Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Job Well Done

 In Genesis chapter one, after various tasks performed in  creation,  on four different occasions, it's written "and God  saw that it was  good." Then at creations completion we're  told, "And God  saw  every thing He had made, and, 
 behold, it was very good."

Today I did some rather long and strenuous yard work, the first since my heart attack and five by-passes seven months ago. After showering and resting a bit, I told my wife, kiddingly, "I think I'll go out and admire a job well done." At that moment it struck me for the first time what God's Sabbath Rest was all about.

Most certainly, as we are all aware, He did not rest from exhaustion. There are several good doctrinal views on the meaning of God's rest on the Seventh Day. But I now believe one practical aspect was that He might look back on "a job well done." We might say of God what they said of Jesus in His day, "He hath done all things well."

The old-timers used to say, If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well." Each of us needs to take a breather, so to speak, and look back on our work. Can we say it is our very best? If not, we are certainly not emulating our God, which He explicitly tell us to do (Eph. 5:1). No job is too small or menial. He made the sun, moon and stars; but He made the small twig of a tree also!

I may not be able to do big things in a big way, but I can do little things in a big way.

Friday, May 30, 2014

God's Plan and Duct Tape

A young unmarried girl constantly pestered her pastor concerning finding a husband. On one trying occasion he said in exasperation, "God's plan is one man for one woman and one woman for one man; that's His plan and you can't improve on it." To which she replied, "Preacher, I don't want to improve on it, I just want to get in on it!"

I used to have a book entitled, God's Plan For the Ages. This is true, but just as true is the fact He has a plan for each individual Christian life. And everyone of us who name the name of Christ ought to want to "get in on it!" Think of it, the great Architect of the universe fit such as we into His vast eternal plan. What an honor, what a privilege, and yes, what a responsibility.

But let us not make the mistake of thinking He places us into His great scheme of things according to our natural talents and gifts. This is true many times, but not always. Like duct tape, the experts have found it is good for a thousand practical things, but not for sealing heating ducts, the very task it was designed for. Often, some of us preform much better at things we were not intended for than tasks in which we should logically excel.

Whatever God's plan for our lives, we can be assured, He has or will qualify us for where to fit in.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Abraham the Adventure

“He went out, not knowing whither he went.” From start to finish, Abraham’s spiritual life was one of adventure. Some of the dictionary’s definitions of the word are: “exciting, unusual experience; uncertain and risky; taking a chance; bold, daring; new undertaking; soldier of fortune; courageous.” What has happened to the spiritual adventurers like those found in Hebrews eleven?

For God’s children, life should be an adventure. Some live and die and never get out of the boat. I’d rather try and fail than to have never tried at all. We like to read Pilgrim’s Progress, but shun being a pilgrim. We love to hear of the early pioneers and their experiences, but we shutter to think of being a pioneer, of venturing into untrodden and untried areas.

It says of the mariners in Acts 27, “[W]hen they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves to the sea.” Some of us, no doubt, need to take up our anchors of false security and commit ourselves to God, of whom it is said that He is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”

To the spiritual adventurer, no mountain is too high, no valley too low, no enemy too strong, and no problem too difficult.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You Can Depend On Him!

"Now Jesus was not yet come..." Searching eight commentaries, I found not one commented on our text. Personally, I cannot understand this; I feel this little nugget is full of worth. 

The background of our story is about Lazarus' sickness and death. His sisters, Mary and Martha, sent a message to Jesus telling Him of His beloved friend's condition. After hearing of it, our Lord remained two more days where He was. Then He told his disciples Lazarus had died and that He was glad. For, said He, it was for the glory of God, and that they might believe. Jesus waited a full four days, Lazarus being in the tomb, before appearing on the scene.

You can always depend on Jesus to show up whenever and wherever He is needed, but according to His timetable. Our watches are always five minutes fast. Special events in our lives are in accord with His calendar, not ours! It's His prerogative in choosing the time and date. He works from the impossible aspect of life. When things become hopeless and helpless, look around you, He will be there, possibly in the shadows, but there, nonetheless.   

