Category: <span>thoughts by Julie Cosgrove</span>

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“Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1

On a whim, I stopped at a fast food restaurant to get a cold drink while dashing about with my to-do list of errands. The line of cars at the drive-through was six deep, so I parked to go inside instead.  I saw a dear friend of mine through the glass. She was bent over her computer, holding her right hand to her mouth, worry lines exaggerated on her forehead.  I waved to get her attention but she was too busy concentrating on what was on the screen to look up.

I leaned over the small landscaped shrubs and tapped the glass. No response. I went inside and stood in front of her, ready to say something jovial. Then I saw a tear run down her cheek, so I slid into the booth and placed my hand over her left one as it crunched a napkin. She jumped, then relief filled her face and she hugged me. “How did God know I’d need a good friend right now?” she whispered. On the screen was an email from her son with disturbing news.

In Psalm 10 David asked why God seemed so far away in times of trouble. I think if we are honest, that same question has crossed out thoughts as well. Why does God seem so far away? Back in the day, there used to be a bumper sticker that read something to the effect of “If you can’t feel God in your life, guess who moved?”

God’s love is constant, but our anger, our grief, and our doubts can push Him away from our thoughts. The negatives crowd out that small voice we know is not from our own brain waves.  Despair robs us of the closeness we once felt. Yet the Bible tells us God is our refuge and strength in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

God is always there. Sometimes we just need to look up from our troubles to see Him. Maybe it will be in the form of a friend, a rainbow on a stormy day, the words to a hymn, or a passage of scripture.  Perhaps it will be a sudden calm that coats us like a protective shell. David learned that. His faith helped him to see God through his despair. He says later on in Psalm 10

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear” (vs. 17).

God is a gentleman. He waits to be asked before entering into our situations. He also knows our hearts, and when we just may need someone we know to pull into a fast food restaurant on a whim and see us, unaware that she is about to become His instrument of peace.

Questions: If you looked up from your troubles right now, who would you see? Have you asked your Lord to come into your situation to comfort you and give you strength?

By Julie Cosgrove
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How do you see someone who is being a thorn in your flesh?

I am struck by David’s words in 2 Samuel 16 when Shimei, a relative of Saul, curses him and pelts him with pebbles  David, God’s anointed king, could have ordered the man to be imprisoned or killed. But instead, he tells his soldiers to leave him alone because, “It may be the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.” (vs.12)  David also indicates that God may have told the man to curse him. Why? My guess would be as a test of humility. The interesting thing is this happened while David was in a low period in his life. His own son was trying to dethrone him and kill him.

Is there someone in your life who just rubs you the wrong way? Maybe it is a neighbor who always complains, a coworker who is a backstabber and gossip, an in-law you just can’t please, or even a member in your church who likes to find fault with every little thing. How will you react? When our tolerance levels are like a rain gauge in a drought, it seems people just get on our nerves more than when our lives are overflowing with happiness. Is it because it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or might it be because God is sending us a message to lean on Him a bit more instead of on our own understanding and strength?

Christ came to love the unlovable, which if I am totally honest about it, includes me. Who am I to judge others?

Perhaps the best thing we can do when someone needles us is to take it to God. Maybe He is allowing this person to be like a sticker burr between our toes for a reason.

  • Is He using them like a mirror to reflect a sin we have yet to deal with in our own lives? (Remove the log in your eye before you comment about the speck in theirs idea.)
  • Is He testing our humbleness, or our faith-strength?
  • Is He preparing us to deal with someone ten times worse who is just around the bend that He can see coming into our lives even though we cannot?

True–Christians, in turning the other cheek,  are not called to be like wimpy spaghetti noodles and people should be held accountable for their actions. But, Scripture tells us to give thanks to God in all circumstances — that goes for those we just cannot seem to get along with at the moment.

Maybe if we all had the attitude of King David, it would then open the pathways a bit wider to spreading Christ’s message of forgiveness and love.

By Julie Cosgrove
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More Than Helpful

Beware! We Have Many Observers

Harsh Judgments Can Kill One’s Spirit

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“Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.”  Psalm 51:15

During the recent pandemic, a dear friend of mine did something rather unusual. A wiz at sewing, she normally makes prayer quilts for hospice patients and the elderly as a ministry. But during the lock down, she switched gears. She made cloth masks, but with a distinct difference. Hers had clear plastic in the front, so deaf people could still read the lips of their family members and the teachers who wore them. She saw a need and knew she could fill it with her talents.

