Tag Archives: integrity

Prayers for Wisdom (Part 9 of the Series – ‘Prayer: What Difference Does It Make?’)

Today’s message summary of August 20, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Today, we will discuss what it is to pray for wisdom.

James 1:5

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

James was speaking to Jewish Christians who were spread throughout the Roman Empire.  These Christians were experiencing various trials.  It was written sometime between 40-50 A.D.  At that time there was a restriction of travel by Christians to Alexandria by the emperor Claudius in 40 A.D.  Another James, who led the church, was murdered around 44 A.D by King Herod.  There was a famine in Jerusalem around 46 A.D., which caused a severe shortage of food.  These Christians faced political trials, persecution and anxiety.

James was writing to these Christians who faced trials, and there are trials that many believers experience today.  He reminded the believers that they were to look to God in the midst of these and other trials in order to obtain God’s wisdom.

We will look at these four aspects of wisdom:

  • The Invitation of Wisdom
  • The Explanation of Wisdom
  • The Application of Wisdom
  • The Gift of Wisdom

Before James 1:5, the verses that precede it set the tone for the seeking of God’s wisdom:

James 1:2-4

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

James is speaking to new believers who desire to use self-control in the midst of difficulty.  It challenges believers to ask God for wisdom in those areas where one is struggling. We are invited to seek after His wisdom.

The Invitation of Wisdom

Proverbs 2:1-10

My son, if you accept my words

and store up my commands within you,

listening closely to wisdom

and directing your heart to understanding;

furthermore, if you call out to insight

and lift your voice to understanding,

if you seek it like silver

and search for it like hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord

and discover the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He stores up success for the upright;

He is a shield for those who live with integrity

so that he may guard the paths of justice

and protect the way of his faithful followers.

Then you will understand righteousness, justice,

and integrityevery good path.

For wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will delight you.

 

The Explanation of Wisdom

Wisdom is not just intellectual knowledge.  There are many intellectuals in this world that still lack wisdom.  They may have high IQs and great knowledge, but when it comes down to wisdom, it means that there has to be a rational thought.

We should not be surprised when we hear things that are foolish that come from these intellectuals.  One of the most foolish things that a person can do is to fail to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Wisdom is the by-product of God’s attributes and His laws.  Wisdom reveals the very nature of God, and by seeking after Him, He will reveal it to you.  The personification of wisdom is Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 8:1-21

Doesnt wisdom call out?

Doesnt understanding make her voice heard?

At the heights overlooking the road,

at the crossroads, she takes her stand.

Beside the gates leading into the city,

at the main entrance, she cries out:

People, I call out to you;

my cry is to the children of Adam.

Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced;

develop common sense, you who are foolish.

Listen, for I speak of noble things,

and what my lips say is right.

For my mouth tells the truth,

and wickedness is detestable to my lips.

All the words from my mouth are righteous;

none of them are deceptive or perverse.

All of them are clear to the perceptive,

and right to those who discover knowledge.

Accept my instruction instead of silver,

and knowledge rather than pure gold.

For wisdom is better than jewels,

and nothing desirable can equal it.

I, wisdom, share a home with shrewdness

and have knowledge and discretion.

To fear the Lord is to hate evil.

I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct,

and perverse speech.

I possess good advice and sound wisdom;

I have understanding and strength.

It is by me that kings reign

and rulers enact just law;

by me, princes lead,

as do nobles and all righteous judges.

I love those who love me,

and those who search for me find me.

With me are riches and honor,

lasting wealth and righteousness.

My fruit is better than solid gold,

and my harvest than pure silver.

I walk in the ways of righteousness,

along the paths of justice,

giving wealth as an inheritance to those who love me,

and filling their treasuries.

 

Note what verse 17 in Proverbs 8 about wisdom:

Proverbs 8:17

I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me.

John 14:21

The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.

 

The Application of Wisdom

How do we apply this wisdom?  It starts with asking God.  It is wise to seek wisdom from those who are following Christ, and not from those who are not following Him.  Applying wisdom is acknowledging the authority that God has in your life.

Proverbs 3:5-7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not rely on your own understanding;

in all your ways know him,

and he will make your paths straight.

Dont be wise in your own eyes;

fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

Whenever you choose not to ask for wisdom from God, it shows a lack of fear or reverence for Him.