                              At the end of self is God!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Sovereignty of God

“Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he…” The word “sovereignty” has come to be associated with a man’s teachings in the 1500’s. In some circles of Christianity, the word causes uneasiness when articulated. But this word defines a great Bible doctrine that runs throughout the Scriptures.

Some of its meanings are: “supreme rank, power, or authority; preeminent; independent and above all others; undisputed prerogative.” In other words, God has unqualified, unrestrained freedom to do as He pleases. No creature has that ability or right. Those who are overly concerned with the free will of man do not seem to be bothered by the fact that they are forfeiting God’s.

The sovereignty of God is a great ground of confidence for the people of God, especially to those who suffer. When once we realize Deity dispenses all of life’s events, then will we be heirs to indescribable peace within. There is nothing that can enter the protective hedge of God except by the permission of the Divine Doorkeeper. May each of us echo David’s words when he said, “[H]ere am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.”

It says of Jesus, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him”; and that pleased Jesus!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Suddenness of God

“For the thing was done suddenly.” Not gradually, but suddenly. Our Omnipotent God is limitless in His abilities to perform promises. He need not drag on, or delay His intentions. The Lord God can suddenly burst in and break up any and all unpleasant circumstances in our lives, at any given moment. God doesn't have to start from the bottom up. He starts at the top. You know, like the Veil. 

From our perspective we may have waited fifty days, but from His perch (speaking reverently), it is always, “And suddenly there came…from heaven.” God tells us in Isaiah, "I the Lord will hasten it in his time." When God's time comes, I have found in my own life, things begin to happen so fast, as they say, "It will make your head swim." Like Israel on the first Passover night, we need to be ready to move out. This truth applies to His Second Coming also. 

Oh, child of God, you may have waited long, but when His time comes for your, or their, deliverance, it will also be done suddenly from heaven. "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.Hallelujah for the suddenness of God! It could be today. Remember, He can cause it to stop as quickly as it seemed to you to have started! Ask Noah!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Reason and Feeling Won't Work

[When] "...all hope...was then taken away..." [it was then Paul said] "be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me... Whenever experienced seafaring mariners say, as they undoubtedly did to Luke, that any hope of getting out of that particular storm was useless, one is prone to believe the experts. But God has a way of defying the professionals.

The great danger in a saint's life, when the sun ceases to shine and there is a prolonged darkness, is to use human reasoning and go by one's natural feelings. But during such times, it is of utmost importance we remember, it is faith and faith alone that changes our dire situation from gloom to glory. If in the midst of trials we are to have joy and peace we must exercise faith. The scripture tells us, "...all joy and peace [comes] in believing."

A childlike faith, God will never betray. Such guileless trust treats the future as the present and the invisible as the seen. As Oswald Sanders writes, "It [faith] is at home in the realm of the impossible as well as the realm of the possible, for it relies on a God who knows no limitations." The God who spoke to Paul in the midst of this tumult still speaks to us today. God, through Isaiah, promises, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee." And Ezekiel adds his testimony, "[God] brought me through the waters." HE goes in and comes out of every storm, with us.

"A step of faith always involves the acceptance of a calculated risk." (Oswald Sanders)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Our God Doesn't Fit.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." There is absolutely no possibility of fitting our God into today's society. He is at odds with anything and everything natural man is for. 