Jesus saw people’s needs and helped them. Then once their plight was eased, their hearts were open to the salvation and the love he offered.

We all can find a way to help others. That is what being a disciple is all about. It is following Jesus’ example and spreading the Gospel’s message that God loves us and wants to be with us. This is conveyed by our actions, and if necessary, words.

We may think the little things we do, such as smiling at a frenzied clerk, or waving to the widow sitting alone on her porch, has no effect. But God can take our acts of kindness, big and small, and use them to bring people to want to know him.

If you see someone in need, reach out in love. Find ways to ease their pain, hold their hand, or just listen without judgment. Let your attitudes and actions reflect Christ’s  working in your life. Be willing to be Jesus to them and let God do the rest.

Lord God, please show me how you can use me. Help me be the disciple you want me to be as I read your Word and follow your Son’s example, seeing to others’ needs and then, when prompted, sharing that I do this because of the way your amazing, forgiving love has influenced my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name, my Lord and example. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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We are Christ’s Ambassadors

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Conversation Starters to transition to Spiritual things


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“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.” Psalm 37:5

Trust me.” We say this to convince someone to believe that what we are stating is true. Scripture tells us over and over that trusting in the Lord is paramount if we want to live a godly, purposeful life. His ways are true, and we can rely on Him.
So for me Trust is:

Totally
Relying
Upon our
Savior’s
Truths

Office bonding exercises often involve blindfolding a person in order to determine if they can trust the other person to lead them somewhere safely. They have to rely on the seeing co-worker to guide them away from any dangerous obstacles. Those that do trust the co-worker, walk at a steady pace. But those that are unsure walk more cautiously and try to “see” by way of touch or sound; they doubt the person leading them has their best interests at heart or is capable.

In order to follow God’s will, I must place my trust in it. If doubt creeps in, my steps slow. My mind begins to question. “What-ifs” cloud my thoughts.
Doubt is:

Deviating
Off
Upheld
Biblical
Truths

Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Each time I am faced with a decision, I can either trust in that statement or begin to doubt its believability.

Do I believe His teachings speak truth, or do I see them as antiquated and irrelevant? Does He truly give me life eternal and abundant, or is His will a straight jacket of rules that are impossible to live by?

How about you? Will you trust Him to lead you, even if you can’t clearly see why or where?

Dearest Lord, help me to erase all doubts that creep into the corners of my thoughts. Keep me focused on Your footsteps and living according to Your Truths as You guide me through this life into life everlasting. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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God is Faithful

Wisdom and Knowledge of God

Attributes of God


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“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

Many of you have heard the adage that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. But right now, what’s going in isn’t false. It is very, very real. So I am offering another anacronym:

Facing Evil Alone Repeatedly

As we choose to hole up and isolate ourselves from other people in order to thwart the spread of COVID19, let us not retreat into our own fears. Yes, it might seem nice at first to have time to read, watch TV, or do hobbies. But retreating into yourself is fodder for trouble. There is an old saying that states the devil divides.

But God unites.

Even if we cannot attend church, we can still call each other, text each other, email each other, or Skype or Facetime with each other. Frequently check on your friends, families, and the elderly.  Today we have amazing technology that allows us to communicate. Let us use it to pray and fellowship together.

Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:25

Just because we cannot touch each other doesn’t mean we can’t stay in touch.

By Julie Cosgrove
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Random Acts of Kindness it is amazing how random acts of kindness affect those around you.

Whatever You Do...

Encouraging Word


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“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5

I want to have a loving heart, don’t you? One that beats for others and yet stays strong. One that is so filled to the rim with godly love that nothing can break it. A love that will cushion my heart and strengthen it, making it pliable and soft. Even if I have only an ounce of the love of God in my heart, I can reach many with the message of hope and find joy in all circumstances.

But the second half of the verse caused my eyebrow to cock. Perseverance? Wait. What?

Then I think back to the cross. The words, the agony, and yet above all, the love. Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:24).

The way to keep my heart loving is to forgive. I can keep it soft, yet strong as a rock, by seeing people as humans who are as flawed as I am and are in need of a Savior.

Today, more than ever, we need to show more mercy and grace towards each other. We are all human and we goof up. That is why there is a delete button on our keyboards and erasers on pencils.