We apply wisdom about asking God within a situation we are going through, and we seek after His presence.  We are to seek His Word and listen for His voice.

 

The Gift of Wisdom

God will give it to you and not hold anything back.

God grants wisdom without any regret.  He desires to give it to you and to help you understand what is going on.

Wisdom is a gift that helps you and also challenges you to remain faithful through the process.  His wisdom will help you in faith.

James 1:6-8

But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, being double-minded and unstable in all his ways.

God desires to give us wisdom.  He desires to give us wisdom in prayer.  Meditate on His Word.  Recite it to yourself within your prayer.  He will answer and give you what you need.

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The Church’s Benefit is Truth About Life

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Church attendance is dwindling throughout America today. The conclusion is that more people believe that the church is less relevant today. In reality, the church actually brings relevance to our lives. When we enter the house of God, it’s purpose is to give us understanding. We learn from the church that the way of the world is vastly different from what we learn in church. It is about not leaning on one’s own way of understanding but on what God states about leaning on His guidance and direction (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Newsweek ran an article about “A World Without Fathers: The Struggle to Save the Black Family” back in 1993. Twenty years later, the state of the Black Family remains in peril and is arguably getting worse.
Statistically, less than 50 percent of black men in high school actually graduate. There has been little to no improvement in the plight of children coming out of high school, in spite of the money that has been spent on education.There is a clear change in society when it comes to marriage. Many people choose living together as an alternative in order to “test out” the relationship.
Americans are creating their own religions by blending their beliefs with what others may believe. They are using the mix-and-match approach in order to conform to what works best for them. The question for this is ‘Are these blended religions in conformity with who God really is?’

These views are all the result of the world’s influence on man’s way of thinking. Some have even proposed that God Himself does not exist. The church brings insight as to what is really the truth about life and provides direction in every daily situation and circumstance.

God’s truth gives understanding to life. Life without God’s truth is nothing less than living life in a state of confusion–it is a life of disorder, embarrassment and failure. The church is a benefit for us because it is the only place we will receive truth that is directly from God concerning all of life that is correct.

The church teaches and insists upon those who claim that they are saved to trust in His Word–the Holy Bible. You cannot say that you do not believe in the Bible and also refer to yourself as a believer in Jesus Christ. It is a standard that is without compromise.

The church instructs that not one word of God’s Word will fade away. Why?

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man who lies,
or a son of man who changes His mind.
Does He speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfill?

In the church, we learn that God is not a man (John 4:24).

John 4:24
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

God does not lie–He speaks the truth, and His Word will not change.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned —those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

1 Timothy 4:1-3
1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.

2 Timothy 3:7
…always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Romans 3:4
…Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words
and triumph when You judge.

Psalm 119:89-91
ל 89 Lord, Your word is forever;
it is firmly fixed in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness is for all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands firm.
91 They stand today in accordance with Your judgments,
for all things are Your servants.

Matthew 5:18
For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God[a] and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The truth about life comes through the church and God’s Word through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 8:32
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

God’s people are being prepared for service and work within His church and for His ministry. The church is the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers…

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church.

God does not change His mind; as a result, the church believes the words of God, stands on it, and acts upon it. We need His Word to renew our minds, to keep us and help us to endure the afflictions that come from the enemy. He is our Comforter. He has a standard that is far above that of the world that we live in. He wants us to seek His kingdom in the way that we live.

Isaiah 55:8
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.

God’s Word declares sin and the nature of the sinner.

Psalm 73:18-19
18 Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
19 How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.

The believer in Jesus Christ who responds to Him and His Word will receive blessings from Him.

John 1:17
…for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

God’s Word provides teaching and valuable instruction for dealing with the issues of life. It also provides clear information on how to worship Him and how to remain in righteous living.

The church carries out God’s plan. It is not a new plan–it was His plan from the beginning.

Genesis 1:28
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“Subduing the land” requires work. It means to conquer or bring into subjection. It is to overcome by way of persuasion or training. We all are to work with a clean conscience in how we live, and that is how God reaches us as He ministers to us while we minister to others. His truth calls us to work for His kingdom.

To make disciples calls for work. Our work is for Jesus Christ and its purpose is to reach others. It is all about all of us coming under God’s authority.


The Benefits of a Church

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
I pray that God will bring understanding of His truth to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. As we read and hear His Word, allow the Spirit to speak to you and provide insight and direction as we trust in Him, and let Him minister to you.