For example, He would be considered a racist, He chose the Jews to be His, over all other peoples. Israel was the head, the rest the tail; He definitely would be tagged anti-feminist. According to His teaching, every Christian woman is to be subject to her husband and obey him; the United Nations would kick Him out, for He said, "Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance"; He'd be known as a war-mongeral. For, said He, "I am a man of war"; they would try and arrest Him for hate speech. He plainly said, "Esau have I hated." He was, by contemporary standards, homo-phobic. For he commanded all the sodomites to be put out of the land; He would be called a narrow-minded, religious bigot, for He said there was only one way to Him, His Son; and the environmentalist would detest Him, for He said. "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
 No amount of legislative laws will change any of the above, or any other truths found in His Holy Word! And educating our youth with, "science falsely called," will change nothing. Only a radical Spiritual change by the Spirit of God within the human heart will convert these worldly views into a Scriptural perspective. Paul tells us explicitly in First Corinthians, the only way to know the mind of God is to have the Spirit of God within us. Until this happens, God's ways and thoughts remain foolishness to the natural man. The Apostle tells us, He (the natural man) cannot know them." 

Just as our God does not fit into this world system, neither should we, His children. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Heaven or a Tent

"Look now toward heaven...” This is always God’s way. He takes us from the small surroundings of our tent, and shows us the sky. He brings us out of our prisons, so to speak, and, as David said, sets our feet in a large place.

God’s desire for each of us is that we might see the height and breadth of things. Most of us are too nearsighted. As Peter tells us in his second Epistle, there are those who cannot see afar off.

God wants us to trade our pup tents for the heavens. Within our self-imposed seclusion, we are too little to do anything big. Our Spiritual lives are lived within the confines of our little tent. We no longer see men and women of God with great aspirations and expectations. No, we prefer to live within the four walls of our man-made canvass tent, with our little god.

Our walk with God needs to be under the unrestricted vastness of Heaven—not in a six-by-six cell. If we are to be companions of God, our scope needs to be as great as the heavens themselves. “Look now toward heaven.”

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Let It Alone

How I wish I had learned early in my Christian life and ministry to let some things alone, especially those that are commanded in the Scripture. Like the old adage, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” But we will be to awaken them. And when this occurs, it’s usually to our own detriment. When we begin to meddle in these forbidden areas, there is always a small voice in one’s ear that says, in a gentle but firm way, “Let it alone.”

There are three particular times I need to heed this warning. First, I’m told to “Let her alone.” Why be critical of those who have “chosen that good part.” A quiet devotion that pours one’s life out on Him will generally bring the wrath of the “sisters” and preacher brethren. Our age is characterized by hectic, endless, frustrating service, that results in very little being accomplished for the glory of God. Today, we are told to give our best to the poor, not Him, and to spend all our time in the hot kitchen preparing and performing for Him in service. Enjoying Him comes last in the order of this man-made menu.

“Let him alone,” says our Lord. So he doesn't do things exactly like you believe they should be done. He’s still preaching Christ, and no man doing this can speak lightly of Him. How many of us are like those described by the translators of the King James Bible, in their dedicatory, “...maligned by self conceited brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves and hammered on their anvil.”

“Let them alone.” You will never convince the self-righteous extremists of the errors of their ways. A Pharisee remains a Pharisee. He’s not interested in my heart, or that of anyone else’s; he’s not even concerned with his own. He is only interested in how he looks to the brethren in his own group, and being accepted of them. Our Lord took a lot of His precious time with people from all walks of life, but very little with the Pharisees, and it was usually confrontational. It’s not that these legalists won’t get it; they can’t get it. In the case with most of them, the die has been cast; the cement has been set. These people spend all their time trying to bind people; Jesus spent His in loosening them.

“Abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to thine own hurt..." (2 Chronicles 25:19)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Word To Those Who Minister the Word

On any given Lord's Day untold numbers of pastors, evangelists, missionaries, Sunday School teachers, etc. will be ministering the Word of God to the saints of God. I think it wise therefore, from time to time, for each to take a moment or two to ponder the fact of the great responsibility laid upon those ministering the scriptures. As well as the blessed privilege and honor bestowed upon each who are called to handle and give out the Bread of God.

When the angel Gabriel announced John the Baptist's birth to

Zacharias, his father was told one of the things that would characterize this great man of God was that he would, "...make ready a people prepared for the Lord." He would not, as many today, use the people of God to build his ministry, but rather, he would use his ministry to build the people of God. As a craftsman preparing a work for his kings enjoyment, John was making ready and preparing a people for his King's pleasure!