Yet God loves us, and because of that, we can persevere and choose to love each other as well. We can set aside our emotions and see others as God sees them — broken but repairable. Just as we are. We all have a hole in our heart that love can fill.

Love grows out of perseverance. God knows he has been patient enough with each of us!

Father, thank you for never giving up on me and loving me anyway. Help me see others as you see them. Push aside my emotions and thoughts to view them as yours, worthy of love. May Christ be my example, strength, and confidence. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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To Whom Are You Listening?

I felt a dark presence crawl into bed with me…. Attacks of the Enemy? Are you prepared for this?

Broken but Made Beautiful


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“You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.” Jonah 2:3

It was an unpleasant experience, to say the least.  The room spun so fast I lost all sense of balance, like a bug on a ceiling fan at high speed. I couldn’t walk. I had no bearings. I had to clamp my eyes closed, deciding that the swirling darkness was not as nauseating as seeing the room whirl backward.

After about an hour, it was not calming down. I crawled to my cell phone and called 911. The EMTs got there quickly but I had to trust these strangers to lead me to the gurney, into the ambulance, and head off to the ER. Then wheel me out, push me backward down the hall, and into an exam room. I also had to trust the nurses, CT tech and ER doctors to figure out what was wrong and how to treat it.

For the next three hours, I spun in darkness until the med’s kicked in. All due to an inner ear infection. Tiny crystals in one of our smallest organs got out of whack and sent my world into turmoil without warning. How amazing!

Life can do something similar to us. We can lose our bearings. We grope for answers. Illness, economics, tragedies, and pandemics whirl us around to where we don’t know what is up or down.

But in the midst of all of this is one fact. God is there. My prayers were my anchor that day. I held on tight, trying to keep calm until His peace waved over me instead of panic. Jonah, swallowed into the belly of the whale, was saved from drowning.  I, strapped to a gurney, was saved from falling. We both learned a vital lesson anew. God has a purpose for everything. Even in the direst of circumstances.

I realized that I can depend on Him, and those He sends to assist me. I am not alone, even though I live alone. This too will pass. He continues to be my stronghold. I won’t spin out of control. Help is available.

I hope you have discovered the same thing during all the chaos of social distancing and isolation. I hope you have drawn closer to God and realized that the things that matter in life are not the material ones. We all need each other, and we need Him.

I pray you stay safe and hang onto the Rock. He is our sure foundation. That is a promise we can stand upon, no matter how wobbly we feel.

By Julie Cosgrove
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The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

Many of you have heard the adage that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. But right now, what’s going on isn’t false. It is very, very real. So I am offering another acronym: Facing Evil Alone Repeatedly

As we choose to hole up and isolate ourselves from other people in order to thwart the spread of COVID19, let us not retreat into our own fears. Yes, it might seem nice at first to have time to read, watch TV, or do hobbies. But retreating into yourself is fodder for trouble. There is an old saying that states the devil divides.

But God unites.

Even if we cannot attend church, we can still call each other, text each other, email each other, or Skype or Facetime with each other. Frequently check on your friends, families, and the elderly.  Today we have amazing technology that allows us to communicate. Let us use it to pray and fellowship together.

Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Just because we cannot touch each other doesn’t mean we can’t stay in touch.

By Julie Cosgrove
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I knew it was there. I recalled downloading it in the past. It was exactly the picture I needed. But, even though I was confident it was somewhere in my folders, I had to search for it.

Sometimes I think it is the same with the things that God provides. At times, what I need appears in an instant. Bam. Thank you, Lord.

In a few incidences, God’s provision has been there even before I knew to ask for it. But more often than not, I have to search for it. A blessing may be hidden in a circumstance I didn’t expect. Maybe I was looking for something else, then realized, oh, wow. OK. This works. A few times I have wondered, “What in the world God is thinking?”

But I have confidence that God has provided what I need in my life because He knows my needs. He has already given it to me and it is there somewhere. And so, in faith, I keep seeking, knocking, searching. Like the woman searching high and low for the lost coin in Luke 15, I won’t stop until I discover where it lies.

Why? Two reasons. First I’ve found it in the past. My experiences tell me God has provided. Secondly, Scripture tells me He will always do so because He loves me, and the Holy Spirit whispers that I can trust in that fact. So, even when things appear hopeless, the love that kept my Lord hanging on the cross reminds me that the situation is anything but hopeless.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” Matthew 7:7.