How many of us know the real reason that we go to church? Only you can answer this question for yourself. Are you going to show your fashions or simply out of duty? Are you going to seek the Lord with all your heart?

Is coming to church beneficial to you? Do you understand its value and importance? Do you see how God is working in your life and in those around you? There really is something to gain in your participation. What are its benefits?

1. A church will teach you how to conduct yourself in life.

1 Timothy 3:15
But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to act in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Do you see your relationship with God as joyful and all-inclusive in your life? A child of God is a member of His family, and you know how to behave and conduct yourself.

Philippians 1:27
Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel.

In church, you surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you. In comparison, the world does not care about you nearly as much. In your obedience, you see the presence, power and glory of God working through the church. God renews your mind and changes your heart to become Christlike in your actions.

Psalm 63:2-5
2 So I gaze on You in the sanctuary
to see Your strength and Your glory.
3 My lips will glorify You
because Your faithful love is better than life.
4 So I will praise You as long as I live;
at Your name, I will lift up my hands.
5 You satisfy me as with rich food;
my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.

2. In church you will gain understanding about life.

Do you know who you are in Jesus Christ? Have you asked about the advantages of being a Christian as opposed to living life as a sinner?

Psalm 73
God’s Ways Vindicated

A psalm of Asaph.

1 God is indeed good to Israel,
to the pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet almost slipped;
my steps nearly went astray.
3 For I envied the arrogant;
I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have an easy time until they die,
and their bodies are well fed.
5 They are not in trouble like others;
they are not afflicted like most people.
6 Therefore, pride is their necklace,
and violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes bulge out from fatness;
the imaginations of their hearts run wild.
8 They mock, and they speak maliciously;
they arrogantly threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against heaven,
and their tongues strut across the earth.
10 Therefore His people turn to them
and drink in their overflowing words.
11 The wicked say, “How can God know?
Does the Most High know everything?”
12 Look at them—the wicked!
They are always at ease,
and they increase their wealth.
13 Did I purify my heart
and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?
14 For I am afflicted all day long
and punished every morning.
15 If I had decided to say these things aloud,
I would have betrayed Your people.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it seemed hopeless
17 until I entered God’s sanctuary.
Then I understood their destiny.
18 Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
19 How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.
20 Like one waking from a dream,
Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.
21 When I became embittered
and my innermost being was wounded,
22 I was stupid and didn’t understand;
I was an unthinking animal toward You.
23 Yet I am always with You;
You hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will take me up in glory.
25 Who do I have in heaven but You?
And I desire nothing on earth but You.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.
27 Those far from You will certainly perish;
You destroy all who are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, God’s presence is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so I can tell about all You do.

When you look at life for what it is, the blessing is more about doing the right thing as opposed to doing what your flesh desires to do. There is often hardship in following Christ, including persecution. You will find yourself making choices that will separate yourself from some friends and acquaintances, and it won’t be easy to do. There may even be some envy or jealousy over what others may do, but your love for God and your desire to please Him keeps you from sinning against Him and seeking righteous living. Please know and remember that there is are good consequences of faithful living and there are dire consequences of unrighteous living. The love of Christ strengthens you and builds you up, while ongoing sin only corrupts the mind and the heart of the perpetrator. In church, you learn about this and the clear distinctions between the two.

3. In church you learn reverence for God.

Psalm 5:7
But I enter Your house
by the abundance of Your faithful love;
I bow down toward Your holy temple
in reverential awe of You.


Blessed Are The Merciful

In the beatitudes (Matthew, Chapter 5 and Mark, Chapter 6), God is bringing to his people the focus of His New Covenant through the words of His Sermon on the Mount.The words “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3; Mark 6:20) should make one have the desire to examine himself or herself as to where they are spiritually. Have you considered what the damage of sin and what it can do to others in the community? Do we express sorrow and cry for others in the same way that Jesus cried for those who were lost in Jerusalem? Do we have a hunger and a desire for righteousness (Matthew 5:6)?Blessed are the merciful, because they will be shown mercy(Matthew 5:7).Mercy is when a person receives and understands what it is. In order for it to be best understood, it creates an interaction with another person. Mercy is more than just giving a person a lenient sentence as punishment; in contrast, it is understanding the need of the other person and fulfilling the need of the person. Mercy requires action.

Ephesians 2:4-5
But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved!

