Today I Saw God

Wisdom: When You Just Know

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My heart beats more quickly than usual. The feeling in the pit of my stomach is familiar, a pang of recognition and anticipation. I sense an invitation has been extended, an offer made, an answer found.

Perhaps it is an intuitive knowing, a sixth sense, a gut reaction or an answer to prayer. Whatever name you give it, many of us can recall times when we just know.

Deep in our spirits. We. Just. Know.

But then the questioning begins. We second guess and argue with ourselves.

  • What if I'm wrong?
  • What if I'm crazy?
  • How will it work?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if I look like a fool?

So we stuff it down, put it on hold and decide we need to spend more time thinking, ruminating, marinating, worrying, wondering, stewing, contemplating, considering, cogitating, meditating and praying before we act.

(Whew. Just typing all those words is exhausting.)

Yet, I have had several conversations with friends recently who told me about an experience of deep knowing when they didn't stuff it down or put it on hold. They made a different choice, took a different road. They trusted the knowing. They didn't ignore, and they didn't wait.

"Suddenly, I just knew. And I knew if I didn't act right away,I would never do it. So I did it immediately."

They took action without delay. They signed up, made the call, sent the email or put the date on their calendar. Right that minute, heart pounding. Before they had the chance to hush the deep knowing.

Not every decision can be made in an instant, yet more and more often I am choosing to listen to those moments when God invites me to dance. Or jump. Or dive deep.

In one of my favorite books in scripture, James shares this profound insight:

"If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him." – James 1:5

In the book of Ephesians, Paul speaks of desiring a spirit of wisdom and revelation for those who might someday read his words:

"I pray that the great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may give you the wisdom of His Spirit. Then you will be able to understand the secrets about Him as you know Him better. I pray that your hearts will be able to understand. I pray that you will know about the hope given by God's call. I pray that you will see how great the things are that He has promised to those who belong to Him." – Ephesians 1:17-18

As a person of faith, I believe the thing we often call intuition is our connection to God. A God of healing, love and goodness. A God who wants my best and wants to show me how to use the unique gifts he has given me in his Kingdom.

A God who wants to give me wisdom.

Scripture repeatedly invites us to pray for wisdom, with the understanding that God is more than happy to answer that prayer in the affirmative. When we are curious about why something has been on our mind, we can go to God with our wondering. When I am seeking God's presence regularly in prayer, I gain clarity in the ways I am called to engage in the world. I hear God's whispers and nudges as an invitation to explore where I might have a role to play in the work God is doing in the world. The person we can't get off our mind, the need which always brings a lump to our throat, the interest or hobby we are drawn to repeatedly but haven't made time to tryperhaps these are the ways the Holy Spirit invites us to reach out, sign up and be brave. Trusting our heart and listening to our Father, the path becomes clear.

Friend, if you knowknow deep in your spirittake the leap of faith. Accept the invitation. Don't wait. Obey scared. Do it right now.

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Practice Makes Perfect

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"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show itby their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambitionin your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.Such "wisdom" does not come down from heavenbut is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.For where you have envy and selfish ambition,there you find disorder and every evil practice.But the wisdom that comes from heavenis first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercyand good fruit, impartial and sincere.Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness." James 3:13-18

The book of James is a wonderful book in the Bible. Do you know why I love it? It challenges me. It challenges my faith and the way I choose to live my life.

The author Mark Allan Powell suggests that the letter of James presents Christianity as a way of life, not just a system of beliefs. It warns Christians against the dangers of being "double minded," that is, trying to live by the standard that Christ has set and the standard set by the world.

Throughout James, we are given the choice to follow one of two paths: the path of life or the path of death.

James suggests that we can't be in the middle; we must choose. So often, I think we choose the path of death.

Bitterness and envy are easy to find today. They are everywhere. Just take a look at your Facebook or Twitter feeds.

Do you know why bitterness and envy are so widespread? It's because we practice them on a regular basis.

Despite this practice, we are still called to choose another path.

James says that any bitterness and envy in our lives is of our own making. We so often choose to sow these things into the world. But we can make a choice to practice something else: the path of life.

When we choose the path of life, what does it require?

It requires wisdomtrusting the wisdom that comes from God. It requires us to listen to God first before we listen to the demands of the world.

It requires humilitybeing humble and respecting others. It requires us to recognize that we are all God's children, worthy of dignity.

It requires love and reflecting God's love to others. It requires us to be brothers and sisters in Christ.

When we speak with wisdom, humility and love, we give and receive heavenly favor.

"But the wisdom that comes from heavenis first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercyand good fruit, impartial and sincere.Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."

I'd say it's pretty hard today to choose the path of life, one of peacemaking, humility and grace. But it's our calling, especially in a world of brokenness. And it's our choice which path we choose.

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