It is easy to spot the true teachers of the Word of God; their one resonating cry is, "BEHOLD THE LAMB."

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Christian's Crowbar

"He shall shut, and none shall open." Legion is the number who praises God for open doors, but few there are who are thankful for closed ones. Yet it is the same God that does both. Years ago, the Lord taught me, through my wife, to be just as excited for a closed door as a wide open one.

I'm sure, if not in this life, then in the next, the Lord will show each of us the tragedy that lay behind the door that we were so desirous and insistent upon entering. Closed doors should not bring sadness, but, rather, gladness, into our lives.

Each of God's children has a tool chest, so to speak, but there should be no place in it for a "Christian crowbar." Why would anyone want to force an entrance into the unknown, when God is on this side of the door with us? Noah found this out, to his own delight, after God had shut the door.

Never enter a room unless it's God who opens the door for you.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Do You Have On Hand?

"He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes." (Mk.6:38)
Years ago, on a game show, one of the questions for the contestants was, "What is the exact amount of money you have on your person at this moment?" This is what Jesus asked His disciples, in essence, "What do you have on hand, at this moment of time?"

It is difficult to believe our Lord didn't already know the answer. We're told He knew Nathaniel before he came to him, as well as what was in the heart of man, and many like things. So why the, "go and see?" All I can surmise is that He wanted to teach them they were to be aware of their inventory at all times. That is, to always know what is on hand. Evidently they learned the lesson, for a little later, in chapter eight verse five, we read "And He asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, seven." They didn't have to "go and see" this time.

Women are prone to know what's in the cupboard more than we men. "And Elisha said unto her...tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil." But this in no way excuses us men. The pastor is to "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks." And the husband is to dwell with his wife according to knowledge. To supply others' needs, one must first know what he or she has to contribute. Even if it is a humbling "few" and "small." 

Jesus won't multiply our little to help others until we know and admit what we have on hand. Therefore, let us "go and see."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Have the Birds Stopped Singing?

"For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come." The old Nazarene preacher, Uncle Bud Robinson, now with the Lord, used to tell a sweet story. It seems he had some difficulty with a ticket agent pertaining to the train he was to travel on; he had spoken harshly to him. He said as he turned to go from the ticket counter he noticed the birds had stopped singing in his heart. He returned and apologized for his rude behavior. He said, as he walked away, the birds started singing again.

I am sure most Christians who read this article, like myself, can relate to times when the "birds cease to sing" in our hearts also. Maybe not the same experience as Uncle Buddy's, but times when the freshness of Spring departed from us and the cold of winter set in. Maybe it was when our love began to "wax cold," for one reason or another. Or possibly, when a seasonal trial ran longer than we thought we could bear it. Leaving us cold and indifferent. Whatever the reason, if we are willing to make things right, whether with God or man, or both, then shall come to pass the saying, "the time of the singing of birds is come." 

One of my greatest enjoyments through the years has been to awake on a early Spring morning, the bedroom window being opened a little, and to hear the returning birds, after a long cold winter, singing again. O, but thousands of times much sweeter it is to hear the song of the Spirit making melody in my heart once again! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Great Jail Break

Some years ago, I was holding a meeting in a southern city. A young pastor, whose father is a preacher, and an acquaintance of mine, called and wanted to have lunch with me. The host pastor and I met him in a local restaurant, and at the conclusion of our meal, he interrogated me in depth on some positions I had changed my view on. After I had explained the reasons, the whys and the Scriptural basis for doing so, I was shocked to hear his reply.

After a brief pause (for he is a thinker), he made this statement, “You know, I believe just about like you do on all these points, but I’m waiting till my father passes on before I say anything about it.”

