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James 1:5

Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball player is quoted as having said, “I’ve lost more than 300 games. There were twenty-six games when I was given the ball in the last seconds to make the basket that would have won the game. But it didn’t happen – I missed the shot and we lost. I have failed over and over. And that’s why I succeed.”

Strange quote from someone who elevated basketball to a higher level through his skills. We rarely think of such an achiever in any sport as someone who turned failure into success. High-achievers seem to come fully developed and highly skilled.

However, experience is always part of failure. And if we chose, we can use the experience to gain insight and from insight we can gain knowledge and from the knowledge we can gain wisdom and learn to turn failure into success.

The Christian has a wonderful resource to help in this process: the Holy Spirit. He dwells within us and is present, ready and willing to give us the wisdom we need to become successful in life.

There is one condition, however. If we want wisdom, we must go to God in humility and ask for it and then use it for His glory. God will give us whatever we need if we willingly use His gifts for His glory and not our own self-interests or self-advancement.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to know that when we fail we need to “fall forward” into Your waiting arms, knowing that Your desire is to work with us to help us succeed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Sewing was very important to Mrs. Lofting. Whenever she had a moment to spare, she would go to her sewing room and take out her needle and thread and the sewing project she was working on.

But she had a problem. Whenever she was working with a piece of thick, heavy material, the needle she was pushing with her thumb would often pierce it.

One day her sympathetic husband seeing her happiness interrupted with pain became concerned. He went to his shop, found a piece of soft metal and turned it into a bell-shaped covering for her thumb. Jokingly he called it a “thumb-bell.” Soon, other seamstresses became aware of the “thumb-bell” and wanted one for their sewing. Now they are called “thimbles” and are found in nearly every home.

What we do when faced with a problem often is a result of our dependence upon God. James wrote, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and He will give it to you.” This “wisdom” he is talking about not only means knowledge, but the ability to make wise decisions, gain insight and get us through difficult times. This promise of God is ours to accept and act upon whenever life seems to be beyond us.

Prayer: How gracious of You, Father, to provide Your wisdom to guide us, guard us and grant us answers in all that we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
It was that quiet time of the day just before the sun set. Sitting on his front porch, H.C. Booth was fascinated as columns of dust swirled past him and then suddenly disappeared from sight.

As he watched, he wondered and asked himself a question: “What if it was possible to reverse the wind and instead of it blowing the dust, pull it back?” After much thought and many experiments, he invented the vacuum cleaner in 1901.

Each day God brings many events into our lives. Often they seem routine and repetitive, troubling or trying, frustrating or frivolous. We are disturbed by them, become exasperated with them and wish they would go away. Our peace evaporates and our rage rises. But wait!

James has some good advice for us. He says, “If you need wisdom - if you want to know what God wants you to do - ask Him and he will gladly tell you.” This wisdom he speaks of is “practical discernment” - the ability to make wise decisions during difficult times. We have His promise that at all times and in every situation, if we only ask, He’ll give us insight and guide our choices.

Prayer: Lord, open our eyes to see that things do not need to remain as they are if we look to You for insight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
A psychiatrist was deeply troubled by the sadness of one of his dear friends. Curiously he asked, "What's troubling you?"

Came the response, "I've been reviewing the ‘If only's’ of my life. I've made so many mistakes."

Wanting to help he said, "Let's go to my office. I have some recordings I want you to hear."

Sitting quietly he played a tape containing the stories of three very depressed patients. After a moment he asked, "Did you notice that each one kept repeating, 'if only'?” The “if only's” bring about a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, depression and discouragement. All of us must learn to say, “Next time I'll do things differently. I'll seek God's will and ask for guidance before I make a decision."

James said, "If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask Him and He will gladly tell you!" Wisdom here means "practical discernment" that will lead the Christian to right living and eliminate the "if only's" of life.

Prayer: Father, may we look to You for guidance before we make decisions and trust Your directions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Bill Bowerman was the track coach for the University of Oregon. Every time he watched his athletes run, he would ask himself one question, "What can I do to help him run faster?"

Often he would think of their shoes and wondered if a different design would enable them to increase their speed. One morning while thinking about this concern, his wife served him a waffle for breakfast. As he looked at the waffle, he thought of a slab of rubber with the imprint of a waffle pressed deep inside of it.

From that concern came the beginning of the now famous waffle-pattern running sole that became the birth of the Nike shoe line.

"If any of you is deficient in wisdom" is the way one translator interprets James 1:5. James was a Christian teacher with a Jewish background and saw wisdom as something that was entirely practical, something that was concerned with the business of living.

We must always remember that our God is a giving God and gives us the wisdom we need to make right choices, solve difficult problems and find directions for right living. However, as willing as God is to give, the responsibility for asking lies with the Christian. When we ask for anything in faith believing, God will grant the request as long as it is in His and our best interest.

Prayer: We pray, Father, that we will rely on You for the wisdom we need to meet and solve our problems. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
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