Whatever you are seeking has already been downloaded into your folder of life. It may appear in the form of a hymn stanza, a Scripture verse, a friend’s timely phone call, or a myriad of other ways.

Don’t give up. It’s there. Seek, and you will find.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“The fruit of the Spirit is love….”  Galatians 5:22

There are more aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, but I think Paul listed love as the first because without it, it’s hard to accomplish the rest, such as joy, peace, forbearance, gentleness, kindness, etc. The Greeks had three words for love. Eros was for physical, passionate love. Philia was for brotherly love, the “love thy neighbor as thyself” kind that respects human dignity.

But the third is agape. That is the love of God that the Holy Spirit instills in every believer. That is the fruit of the Spirit’s aspect Paul speaks about. I saw a social media post that said love isn’t shaped as a heart, but as a cross. How very true. Because only with agape can the other two forms of love line up. We need the vertical post to balance the two ends of the horizontal one.

Agape isn’t an emotion. It is an action. But it is not one we can successfully do on our own. And we need the Holy Spirit inside of us to make it work correctly the way a mechanic keeps all the parts of a car’s engine running. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that without agape love, he was nothing more than a loud noise. And above all else, love was the greatest gift of all (I Corinthians 13).

If you find it hard to love, you are not alone. That is why the Holy Spirit is there. Tap into his wisdom today in prayer.

Come Holy Spirit, and dwell in me today. Tune my heart, mind, and soul to the agape the Father has for me and all his creation. Let me exemplify the agape Jesus portrayed on earth and on the cross. I can’t do it alone. I need you in my life. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.” Matthew 8:23- 24 (ESV)

You have accepted Him as Your Savior — you have followed Christ into the boat. Now, in a stormy part of your life when the waves of despairing doubt are crashing in and you need Him the most, does He seem to be asleep?

I think that all Christians have felt that way at one time or another. I know I have. Even David in the Psalms was known to cry out and ask God why He was being so silent. But it is during those seemingly silent times that we can learn so much. What happened when the disciples in that boat called on Jesus?

Jesus was asleep as the storm raged. Why? Because he had total trust that God would protect Him. He was at peace. Jesus knew His life was protected and that God would not let Him down. He wanted His disciples to sleep in peace as well. He still does. If we have faith, we can rest in the assurance that no matter how our boat is tossed, God will be there with the life preserver.

Jesus was….” He didn’t leave them. He was right there with them in the boat the whole time. They followed Him into the boat. He didn’t vanish in a poof into Heaven and say, “OK, it’s all yours. Now, you handle it. See you later.” No matter what we go through, we can be confident our Lord is right there beside us. We can call on Him.

Jesus responded to his disciples’ pleas for help. He calmed the waves. Maybe like the disciples, you also scream for Jesus to wake up and do something, then marvel, just as they did, when He does it. There is an older Christian song that says sometimes He calms the storm, but other times He calms His child. The point is, He calms.

Dear Lord, thank you for never leaving my side in good times and in bad. Let me rest in Your peace knowing that whatever happens, You are with me. Amen.

Thought: The next storm, will you scream out to call on Jesus? Or will you honker down next to Him and rest peacefully in His arms?

By Julie Cosgrove
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“Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”  Psalm 51:1

I must have been about eight-years-old. We were shopping in the mall, which was a new experience for me. So many people. So much noise. Suddenly I realized I’d dropped my mother’s hand. From my viewpoint, I only saw knees and racks of clothes. I have never felt so lonely and frightened in my life. I think that was the first time I felt my heartbeat. Of course, it only lasted a few moments. Mom found me and took my hand again.

A few times in my adult life, I have felt as if I’m not holding on to God anymore. A sense of loss engulfs me. My heart pounds, my eyes tear, and I can’t seem to catch my breath. “Where are you, God?” “Why have you left me?” And just as my mom found me that day, he always lets me know he is still there.

Scripture tells us our Lord will never leave us, and that he promises to be with us until the end of the ages, according to Mathew 28:20. His Holy Spirit dwells inside of us when we ask Jesus to come into our lives, as Peter proclaimed in Acts 2:38. We don’t always feel our heart beating, but we know it is. In the same way, we can be confident that the Spirit is there.

Do you feel a bit lost right now? It’s okay. If Jesus is with you, you are never alone. Call out to the Holy Spirit to comfort you and guide you. He’ll grasp your hand. You can count on it.