God’s mercy is an ongoing act of compassion. While He does ultimately judge righteousness, His mercy is rooted in His righteousness, and it is those who practice righteousness that can exhibit mercy. It takes God’s mercy upon us to give us direction and focus to remain clean and be obedient to Him. His mercy is not anything that we deserve. We are deemed righteous because of our obedience to Him.

Deuteronomy 13:17-18
Nothing set apart for destruction is to remain in your hand, so that the Lord will turn from His burning anger and grant you mercy, show you compassion, and multiply you as He swore to your fathers. This will occur if you obey the Lord your God, keeping all His commands I an giving you today, doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.

The people addressed here were living in an area where they were surrounded with sin and sinful practices; yet, God granted them mercy and showed them compassion. It would not be recognized by the people without their obedience and quest for righteousness.

Hosea 6:6
For I desire loyalty (mercy) and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Matthew 9:10-13
While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Learning to be merciful is to see the needs that a person has in his or her life.

Hebrews 2:17-18
Therefore He (Jesus) had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

Jesus was our example in everything, even in the demonstration of mercy because He relates to our battles in the flesh. He was our merciful high priest in rendering His service for each of us.

Matthew 11:2-6
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent a message by his disciples and asked Him, “Are You the One who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news. And if anyone is not offended because of Me, he is blessed.”

God’s mercy is also upon those who are disenfranchised–the blind, the handicapped, and all of those who have ailments or the less fortunate or the disadvantaged. The dead also refers to the spiritually dead, and God uses His word to revive them.

It is the mercy of God that sees the need of those who are at a disadvantage. The Holy Spirit helps us to examine ourselves and to see our need for Jesus Christ and to also see the world we live in through His eyes. If we see things His way, we will readily see the need for mercy and compassion.

We pray that the Lord gives us the desire to be meek and humble, and not fearful of those who are in sin and carrying out sinful and destructive behavior. We pray for the persuasion of righteousness and for its influence on others to turn to Jesus Christ. We pray for our ministry to others in that, because Jesus has shown us mercy, we can be merciful to others. Lord, minister to us, and we’ll give You the praise, in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Fathers Are Relevant Today

The responsibilities of a Father are very important. While cultural changes over the years have shown a lack of emphasis in this area, we must see that this is more of a God-ordained responsibility.Without the Bible and its direction, fatherhood today is virtually unimportant. And with little wonder…24 million children go to bed at night without a biological father in the home. The emotional and consequential repercussions are enormous. Many of these children are being raised through welfare or some sort of social assistance, and the likelihood of developing emotional problems or having the desire to commit suicide increases for children who are without fathers.Fathers really should be the teachers in the family. They face profound challenges in today’s world. In order to meet these challenges and effectively handle the responsibilities, we need to look at what it really means to be a father.

First, fathers must own up to their responsibilities. To fail to acknowledge this is a moral failure…and irresponsible. The father’s role is to support and teach his family, while acknowledging that any accomplishments are not his own, but come from God.

Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ, fathered six or more children. You might ask what Joseph could have taught Jesus? Consider that Joseph, being a devout, righteous man who followed God, had given Jesus instruction to be a carpenter…Jesus had learned a trade, taking on Joseph’s likeness as the carpenter’s son, which honored and respected him as a father, well before Jesus began his earthly ministry (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3).

Fathers can teach powerful lessons in how they perform, act, and respond to adversity. Fathers can teach forgiveness over practicing vengeance. When fathers cannot be providers or assume the role that God gives them, they tend to disappear and become irrelevant within a family structure. It is important that a father that teaches his children allows for himself to be disciplined, or taught, by God.

Deuteronomy 8:5-6
Keep in mind that the Lord your God has been disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. So keep the commands of the Lord your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him.

Proverbs 3:11-12
Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in.

If men are not following God in this way, they cannot properly minister to or give instruction to their family. Unless a man learns how to submit to the authority of Christ, that person will have difficulty submitting to earthly authority or being an effective authority figure in the home. There is no authority except for that which is given by God (John 19:11).

What did Joseph teach his children? Joseph was a conscientious Jew that adhered faithfully to the law (Luke 2:22, 39). Jesus was taught to honor and respect Jewish holidays (John 7:1-10). Joseph demonstrated throughout his household that He was being obedient to God and His word. He and his wide, Mary, did everything that was required of them. He taught Jesus and all of his children (1) to trust God (Luke 1:24; 2:13), and (2) to obey God (Luke 2:19-21).

