem, our it. Prayer is to be our first line of defense. Unfortunately, sometimes we get hung up when faced with how to pray and how to follow God’s commands in the Bible. Our distress, our challenge—our it—drags on, repeats itself, and even possibly returns after we think we have overcome it.

When our it consumes us and tries to destroy our close relationship with the Lord, we can pray for a miraculous sign and ask God for confirmation.

King Ahaz had a problem. He did not want to do business with God. When Judah’s water supply from the Euphrates River was reaching his limit, threatening to flood, Ahaz should have broken his alliance with the Assyrians and called for the nation of Israel to pray, but he didn’t. He continued in his unbelief and continued to trust in Assyria for help, not God.

In Isaiah 7:11, God spoke to Ahaz saying,

Ask for a confirming sign from the LORD your God. You can even ask for something miraculous. (Isaiah 7:13 NET)

While Ahaz refused a sign from God, we do not have to. When we face it, we can ask our heavenly Father to confirm His will and ask Him for a miraculous answer. When the nation of Israel was invaded by the Assyrians, it is a shame Ahaz didn’t depend upon God and prayer.

Now, let’s fast-forward to Isaiah 29.

  1. When Facing Your It, Seek the Truth

As a believer, we may originally be confused about our it and we may err, and stumble and we may question God. Nevertheless, it is always in our best interest to remember that we can know God’s truth if we “ask, seek, and knock” as is mentioned in the New Testament. When our it rears its head, let us seek His truth.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

King Ahaz’s problem was twofold. He did not want to listen to Isaiah’s prophetic voice, and he did not want to do business with God. His lack of proper leadership trickled down, making the Israelites and others living in the area apathetic toward the things of God.

Isaiah tried to present God’s light to the people of Israel, but they kept rejecting it—even disdaining his words. They did not care to understand God’s prophecies spoken through Isaiah, just like how people today who have not seen the light of Christ cannot comprehend the Bible or the things of God. People globally may “understand” the Bible from an intellectual or historical viewpoint, but not from a spiritual heart-and-soul vantage point.

God saw a nation disregarding their spiritual inheritance, but He reminds them that one day they will know the truth. The city of Jerusalem in the Southern Kingdom had watched the Northern Kingdom fall to the Assyrians, but this judgment did not bring them to repentance and Judah did eventually fall to Babylon in 586 BC.

We must keep praying and reading the Scriptures until God, in His compassionate and gracious manner, shows us the correct answer, method, or path to walk.

Your word is a lamp to walk by, and a light to illumine my path. (Psalm 119:105 NET)

  1. When Seeking Your It, Understand God’s Intentions

As we seek His answers and clarifications on it, we must navigate through the Word until we can affirm His intentions.

God’s intentions for us are numerous; however, some major intentions that our heavenly Father has toward us are that:

God’s intention, through His prophet Isaiah, was to protect both kingdoms—the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

In Isaiah 30, Judah, the Southern Kingdom, is admonished not to turn to Egypt for protection from Assyria. And Isaiah, following his call, exhorts the people to instead trust God.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity [your it] and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.’ (Isaiah 30:20-21)

At this point, the Israelites should not have been expecting that God was going to hide from them anymore. Delivering them from evil, cleansing sin, and leading them into righteousness was His intention—as it is for us as well. But the people laughed and scoffed at Isaiah’s prophecies and continued turning their backs on God.

  1. When Seeking Your It, Trust God

Trusting God to show you the ways you must handle your it is imperative.

While the people in the Northern Kingdom did not listen to Isaiah and proceeded hurriedly into the arms and captivity of the Assyrians, we should not be in such a hurry, jumping ahead of God with our impatience.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Foremost, knowing our salvation is secure, and knowing we are in the right relationship with God through the cleansing of our sins and our acceptance of Jesus Christ, we allow the Holy Spirit and His words to seep into our mind supernaturally. Our Lord wants to enlighten us through His Word, give us clarity in our thought, and forgive us when needed. Then, we must apply these truths in assisting us to show His light to others.

  1. When Facing Your It, Believe God Will Answer

We are impatient people. Wanting to know and understand everything God does only proves that position. Having confidence that He will show us what we need to know, however, is of utmost importance.