Dear Lord, thank you that you are always with me no matter what happens, and especially when I do not feel you near me. Let me always feel comfortable calling out to the Holy Spirit to guide me and keep me safe. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”  John 15:3

Palestine was a dusty place. People walked along dirt roads barefoot or in sandals of woven leather or reeds. Feet became extremely dirty, so it was commonplace to wash them upon entering a house. The wealthy had servants to clean others’ sweaty, dirty feet.

Similarly today, manners dictate that we wipe our feet on the doormat before entering a house. We don’t want to track in the dust and mud out of respect for the house owner. We want to be clean and presentable as well.

When Jesus bowed to wash his disciples’ feet, Peter recoiled (John 13:1-9). But Jesus told him he needed to become clean. Peter then changed his tune. He basically told Jesus to wash all of him.

But Jesus offers more than a temporary cleansing of our body. His promise is to clean us on the inside. In Psalm 51:1-12, the writer asks for God to create a clean heart within him by cleansing him of his sins.

The old adage is true — cleanliness is next to godliness. To draw near to God, we need to be cleansed. Then he promises to allow us into his holy presence as his beloved children. Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, he offers cleansing to all who come to him for forgiveness. You might say that Jesus is the doormat. We wipe our sins on him and he cleans us so we can come before God’s heavenly throne.

So, faithful ones, wipe your feet.

Lord, thank you for coming to earth and dying on the cross for the sole purpose of cleansing us from sin so we could approach God’s throne. Remind me that because of you, I can live in his presence as God the Father promised. I look forward to the day I will no longer attract the dirt of this world and will worship before his throne forever, thanks to your sacrifice. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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God loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ to die for your sins. After His resurrection and ascension into heaven, He sent His Spirit to live in our lives and empower us to live the abundant life.  But we must personally ask Him into our lives to be our Lord and Savior.  If you are sincere about asking Him into your life, why don’t you pray the suggested prayer below:

(Prayer is talking to God. God knows your heart and is not as concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.)

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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“You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart…” Jeremiah 29:13

Have you seen evidence of God in your life recently?

God often revealed Himself through signs and wonders throughout the Bible, and I believe He still does so today. His holiness breaks through the mundane and transforms it to get our attention — like a heavenly tap on the shoulder. It may be to tell us He loves us. Perhaps he wants to correct our path, instruct us, or just let us know He’s still watching over us. I call it the present of His presence.

Perhaps most of us will never have a burning bush experience, but He can use a variety of ways to get our attention. He may touch you with the words of a hymn. Your toes may feel a bit crunched upon by a sermon. Perhaps someone says something that perks your ears and pierces your heart. God often speaks to me through observing the nature He created. Sometimes, you just need to refocus your faith-eyes and look not at this world, but to Him who created it.

Our Lord desperately wants you to present whatever is on your mind to Him so He can become more present in your life.  Like a gift tucked way under the Christmas tree, what He wishes to give you may at first seem out of view, but if you seek it, you will find, right there, with your name written on it…just for you so you know He cares.

Dearest Lord, Thank You that You are present in our lives. Open our faith-eyes to see You in our daily, knowing that You bring the most precious gift to our day, — Yourself. Amen

By Julie Cosgrove
used by permission

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thoughts by Julie Cosgrove Thoughts by Women

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Is there a difference?

I think “being smart” often relies on our own cognitive abilities.

He sure is smart.”

That was a smart solution you came up with.”

What a smart thing to do!

We tap into our own knowledge, be it through reading, studying or experiences.

When we are being wise, we rely on someone or something other than our own storehouse of knowledge to inform us, knowing our own limitations. That takes humility but also discernment.

The Apostle James wrote: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17

The more we embrace the wonder of God, the more we realize how inadequate we are without His guidance in our lives. Smartness relies on what you already have stored in your brain. Wisdom constantly seeks to learn, embrace and use knowledge from an outside source. For the believer, that source is our Lord.

It is good to be smart, whether from the street or from books. But how much better to gain wisdom from the One who created the universe and expressed complete love on the cross!

Lord of all wisdom, increase our desire to know You, to emulate You and to turn to You when we just do not understand. 

Thought: What situation or problem today is beyond your ability to figure out? Bring it before God in prayer. Ask for His wisdom.

By Julie Cosgrove
Used by Permission

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Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/Help us to depend on Your Word instead of on those who pop into our own minds, so we can discern Your good and perfect will. Amen.

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thoughts by Julie Cosgrove Thoughts by Women