You may say, “How pathetic,” but there are scores of pastors and people who hold views that are contrary to the status quo, and who are doing the same thing in principle. The reason for this is that the “cultic” group they are associated with would brand them as apostates or heretics if they were even to hint that they believed any other view than that to which the group holds.

Therefore, in such situations, one has a choice to make: Stay in and let your mind lie dormant, while others do your thinking; or break out of jail and enjoy the intellectual freedom to pursue boundless Biblical and intellectual truths. I chose the latter of these and have never been sorry I did.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Gospel Affects

“...they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel”. (Gal.2:14)  Cp. “...let your conversation (manner of life) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27). In the first text, Paul rebuked Peter for not living up to the claims of the gospel. In the second scripture, Paul tells the Philippian believers their lives should compliment the gospel.

Many today think by believing the gospel that everything ends there. But that is only getting your foot in the door, so to speak. Both Paul and Peter tell us the gospel, once believed, is to be obeyed. Belief in the gospel gets one into God’s family; but obeying the gospel proves your belief is valid, and that you're actually a legitimate member of it.

The gospel of Christ is not only effective in those who believe, (that is,it works in the salvation of their soul), but affects, (produces change) one’s lifestyle, as well. Paul’s term is, “Walking in newness of life.” A gospel that doesn’t change a person from the inside out is “another gospel,” and carries with it the “curse of God” (Gal. 1:8-9).”

Jesus Christ didn’t leave heaven and come to this earth to suffer, bleed, and die, to save people “in” their sin, but “from” their sin! (Matt.1:21)   

Friday, May 9, 2014

Two Dogs But One Master

Like most of my readers, it was not long into my Christian life before I heard the old proverbial story of the black dog and the white dog, illustrating the conflict of Romans seven in the Believers life. The problem was, there was little explanation of it. I don't know about you, but I was left to believe they represented the "old man" and the "new  man," making me, I thought, a dual personality.

But to a thinking individual this leaves no one responsible for sin. For the "new man" cannot sin," and the "old man" can do nothing but sin. Therefore, one is left with no one to blame for an unrighteous life, or commended for a righteous one. The answer lies in the fact that there are not two different people within a saint. There is but one responsible personality: ME, with two natures inside.

That being the old sinful Adamic nature all are born with, and the new Divine nature, received at the second birth. Whichever nature I yield to decides whether I, that is, the real me, will display the thoughts and actions of the "old man," the Adamic nature, or those of the "new man"; the one "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

Only one man chooses if he is to be the "old man" or the "new man." You cannot be both at the same time.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Limitations and Frustrations

“He fell asleep…Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased and there was a calm.” Jesus was not only every bit God, but wholly man in all respects, excepting sin. When Jesus was weary at the well, His humanity shown through; but when giving the woman living water, that was His Deity shining through. Paul tells us this is dual nature, a great mystery.

Our Lord was never frustrated by His limitations; He took everything in life in stride. Any limitations His humanity brought upon Him, He gave to a limitless God. It did not cause Him any frustration. For example, not knowing the time of His second coming while He was here upon earth. He excelled in those areas He was to excel in, and in any other, He simply left it to an all-wise God.

I find many of the Lord’s people are attempting to be over-achievers. You can always spot them by the one identifying characteristic; they're invariably over-wrought. These people seem to never be content with their own gifts and calling. They apparently have not learned, satisfaction is a great deterrent to frustration. God puts boundaries and limitations on every life, as He says in Job, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further.” You can come short of God’s will, but you can also to go past it!

It’s a wise person that’s content with who they are, where they are, and what they're doing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nothing But Ashes

It takes a lot to start over, especially when it is necessitated by dreams that were accomplished but have now gone up in smoke. It’s difficult to begin building again using only ashes as building blocks.

It is at this point that many cease to live, and only to exist. I can view tragedies in my life as sad endings, or look at them as new beginnings. In one of his books, Louis L'Amour said, “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

May our Lord grant us grace, courage, fortitude and faith; and when all is gone, and nothing is left but an ash heap, to put up a sign on the charred remains, for all to read: BUSINESS TOMORROW AS USUAL.