Certain things will remain a mystery to us—either forever or until a later time. Once we recognize that, we understand that His answer to our concerns, will be clarified by a Yes, No, or Not Yet answer. Any way He chooses to answer is His answer to us.

As I was pondering, praying, and reading the Word, seeking advice about my it, I read the following verse:

The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. (Isaiah 30:26)

While Isaiah is speaking here of end times, God’s Word spoke supernaturally to me in the latter part of the verse.

His Spirit whispered, “I am binding up your wound and it will result in your healing. Though your dream has been shattered, the severe wound is healed. While the purpose of your it is still unknown to You, trust that it was put there by Me to grow you and to make you more like my son Jesus Christ.”

WOW!

  1. When Facing Your It, You Must Accept His Answer

As we face our daily walk with the Lord, He may choose to give us a blessing by saying “Yes” to our desires and prayers.

He may also choose to give us a “No” answer and wish for us to move on.

After college, I dated a young man who decided to break up with me and go back to his former girlfriend. I was devastated. To say I prayed hard for him to change his mind would be an understatement. Then, one day I pleaded with God to show me what His will was, and I was led to this Bible verse which proved to me, once and for all, that God cares enough to say ‘No” when “No” is needed.

From the sole of the foot even to the head
There is nothing sound in it,
Only bruises, welts and raw wounds,
Not pressed out or bandaged,
Nor softened with oil.

(Isaiah 1:6)

Now, that was definitely a “No!” That is God speaking supernaturally!

Lastly, He may choose to give us the answer “Not Yet.” In this case, we must move on, living in righteousness, and continuing our lives by honoring Him—all the while remembering the Lord is not on the same time schedule as we are. He may need time to work on our character, improve our service, or time to prepare us for the next big season we will encounter.

Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, that I may reply to him who reproaches me. (Proverbs 27:11)

  1. Wrap Up

Throughout history, God honors the promise He gave to Abraham. He promised to make Abraham a father of a great people. In turn for their obedience, God would guide them and give them the land of Israel.

In the latter days, many Israelites will turn to the Lord and completely fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah.

Until that time, let us believe that Isaiah’s call to turn to God and live righteous and holy lives for His glory applies also to us today—Now!

Looking back to your it, why not pray, seek His truth, grasp His intentions, trust Him, believe in Him, and accept His answer?

Bible Verses:

I have called upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God: Incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. (Psalm 17:6 ASV)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24 ASV)

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (1 John 5:14-15 ASV)

Prayer:

Dear Lord, as You called Isaiah into ministry, call me into ministry. Let me say, “Here I am! send me.” Use me for Your pleasure and for Your purposes, whatever they might be. I am not perfect by any means and You know that. Not only do I have an it, but I also have many its. Give me the courage to face my problems, decisions, and challenges. Guide me into Your truth. I trust Your leadings through the Word and circumstances as I make decisions. I know Your intention is to always answer my prayers. No matter how You choose to answer, let me understand that You always answer with my best interest in mind. I love you, Lord. You are my heavenly Father and I will continually and daily seek Your presence. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Edited by E. Johnson

Works Cited

¹ Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament. Cook: Colorado Springs, 2002.

Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.

Photo: Isaiah. Wikipedia. 1904 Public Domain

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Dear Readers,

Please feel free to share, forward, retweet, and/or comment on this blog. It is my gift to you and to others.

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I love hearing from my readers.

Patti Greene

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Solomon’s Wisdom: Bring Me a Sword

Wisdom

The Elementary Bible Truths Handbook defines wisdom as “the ability to use one’s knowledge and experience to make good judgments.”¹

While this is a good general definition, it does not differentiate between secular wisdom and godly wisdom. The late Pastor Adrian Rogers bridged this gap when he said that, “Godly wisdom is wisdom seeing life from God’s point of view. Secular wisdom (also known as knowledge) comes from looking around; [while godly] wisdom comes from looking up.”²

Days of Our Lives

1 Kings 3:16-28 puts godly wisdom in the forefront. King Solomon is tasked to solve a dispute between two women. If there ever was a story to grab someone’s attention, the story of Solomon and his wisdom is it. It has all the drama, including two bickering prostitutes, a “she said, she said” scenario, no witnesses and two babies—one dead and one alive. If this does not sound like a Days of Our Lives soap opera, it will.

