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  • Pastor Charlie Rivens

The Word of Wisdom - 1 Corinthians 12:8; Acts 15:11-21


All too often when we find ourselves in a tight spot—a touchy conversation, for example—we struggle to come up with the right words. Our brain goes into a spin cycle, and we either mumble something incoherent or we spout off something that only makes matters worse.

At one point in the early days, Christians were locked into a mighty disagreement over whether you had to keep following Jewish law in order to please God, or not. Believers with a Jewish background said, “Absolutely!” Gentile believers said, “Give me one good reason why.” The church could well have split over this.

A major council was called. Each side made their strongest case. But then … a man named James (half-brother of Jesus) came forward with a calming, God-honoring word of wisdom that both sides could accept. The way was opened for the gospel to go on flourishing among both Jews and Gentiles. Aren’t we thankful for that, all these centuries later?

Sterling Brackett was a 19-year-old college student in our time when, while driving toward his parents’ home for the weekend, he sensed the Holy Spirit saying, “Get off at the next exit.” His first reaction was skeptical. That was just “me” thinking up something, right?

But the impression would not go away. After some mental arguing with the Lord, he took the off-ramp … and another impression came: “Take a right.” He obeyed, following further instructions, until he came to the end of a residential street. There he sensed the Spirit saying he should go up to a mobile home, knock on the door, and give the person all the cash in his pocket (less than two dollars).

He felt foolish. But the resident who answered the door didn’t laugh at him. Instead, he started to choke up. Inviting Sterling inside, he said, “The truth is, my wife is in bed already, and I’ve just put our baby girl to bed without a bottle. I’ve been sitting here feeling like an absolute failure for having nothing to provide. Now I can run down to the store and buy some milk, so I can wake her up and feed her!”

The Holy Spirit had wisely known what he was up to all along. The man said, “I realize now how important my family is to God.” Years later, news came through that the couple in the trailer had gone on to enter the ministry. Holy Bible App.

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