Monday, May 5, 2014

*Stemming the Tide

 I find, prophetically, I fit somewhere in the middle of two extremes, so to speak. There is what I like to call the “Clean-up” crowd, and then there’s the “Caught-up” bunch. The former spend their time thinking about, “the nasty now and now”; and the latter, “the sweet by-and-by. It seems neither side has yet learned you can walk and still chew gum.

Man is not going to bring in an age where the lion and lamb lie down together. I heard of one farmer who bought the two animals and attempted it. Asked if it worked, his reply was, “Yelp, with the lion. But we have to supply a new lamb daily.” And for those who are miserable and just want to “get out of here,” morbidity (doom and gloom) is not God’s plan for us.

On the one hand Jesus tells us, “Occupy till I come.” But on the other hand, we’re told to, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” While we live here, we’re to love heaven. In this on-going battle, which started in Genesis chapter three we are to, as a fighting soldier would put it, “Hold the line.” And while doing this, look for our Captain from heaven, to break through the clouds with re-enforcements!

There will be no “Peace on earth”, until the “Prince of Peace” returns!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

*Accept or Expect

I read a booklet some years ago by a popular dispensationalist. He said the only prayer promise today for the Church age is Philippians 4:7. We are simply to let our requests be known to God and to expect nothing else other than the peace of heart and mind prayer brings. He said the prayers concerning asking and receiving had to do with the Jews of old, and not with this present Gentile age.

I say, “What rubbish!” What an insult to God Almighty. My answer to those who would try to pigeon-hole God is that of the Apostle Paul, who answers them with this question: “Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also...” Making your requests known to God, and then leaving it there with no expectation, may make you look good and spiritual, but it does nothing for God. Who wants an impotent God? From Genesis to Revelation, in every age, to every people, God is distinctly a God Who hears and answers prayer.

"God never denied that soul anything that went as far as Heaven to ask for it." (Puritan saying)

Friday, May 2, 2014


If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches unrestrained, unbridled, uninhibited, unrestricted praise for our God. Our daily prayer is to be, “In earth as it is in heaven.” There, it is around the clock “Praise God,” “Amen,” “Alleluia,” and “Glory to our God.”

We are to pull out all the stops, so to speak, when praising the Lamb that sitteth upon the Throne. Even when you do not feel like praising, “Praise God Anyhow.” Paul, at the midnight hour, in great distress, “Offer[ed] the ‘sacrifice’ of praise to God…” It was then the place was shaken and the closed doors opened.

David danced and praised the Lord before all the people. You can’t intimidate a man or woman who is so hopelessly and helplessly in love with their God! Darling David was what Paul referred to as a, “Fool for Christ.”  

In a parade, the clown wore a sign that read on the front, “Everybody is somebody's fool.” And on the back, “Whose fool are you?” Well?

*Rationalization vs. Revelation

Two good definitions given for the word rationalize, and its derivatives are; the practice of accepting reason as the only authority in determining one’s opinions or course of actions; to devise plausible explanations for (one’s acts, beliefs, etc.), usually in self-deception. Rationalization then is man reasoning apart from God’s revelation. No matter how common sense something may seem, without putting God in the equation we deceive ourselves. We are told today (it seems in every area of life) from psychology to theology, and all in between, that we are to be rational beings. But to be rational without revelation (the Scriptures) is not reasonable.

I like what Oswald Chambers has to say on this subject. The following are some of his quotes. “The boldness of rationalism is not in what it does, but in the way it criticizes…when it comes to action the rationalist is amazingly timid…Nothing bold has ever been done in the name of rationalism…no rationalist has ever produced the heroism, the adventure, or the nobility that the people and things he criticized have produced…We hear it said that Jesus Christ taught nothing contrary to common sense: everything Jesus Christ taught was contrary to common sense.”

Let each of us then follow the wise man's advice when he tells us to, “…lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”