As a child, I had a Bible storybook titled A Small Child’s Bible by Pelagie Doane that I read over and over and over. For hours I would ruminate on the stories and stare at the illustrations of two special Old Testament stories: King Solomon and the Baby and [Jonah] Jonas and the Great Fish. To read my story about Jonah, click here.

Below is the story from my childhood book, which still sits in my bookshelf to this day.

A Paraphrased Story Version of 1 Kings 3:16-28

Solomon sat upon the throne of David, his father. David had died and now Solomon was king. He was a good king and wise.

One day two women came to him. They had a baby with them. One woman said, “We live in the same house. We each had a baby born to us. This woman’s baby died one night, and she came and took my baby. She put her dead baby in my bed.”

The other woman said, “It is my child who is alive and hers who is dead.”

The first woman said, “No. The dead is your son and the living is my son.”

And so, they argued.

The king said to one of his men, “Bring me a sword.”

The sword was brought, and the king said, “Divide this child in half and give half to each of these women.”

One woman said, “Oh, do not kill the baby! Give him to the other woman but let him live!”

The other woman said,” No. Let neither of us have him. Divide him.”

Then King Solomon knew which was the mother of the child.

He said, “Give the child to the woman who does not want the child divided. She loves it and wants it to live.”

When the people heard how wise King Solomon had been, they said, “He knows what is true. He has thoughts of God.”³

Guiding Light: The Search for Wisdom

Solomon was King David’s son from his wife Bathsheba. His upbringing in an extremely wealthy household allowed him to have just about every privilege a child raised by a rich godly king could expect—fine food, a good education, religious training, little conflict, and more.

Solomon’s life was most likely free of conflict until it was time for him to ascend to the throne of Israel. His brother Adonijah tried to force a coup, doing all he could to get the kingship for himself that David already promised to Solomon. Fortunately, he did overthrow Adonijah’s attempt to rule Israel and became king.

Solomon knew he needed God’s wisdom if he were to enlarge the kingdom and construct the temple his father David had already prepared for him to erect.

Solomon loved God, and as a young ruler, he wanted the wisdom to rule this vast kingdom fittingly. Knowing he needed to dedicate himself totally to the Lord, he sought wisdom and guidance, and in a dream at Gibeon, not far from Jerusalem, he offered multiple sacrifices to the Lord. Then, God came to him in a dream and asked Solomon to ask Him for anything he desired.

God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.” Then Solomon said, “You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 1 Kings 3:5b-9

It was at Gibeon Solomon asked for WISDOM. He wanted to administer justice and judgment using true godly discernment. It was normal in those days for the common people to have access to the king, and he took his job seriously. Shortly after his asking for wisdom, Solomon was introduced to these two prostitutes—both seeking to resolve a dispute between them and a living baby.

One Life to Live: Mothers

These two temple prostitutes stood before their ruler and king, waiting for his judgment as to which woman should be allowed to keep the live baby.

Sidebar: I believe most mothers can recognize their own child, especially after three days of caring for and loving them.

But, the disagreement over the baby’s “ownership” continued all the way up to the top court. King Solomon, not being privy to DNA testing, listened to both women’s side of the story. He gathered facts and information. Although Solomon had many responsibilities, as kings do, such as peacemaker, builder, worshiper, administrator, and scholar, this was his opportunity to be a discerner, noted Warren Wiersbe.⁴ Solomon was looking for the real mother. Most Bibles and commentaries refer to the first woman mentioned in the story as the real mother and the second woman mentioned as the untruthful mother.

Both mothers were distressed—one because she knew she might lose her baby, and the other one because she lost her baby; and her maternal instincts were so strong, she was willing to lie and deceive to have any baby.

We see this kind of behavior even today. In February 2020, Juliette Parker, former Colorado Springs mayoral candidate, posed as a “friendly” baby photographer in an attempt to steal Elysia Miller’s newborn child. Meeting Miller on a Facebook newborn baby site, they connected. Parker met under the guise of taking free baby pictures to build up her portfolio and administered GHB—the date rape drug—to try to steal Miller’s baby. Fortunately, Miller called 911 after feeling drowsy and the plot was averted.⁵

In the original story, Solomon, using his divine wisdom, called for a sword. His solution was to cut the baby in half and give half to each woman. He was wise and I feel sure his intent was never to follow through on dividing the baby. Solomon was looking to see which woman had the most compassion towards the child to find the real mother.

