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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of May 14, 2018

Are you so busy working for God that you never spend any time with God?

It is easy to justify doing good works for God as a substitute for spending real, intimate, quality, personal time with God. For example, a youth pastor may spend many hours planning events for kids—preparing the music, setting up the games, arranging the transportation, and even preparing a brief message. However, none of that is a substitute for spending personal time with God—reading the Bible, praying, seeking God's guidance, worshiping, and just sitting in His presence.

Unfortunately, many people are often so caught up in other activities that we use them as an excuse for not spending time with God. Instead, they need to make a firm decision to put God first in our lives. For example, King David, who certainly had many opportunities to fill his time with other activities, knew that spending time with God is an absolute necessity—a vital need. In Psalm 27:4, he said that God was the most important thing in his life: One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

Indeed, Jesus declared that if we seek God, he will take care of the rest of the things in our lives: "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). In your life, put God first, and he will take care of "all these things." Follow David's example: make God the "one thing" you need. That way, you won't be so busy working for God that you never spend any time with God.

If you puff yourself up you'll get the wind knocked right out of you.

Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." This principle can be clearly seen in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, by examining Daniel chapter 4.

King Nebuchadnezzar started out praising God and giving Him the credit: "It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation" (Daniel 4:2-3). Here, Nebuchadnezzar is humble.

However, over the course of a year, something happened that caused the king to begin to take credit for his circumstances: "As the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, 'Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?' " (Daniel 4:29-30, italics added). Nebuchadnezzar is no longer giving God credit. Instead, he is full of pride and is puffing himself up.

However, as is always the case, "Pride goes before destruction." So, God punished Nebuchadnezzar by sending him out to live like a wild animal for seven years (See Daniel 4:31-33).

Then, Daniel 4:34 records the king's response: "At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored." Interestingly, the king said that his pride caused him to lose his sanity and that now, as a result of being humbled by God, his sanity was restored. In order to humble him, God humiliated him. Indeed, a humiliating experience will almost always humble someone.

The chapter concludes with Nebuchadnezzar's reflection: "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble" (Daniel 4:37).

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