Christian Devotionals

Learn From Experience (1)
"'...[His...experience] making Him perfectly [equipped]...'" Hebrews 5:9 AMP

Have you ever looked for a job, only to discover that all the positions you were interested in required previous experience? It's frustrating; how can you get the experience without having the job? When the new bank president asked the old one the secret of success he said, 'Making good decisions.' 'How do I do that?' he asked. The old one replied, 'Experience!' Puzzled, the new one asked, 'How do I get experience?' The old one replied, 'By making bad decisions.' Experience is a tough teacher; it gives you the test first and the lesson later. God looks for experienced help! When you work for Him, He uses everything you've been through, no matter how painful. He sees it all as 'tuition paid'. Jesus '...learned...obedience through what He suffered...[His...experience] making Him perfectly [equipped]...' (Hebrews 5:8-9 AMP) Perspective changes everything, especially when you learn to see your life's experiences through fresh eyes. For example, suffering in a particular area-such as guilt, fear, anger, addiction or insecurity-qualifies you to understand and help others. Experience isn't what happens to you, as much as what you do with what happens to you. So with that in mind, ask yourself, 'Could my pain become someone else's gain? Could a ministry to others come out of this mess?' When you experience times of testing, you've two choices: give up, or grow up. Peter trembled at the question, '..."You are not also one of His disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not!"' (John 18:25 NKJV) But when he repented and reconnected with Christ after the resurrection, he was filled with God's Spirit and ended up leading the church. Experience-there's no substitute!

Learn From Experience (2)
"'...the Lord gives wisdom...' " Proverbs 2:6 NKJV

Contrary to what you may have heard, experience is not the best teacher-evaluated experience is the best teacher! Everybody has some kind of experience; it's what you do with your experience that matters. We all begin our lives as empty notebooks. Every day we've an opportunity to record new experiences. With each page we gain more understanding. Ideally, as we progress our notebook becomes filled with observations. But not all of us make the best use of our notebooks. Some of us leave the notebook closed; we rarely jot down anything at all. Others fill their pages but never take time to read them, reflect on them and gain greater wisdom. But a few of us not only make a record of what we experience, we linger over it and reflect on it. Reflection turns into insight, so that we not only live the experience, but learn from it. We all know people with lots of knowledge, but little understanding. They have the means, but they don't know the meaning of anything. What's the problem? Their life experience is void of reflection and evaluation. When 25 years go by they don't gain 25 years experience, they gain one year of experience 25 times! To win in life you must turn your experience into wisdom. So, slow down. Wisdom is gleaned over time, not overnight. Then, drill down. The treasure is there, but you have to dig for it. Finally, get down. Yes, get down on your knees and talk to God, because '...the Lord gives wisdom...' (Proverbs 2:6 NKJV)

Learn From Experience (3)
"'...get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you...'" Proverbs 4:7-8 NKJV

When it comes to experience: we all experience more than we understand. Baseball player Earl Wilson said, 'Experience enables you to recognize the mistake when you make it again.' Let's face it-too much happens to us in life for us to be able to understand all of it. No matter how smart we are, our understanding will never catch up with our experience. So we must make the most of what we can understand. At the end of each day we should ask, 'What have I learned today?' Our attitude towards unplanned and unpleasant experiences determines our growth. Steve Penny, head of S4 Leadership Network in Australia, observed, 'Life is full of unforeseen detours. Consequences happen which seem to completely cut across our plans. Learn to turn your detours into delights. Treat them as special excursions and learning tours. Don't fight them or you will never learn their purpose. Enjoy the moments, and pretty soon you will be back on track again, probably wiser and stronger because of your little detour.' Lack of experience is costly. Our greatest ignorance is not of what we have yet to learn, but of how little we really know. Harry Golden remarked, 'The arrogance of the young is a direct result of not having known enough consequences. The turkey that every day greedily approaches the farmer who tosses him grain is not wrong. It's just that no one has ever told him about Thanksgiving.' You can't avoid making mistakes but you can limit them, grow through them, and not keep making the same ones.

Learn From Experience (4)
"'Happy is the man who... gains understanding.'" Proverbs 3:13 NKJV

The truth is that experience is costly. You cannot gain experience without paying a price. You just have to hope that the price is not greater than the value of the experience you gain. And sometimes you cannot judge what the price will be until after you have gained the experience. Further, not learning from experience is more costly. It's tragic to pay the price for experience and not learn the lesson. But that's often what happens. When an experience is negative we want to run away from it and say, 'I'll never do that again.' No, don't run away from your experiences; instead, evaluate and learn from them. Remember, evaluated experience lifts you above the crowd. People who make it a practice to reflect on their experiences and learn from them are rare. But when you meet one, you know it. There's a story of a fox, a wolf and a bear who went hunting together. After each of them caught a deer the bear asked the wolf how they should divide up the spoils. He said, 'Everyone should get one deer.' At that point the bear ate the wolf. Then the bear asked the fox what he thought. The fox offered the bear his deer, and suggested the bear ought to take the wolf's deer as well. 'Where did you get such wisdom?' asked the bear. 'From the wolf,' replied the fox. The school of life offers many difficult courses. Some we sign up for, others we find ourselves taking unexpectedly. All can teach us valuable lessons, but only if we desire to learn and are willing to reflect on these lessons.

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