“And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other, the first woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, ‘Oh, my Lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him.’ But the other said, ‘He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!’” Then the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother.” When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down they feared the king; for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” (1 Kings 3:25-28)

God is a God who works out the most magnificent things and coordinates situations in His timing to be used for the glory of God. In this case, God took two prostitutes: they lived in the same house, allowed them to get pregnant at the same time, and had them deliver their babies three days apart—to be used as a very early catalyst for the people of Israel to see his wisdom. Warren Wiersbe says, “for weeks, this even was the main topic of conversation in all Israel displaying to all that King Solomon was truly a wise king.”

As the World Turns: How to Gain Wisdom

We live in a culture not much different than Solomon did in the 900s BC. Today we encounter obstacles just like the people did back in Solomon’s day. Many times, we need wise people to arbitrate our difficulties and problems.

Right now, we might be like the first woman in this story desperately needing advice, the second woman who lied and deceived, or we might be like Solomon—the one to whom people come for leadership or arbitration.

Know that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, by repenting and choosing to live a life honorable to our Lord and Savior, we can gain God’s wisdom. By following King Solomon’s steps, let us do what He did first and then commit to following whatever He says in His Word.

How to Gain Wisdom

First Solomon ASKED FOR GOD’S WISDOM. (1 Kings 3:9; James 1:5) So should we, then we can work on:

Wherever we are on this pendulum called life, let us remember that we are loved by a holy and just God. He is there to give us direction.

Look to Him for divine strength. Look at people through His eyes.

It can be difficult after we have been lied to, deceived, humiliated, criticized, or disregarded, but God has a purpose for every one of us. Striving to live a life fully dedicated to Him is costly, but wisdom is supreme. Therefore, get wisdom. Ask for wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get [His] wisdom and His understanding.

It is then that we can look at life correctly as we Search for Tomorrow.

Bible Verses

For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding, He established the heavens. Proverbs 3:19

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. Ecclesiastes 9:18

All verses are from the New American Standard Version (NASB).

Prayer

My heavenly Father. We need Your wisdom. We cry out to You for it. As King Solomon prayed, so we pray and ask You to give “Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil.” For it is only when You and Your Word is ingrained upon our hearts that we can begin to fully follow You. Give us a deeper walk from now until we reach Your heavenly kingdom. In the Name of Your precious son Jesus. Amen.

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Edited by E. Johnson

Works Cited

¹ Elementary Bible Truths Handbook. Greeneville: Bob Jones University Press, 1981.

² Adrianisms: The Collected Wit and Wisdom of Adrian Rogers. Collierville: Innovo Publishing, 2015.

³ Doane, Pelagie. A Small Child’s Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1945.

⁴ Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Commentary Old Testament: Joshua—Esther. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2008.

⁵ Benzel, Lance. “Former Colorado Springs mayoral candidate allegedly duped local man before baby abduction plot.” The Gazette. Feb 18 2020; Updated Feb 25 2020. Gazette.com.

Books by Patti Greene – Order Below

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Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

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Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

Building an Understanding Heart: The power of discernment can be nourished in the believer

Most likely, we all know people who have that special discernment into what is really happening within our culture, in the lives of people, and inside the church. Not only are they able to understand spiritual happenings, but they are also gifted in expressing their thought so those enlightened by the Holy Spirit can grasp God in His fullest.

Recently, I have been reading several books by A.W. Tozer (1897-1963). Tozer was a self-taught theologian, pastor, and writer whose influential words still linger in the hearts of his readers even after his death. Two of his more than 40 books are considered modern-day classics: The Knowledge of the Holy and The Pursuit of God.

I rank Tozer’s writings among those of other great Christian theologians or apologists such as Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, J.I. Packer, Warren Wiersbe, and E.M. Bounds. These men seem to have a grasp on the surrendered and deeper life Christians should be experiencing. It is that life where, after salvation, we grow, we depend, we surrender (or strive wholeheartedly) to live our lives in the presence of God.