Children will either behave properly by the way they have been taught, or they will act in rebellion against the improper instruction that they received.

If the proper instruction is given to children by their fathers, it does stick with the children (Proverbs 22:6).

Father, we pray that we, as fathers, are guided through the Holy Spirit to be godly men that provide Your wisdom and instruction to teach our children and bring them up to be godly men or godly women. Thank you, and we pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

On behalf of Pastor Gus Brown and the Akron Alliance family, best wishes to you for a Happy Father’s Day.


Decisions With (Or Without) God in the Process

Decisions take place throughout our entire lives. How we make our decisions can have a profound effect on our lives. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, it requires making a decision to live a life that honors Christ. Are there circumstances that get in the way of making decisions according to living as Christ would have you to live? Are you living as God’s Word would have you to live, or are you “going with the flow” or living life “off the top of your head”? Does fear, confusion or a lack of commitment affect your decision-making?

Real problems sometimes require difficult decisions. Christians, however, need to remember not to remove God from the process. Decisions should always be in consultation with God in prayer. It is also important to allow for Scriptural information and insight in the process. God’s Word helps us to remain in fellowship with Him and to provide guidance in our lives. We are also to make an honest assessment of who you are as you are making decisions. You should not expect to be making good and effective decisions if you are not living according to God’s Word and not in a right relationship with Him. Decision-making should also occur without the element of human emotion or human attraction. Emotions will always cloud the vision of the decision-maker and the process.

Life is full of problems and solutions (Job 5:7, 14:1). It is our process of coming up with solutions through the authority of God’s Word that is of greatest importance. The wrong decisions are a sign of carnality (Proverbs 14:12) and lead to disorder (1 Corinthians 14:40). Decisions should always lead to peace and order, and our God is not a god of confusion.

People who place themselves under the authority of God will make good decisions. Why?

1. To have authority from God means that you have the legal right to act. The decisions made in this authority will not just affect you but also have an impact upon others…they will have a ripple effect on the lives of others and even for the Kingdom of God.
2. To act is to make a decision and carry out an action.
3. Jesus has complete authority (Matthew 28:18); therefore, you can act on this authority with confidence.

It is fair to conclude that any decision made without Jesus is a decision made incorrectly and without His authority.

In 2 Chronicles, Solomon was in fellowship with God, and in that relationship God elevated Solomon to be a great king and leader (2 Chronicles 1:1). As long as Solomon followed the Lord, he was highly successful. When we see Solomon’s life change and begin to make poor decisions, it was because he moved away from God’s teaching and instruction (1 Kings 11:1-13). Solomon loved women outside of Israel–women of foreign lands who were worshiping other gods and idols. God had forbidden this in the beginning because He knew that the love and desire for them would cause Solomon to follow after them and their practices.

There are four steps towards poor decision-making:

1. Not taking God’s Word seriously (2 Corinthians 6:14)
2. The heart is captive to something other than God (1 Kings 11:4)
3. The devotion for God is lost (1 Kings 11:4)
4. The desire to commit evil (1 Kings 11:6).

Solomon’s poor decisions aroused God’s anger towards him, and led to God taking away his kingdom from him (1 Kings 11:9, 11), and the Lord raised up an adversary against him (1 Kings 11:28, 40).

Solomon’s decision-making was driven by his emotions and acted accordingly. His heart was turned away from God, which created in him a heart of double-mindedness (James 1:5-8). The decisions that were made were not good for him; in fact, they only brought about destruction to his doorstep. Solomon, who was once praised for his great wisdom, became foolish in his evil actions and poor decision-making, all because he decided not to follow and trust God.

When you make the commitment to desire God’s will over your own will and desires, you will be able to make the best decisions for your life and the lives of others around you (Psalm 1:6).

As He (Jesus Christ) was saying these things, many believed in Him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free‘” (John 8:30-32).

Pray for the Lord’s guidance in all decisions that you make, and for His will to be prominent throughout the entire process.


The Impact of Decision-Making

Making decisions is a daily occurrence for each and every one of us. They are a normal part of life, and they are often important over the course of time. In our daily decision-making, we are to consider that our choices can have a significant impact, either favorably or unfavorably, on our lives and the lives of others.

In its simplicity, decisions are ultimately categorized one of two ways–from a godly perspective or from a worldly perspective…from a selfish motivation or those that are with God in mind. Your decisions can bring honor to God or disgrace to Him.

In the book Hard Call by John McCain with Mark Salter (Hatchette Book Group, USA, 2007), McCain writes a chapter about Branch Rickey, the General Manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers, who made the decision to break baseball’s color barrier by bringing Jackie Robinson to the major leagues. The game of baseball, at that time, was a mirror of society’s segregation. The only opportunity for black ballplayers was to play in the Negro Leagues, and there was the longstanding practice of “colored men” only being allowed to stay in places, and not being allowed to eat or stay at “white” facilities. Rickey was a man of conviction and who noted the injustices of how blacks were treated in society. He made the fateful, yet calculated, decision to find the best black ballplayer in the country that would have the intelligence, stamina and ability to endure all of the jeering and hatred that would be directed to the one who would be first. His scouts, and even a black baseball writer confirmed that Jackie Robinson would be that player. Before signing Robinson and having him play at the Dodgers’ AAA team at Montreal, Rickey had to make sure that six things were in place that would allow for Robinson’s successful entry to the major leagues:

  • The support and backing of the Dodgers directors
  • That Robinson would be the right man on the field (by not fighting back when being provoked)
  • That Robinson was a man of character when he was not playing (traveling with the team; staying out of trouble)
  • That there would be a favorable reaction from the press and the public
  • That there would be support and backing, through communication through the black press, to blacks themselves to see that the project would be a success; in other words, prepare the audience for the tolerance of opposition that they, too, would encounter (blacks were being encouraged to attend the ballgames and begin the integration of fans at the ballparks)
  • The acceptance of Robinson’s presence and play by his future teammates

Rickey’s decisions throughout this process created the event that forever changed the sport of baseball. Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers and was named by The Sporting News as their first ever Rookie of the Year at age 28. He was league MVP two years later and helped the Dodgers win six pennants and a World Series championship. It was the courage of Rickey’s decision making and Robinson’s decision to accept Rickey’s offer to play that shaped change all over America. This is proof that decision-making can have a significant impact outside of our immediate sphere of influence.

McCain writes that effective decision-making requires:

1. Awareness. Who are the enemies in your life? The Holy Spirit help you to use discernment.
2. Foresight. In your decision-making process, look at the possibilities from the direction that you take.
3. Timing. Wait on the Lord and be ready to move when it is time to move.
4. Confidence. Your ability is not in yourself, but in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6)
5. Humility. Adversity is a by-product of life…you need to know how to accept adversity and difficulty in your experience and how to respond properly in your decision-making process.
6. Inspiration. Be inspired by who you are in Jesus Christ–knowing who you are and His will for your life. God has a plan and a purpose for your life.

Sometimes good decision-making is not rewarded with immediate results. One decision may lead to another decision. Ultimately, the hard decisions need to be made in order for things to get better. The purpose of your decision has to be greater than you, just as Branch Rickey’s decision impacted Jackie Robinson, his wife, the other ballplayers, and an entire society. Only after the right and the hard decisions are made, God will act. God will move as you remain obedient to Him. You have to come to the point before you make the decision that you are doing so according to God’s will, His plan and His purpose. Decisions require careful thought and consideration.

Poor decision-making can lead to dire consequences that will effect not just you but even future generations that follow you.

1 Kings 11:1-13

King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women from the nations that the Lord had told the Israelites about, “Do not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn you away from Me to their gods.” Solomon was deeply attached to these women and loved them.  He had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines, and they turned his heart away from the Lord. When Solomon was old, his wives seduced him to follow other gods. He was not completely devoted to Yahweh his God, as his father David had been. Solomon followed Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, and unlike his father David, he did not completely follow Yahweh. At that time, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab, and for Milcom, the detestable idol of the Ammonites, on the hill across from Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who were burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods. The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from Yahweh, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had commanded him about this, so that he would not follow other gods, but Solomon did not do what the Lord had commanded. Then the Lord said to Solomon, “Since you have done this and did not keep My covenant and My statutes, which I commanded you, I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. However, I will not do it during your lifetime because of your father David; I will tear it out of your son’s hand. Yet I will not tear the entire kingdom away from him. I will give one tribe to your son because of my servant David and because of Jerusalem that I chose.”