Sons of Issachar

The men mentioned above and others like them remind me of the sons of Issachar mentioned in 1 Chronicles 12:32. King Saul was now dead, and David was crowned King of Israel. During this period, great wisdom and discernment were needed to understand what was going on and what to do during this transition time. Being very analytical and perceptive, the sons of Issachar were aware of what was occurring and what should be done; their discernment far exceeded that of the average person. They skillfully knew how to express their sentiments so others could take hold of them and grasp the gravity of the situation.

And of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command. (1 Chronicles 12:32)

Don’t you just love it when you are in a meeting and someone knows how to get to the real issues at hand? I experienced this first-hand as I served as a jury foreman a few years ago in a very intense five-week trial. We were into the third day of deliberations with the jury split 6-6 on a verdict. I was flummoxed as to how to proceed with my 11 jury partners when one of the men in the group stood up, went to a drawing board, and mapped out the entire plan and overview of what we needed to do to resolve our divisiveness. What a relief!

The sons of Issachar operated in the same way. Their awareness of their culture was uncanny.

Because of that, I want to share some of the dynamic quotations I encountered when recently reading my seven-volume marathon of Tozer’s books. Hopefully, these will resonate a powerful drawing and passion for you to live a holy and surrendered life to God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Due to time and space, I am sharing quotes from only four of my most recently read Tozer books. But the other ones are so worthwhile, I would be remiss if I did not mention the titles to you—The Knowledge of the Holy, The Pursuit of God, and How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Crucified Life: How to Live Out a Deeper Christian Experience by A.W. Tozer

One important point many fail to understand is that the Bible was never meant to replace God; rather, it was meant to lead us into the heart of God. Too many Christians stop with the text and never go on to experience the presence of God.

I refuse to be discouraged about anything, but it gives me a heavy heart to walk among Christians who have wandered for 40 long years in the wilderness, not going back to sin but not going on into the holy life.

The closer you are to God, the more tender your conscience is before the Lord, and the more severe your trial and temptation may be.

Most Christians are satisfied living their entire lives as common Christians. They never experience the richness of what it truly means to be a Christian. Without a deep insatiable hunger for the things of God, there is nothing within them prodding them to go forward to perfection. The condition of today’s Christian Church is the result of too many common Christians in leadership roles. Once again, we need a great move of the Holy Spirit to break out of the spiritual rut and press on to spiritual perfection. That move needs to start with individual Christians who are willing to give all to God and live the crucified life.

Never defame a fellow Christian. By this, I mean never believe evil about him or speak any evil report about him.

Pray. “Oh Lord, set in motion a chain of circumstances that will bring me to the place where I can sincerely say, ‘Be thou exalted above the heavens.’”

Obedience is a primary component of the Christian life . . . True obedience is the refusal to compromise in any regard or relationship with God, regardless of the consequences . . . If you believe in God as millions of Americans do today and do not make Him the number one exclusive priority in your life, the devil has no issue with you . . . We do not have to understand what is happening to obey God. We do not need to know the outcome to obey God. As a matter of faith and trust, we obey God simply because He is God.

The Dangers of a Shallow Life: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy by A.W. Tozer

The people impressed by the converted celebrity are carnal Christians, and only until a bigger celebrity comes along. Where is that generation that fell on their knees before God with broken hearts for the world around them? Where are those men who gave up everything to reach the world of unsaved men and women?

It is possible to be crammed with religious news and filled with religious shoptalk and yet not have the spiritual discernment to know what it means. If there is anything, I have asked God for, it is spiritual discernment. It makes you just about as popular as a hawk in a henhouse or a skunk at a picnic. You are not popular at all, and you will never be popular because nobody wants to be awakened.

If you are bored with spiritual conversation (I am not talking about religious chitchat that would bore anybody), something has gone wrong inside of your heart. The best thing to do is admit it and acknowledge it before God.

A person’s choices distinguish him as either wise or foolish. The wise man knows he must give an account of the deeds done in the body, but the fool does not. In the Bible, the word “fool” is not describing a man of mental deficiency. A fool is a man who acts without regard to consequences.

The best thing to do is to keep your eyes on Jesus and let Him take care of the devil.

If God has called you, He is not withdrawing the call because of some questions you could not answer.

Suppose you pray for something and do not get it, and it is obvious that you are not going to get it. Do not let that finish you off. Maybe you are not living right; maybe you are praying selfishly; maybe you have misunderstood the will of God. Go to the Scriptures, search it out, get right with God, give God a chance at you, then try it again and press on. Finally, the Lord will either tell you to hold on or that you are praying for the wrong thing and to pray for this thing and He will give it to you; or else He will give you what you prayed for the first time. But do not stay defeated.

A Cloud by Day, A Fire by Night: Finding and Following God’s Will for You by A.W. Tozer

Rarely do we see many steps ahead of us. We need to walk entirely by faith. But like God did for Israel, He prepares us for one step at a time.

By trusting God whether we understand His plan or not, we are placing ourselves in the path where He can lead us to where He wants us to be.

From my point of view, many gospel Christians today accept the importance of getting people saved out of Egypt. That is the real focus for them. And it is true—God saves us from our past sins, from our worst habits, and above all else, He is to save us from hell. Coming to Christ means that. And people think, Now I do not have to worry about those things. I am not going to hell when I die. I will go zooming off into heaven. Now I can just enjoy life because I know where I am going when I die. However, almost nothing is said about what we are saved unto. Yes, we know what we are saved from, and we can glory in that, but that needs to be a temporary glory. We need to know what we have been saved unto.

We do not need to figure out our own road map or how we are going to go or what we are going to do. We need to be careful that we stay in His presence, and this is the work of faith.

Knowing what my weakness is enables me to turn that section of my life over to God.

Serve God. Not the church.

There is no premature death in the will of God. A man will live if God has work for him to do and as long as that man is really committed to that work. When my work is done and I have completed it as God wants me to, then my life is over.

This message is missing for the most part today. Too many people view Christianity as an insurance policy so that when they die, they can go to heaven. They do not see it as a road map leading them into the heart of God.

The deeper Christian life goes forward as God directs and leads us, and we depend upon God to deal with our enemies.

No obstacle surprises God: He knows what is ahead and knows how to prepare us, and we need to go forward in His power and trust His wisdom. Many times, we try to do it in our own strength and power, but it never works that way.

Delighting in God [Follow-Up to the Knowledge of the Holy] by A.W. Tozer

Whenever you find a man of God, you will also find an overwhelming passion for God that is almost beyond control. Not a curiosity about God, but a deep passion to experience God in all His fullness. To know God is the one passion that dries [drives] a man into the very heart of God.

What I see lacking today is this desire to know God on a personal basis. Other things crowd this relationship out until it is barely recognized in the church today.

The great secret of the Christian life is to begin experiencing God as He desires me to experience Him. God’s greatest delight is to bring me into His presence.

Our trouble is, we hear sermon after sermon and do not get anywhere . . . This is happening because we have a lack of desire. We have not the desire we ought to have, and God’s people are not hungry and thirsty anymore.

Conclusion

As you have read through these quotes, you may have gathered that Tozer spoke what he was discerning in his heart after being in the presence of God. Many people called his works too negative. He recognized that, but it did not stop him from sharing his perceptions about God and the culture around him. I guess you would say he operated like a 20th century son of Issachar!

My prayer for you triple-fold. It is:

  1. To read your Bible expecting to experience the presence of God,
  2. To pray and meditate reaching the holy presence of God, and
  3. To surrender your life to a deeper—a much deeper—walk with Him.

Bible Verse:

So, give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours? (1 Kings 3:9)

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.” (Luke 10:23-24)

Prayer:

Oh Lord, the world is full of so much information, please teach me to know what is true and what is false. Give me the desire to ground myself in Your holy Word—every day. Let Your words soak into my mind. Guide all my thoughts and decisions. Allow the Holy Spirit to give me discernment so I can always be an honorable servant obedient to You.

God Bless.

Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member; BibleGateway Blogger, Member; SBC, Church Member

Bible verses are from the New American Standard Bible.

Edited by E. Johnson

Photo Credit: Canva/Fernanda Latronic

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