Because of Solomon’s transgressions, Jeroboam was given the kingdom with God’s promise of dynasty in the same way as David had…provided that he was obedient to God.

1 Kings 11:26-39

Now Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam son of Nebat, was an Ephraimite from Zeredah. His widowed mother’s name was Zeruah. Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, and this is the reason he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the supporting terraces and repaired the opening in the wall of the city of his father David. Now the man Jeroboam was capable, and Solomon noticed the young man because he was getting things done. So he appointed him over the entire labor force of the house of Joseph. During that time, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met Jeroboam on the road as Jeroboam came out of Jerusalem. Now Ahijah had wrapped himself with a newcloak, and the two of them were alone in the open field. Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he had on, tore it into 12 pieces, and said to Jeroboam, “Take 10 pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I am about to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand. I will give you 10 tribes, but one tribe will remain his because of my servant David and because of Jerusalem, the city I chose out of all the tribes of Israel. For they have abandoned Me; they have bowed the knee to Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, to Chemosh, the god of Moab, and to Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. They have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and to carry out My statutes and My judgments as his father David did. “‘However, I will not take the whole kingdom from his hand but will let him be ruler all the days of his life because of My servant David, whom I chose and who kept My commands and My statutes. I will take 10 tribes of the kingdom from his son’s hand and give them to you. I will give one tribe to his son, so that My servant David will always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city I chose for Myself to put My name there. I will appoint you, and you will reign as king over all you want, and you will be king over Israel. “‘After that, if you obey all I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight in order to keep My statutes and My commands as My servant David did, I will be with you. I will build you a lasting dynasty just as I built for David, and I will give you Israel. I will humble David’s descendants, because of their unfaithfulness, but not forever.’”

Decisions can have fateful consequences when the wrong decision is made.

2 Chronicles 10:1-18

Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel hadgone to Shechem to make him king. When Jeroboamson of Nebat heard about it—for he was in Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon’s presence —Jeroboam returned from Egypt. So they summoned him. Then Jeroboam and all Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam: “Your father made our yoke difficult. Therefore, lighten your father’s harsh service and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” Rehoboam replied, “Return to me in three days.” So the people left. Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon when he was alive, asking, “How do you advise me to respond to these people?” They replied, “If you will be kind to these people and please them by speaking kind words to them, they will be your servants forever.” But he rejected the advice of the elders who had advised him, and he consulted with the young men who had grown up with him, the ones serving him. He asked them, “What message do you advise we send back to these people who said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?” Then the young men who had grown up with him told him, “This is what you should say to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you, make it lighter on us!’ This is what you should say to them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. Now therefore, my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I, with barbed whips.’” So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, just as the king had ordered, saying, “Return to me on the third day.” Then the king answered them harshly. King Rehoboam rejected the elders’ advice and spoke to them according to the young men’s advice, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father disciplined you with whips, but I, with barbed whips.” The king did not listen to the people because the turn of events came from God, in order that the Lord might carry out His word that He had spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat. When all Israel saw that the king had not listened to them, the people answered the king: What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Israel, each man to your tent; David, look after your own house now! So all Israel went to their tents. But as for the Israelites living in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was in charge of the forced labor, but the Israelites stoned him to death. However, King Rehoboam managed to get into his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. Israel is in rebellion against the house of David until today.

As King Solomon’s decisions had changed his method of rule over the people of Israel, the people were burdened and wanted relief. When the opportunity came for King Rehoboam to follow the advice of his elders, he chose to, instead, listen to his peers. Note that the decision made by King Rehoboam was ultimately the wrong decision. It was the wrong decision, but it was still according to God’s will (2 Chronicles 10:15). The result was that Israel would eventually rebel against the king and would be “in rebellion against the house of David until today” (2 Chronicles 10:19). There will often be good advice and bad advice provided to you when it comes time to make a decision. It is very important to seek wise counsel who have knowledge and understanding, especially from those who seek their own counsel from God and His Word. Godly counsel is always better than worldly advice. If you cannot support your decision-making spiritually and with God’s Word as a foundation, then it is best not to make it. We may not always like the results and the circumstances surrounding our decisions, but they are best for us in the long run, for He loves us and wants us to be successful in our service for Him.

The lesson in all of this is that people are often dealing with all kinds of issues, and we need to be aware of the importance of choices as we relate to others in winning them for Christ, while Christ builds, nurtures and strengthens you.