Thursday, January 23, 2020

It Is A Necessity?

"Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'do not murder,' 'do not steal,' 'do not bear false witness,' 'honor your father and your mother.'"
And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth."
So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, "You still lack one thing.  Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich."
Luke 18:18-23 (NKJV)

A necessity is something that you really cannot live without.  If you asked people what things were a necessity for them to live a happy and productive life you would have a lot of different answers, depending on who you asked.  Most people would agree that food, water, clothing, and shelter are basic necessities.  But, beyond that, what people might consider necessities can vary.  There are many things people may consider necessary to their life that in reality are not necessary. 

When Jesus met the rich young ruler, this man wanted to know what was necessary to inherit eternal life.  In response, Jesus listed several of the Ten Commandments.  The rich ruler told Jesus how he had kept these commandments, in his mind he had done what was necessary.  Jesus then told the ruler to sell his possessions and follow Him.  This brought a sad reaction from the rich ruler, unfortunately he considered his riches a necessity and this hindered him from following Jesus.

The problem was that this ruler did not know what was really a necessity, he did not want to let go of what he had to go and follow Jesus.  Many people talk about being a follower of Jesus, but they are unwilling to leave behind some things that they consider necessities, which are actually hindering their relationship with God and the things He wants them to do.  We all need to be willing to let go of anything God talks to us about, He knows best what is really necessary for us to have to follow His plan for our life.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

You Give Them Something

"When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late.  Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food."
But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat."
And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish."
He said, "Bring them here to Me."
Matthew 14:15-18 (NKJV)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you thought that what you had was not as much as what you needed?  This can happen in several different areas, like with our talents, our strength, and our resources.  In these types of situations, we tend to think that what we have is not enough and look around for someone or something else that can meet the need.  However, what is often the case is that what we have will meet the need if it is used in the right way.

We may look at what we have and think that it is not enough.  This is when it is time to turn our attention away from ourselves and turn our eyes on God to see what His solution is for the situation.  In the situation with the hungry multitude of people, the disciples looked at themselves, what they had, what they could do, and compared to the natural situation it was not enough.  The disciples thought that they could not meet the need and just wanted to send the people away.

Jesus told the disciples that they should give the people something.  This was a surprise to the disciples, but when they took what they had and allowed Jesus to work with it the need was met.  We may find ourselves in similar situations where we don't know what to do and we hear God say, "You give them something".  The idea is not for us to scramble around trying to figure out how to meet the need ourselves, but to allow God to use what we have to meet the need.  Next time you find yourself feeling inadequate, let God work in you and through you to meet the need. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

No Time For Fear

"You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow the flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you."
Psalm 91:5-7 (NKJV)

There are many things associated with a certain time or time period.  For example, in the Summer it is vacation time for many people and in December it is Christmas time.  When it rains you know it is time to use an umbrella and when the sun is bright it is time for sunglasses.  There are time schedules for trains, planes, television shows, and sporting events.  All of these things have a time that they are connected to in one way or another so that when the time comes you know what is supposed to happen.

There are people who get afraid at certain times or when certain things happen.  Some people have a fear of flying, so when it is time to go to the airport, they have a lot of anxiety.  Some people feel afraid when they have to go to the dentist or when they have a checkup with their doctor.  But the Bible tells us first of all the fear does not come from God (2 Timothy 1:7) and Psalm 91 shows us that there is really no time that we need to be afraid.  While there may be a certain time for a lot of things, there is no time it is appropriate to be in fear.

Psalm 91 talks about how God will protect us, no matter what.  Verses 5 and 6 tell us about things that come by night, by day, in darkness, and at noonday, which covers all possible time periods.  These verses talk about a variety of problems and verse 7 tells us these things will not even come near to us, so there is no reason to be afraid.  The key is found earlier in Psalm 91 where it talks about trusting God and making Him our refuge and fortress.  There are bad things happening in the world, but with God on our side there is no reason to fear.  While there may be time for many different things, there is no time for fear.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Where's The New In The New Year?

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)

Sometimes a product will advertise that they have just come out with a "new and improved" version of what they sell.  However, it is often the case that there is not much that is new or improved with the product, except for the word "new" and maybe the price.  You might buy some product like this and then feel disappointed because what you expected was less than what you received and experienced.  You anticipated something that did not live up to your expectation.

At the end of every December we leave one calendar year and then begin another the next day, the first day of January.  This is where people wish each other a "Happy New Year" and people look forward to some new things happening in the new year.  What often happens is that once the new year starts it is really not any different than the previous year.  This should not be much of a surprise to us because all that is changing is the date on the calendar and really nothing else.

Sometimes people wonder where the new is in the new year.  Some people seem to think that when a new calendar year starts something is somehow just going to change and improve.  God gave Joshua, and all of us, the way to have a better year and a better life.  By learning from God's Word about what God has provided for us through Jesus, thinking about those things, talking about them, and putting those things into practice, each year can be better for us than the last.  The key is for us to do something with what God has given us.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Wise Men?

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
Saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?  For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
Matthew 2:1-2 (NKJV)

There are many books, blogs, and articles you can find about how to succeed in life.  You can learn about how other people have done things in the past to see how you can be successful.  There are also things that talk about the habits of successful and unsuccessful people.  In my view, we could say that to succeed in life we need wisdom to do things the right way.  We can learn from what others have done and gain wisdom for ourselves so that we too can succeed.

Most people know the story of Jesus' birth.  Most people know about Mary and Joseph, the angels and shepherds, and the wise men who came to worship Jesus and bring Him gifts.  These men who came from the East were referred to as “wise men”.  Matthew 2:1-2 tells us that they saw a star that led them to Jesus and they came to worship Him.  While some scholars say these people were just astrologers, it cannot be disputed that the goal of the wise men was to find and worship Jesus. 

These wise men are a good example for us, they were paying attention to and following the right things.  We also need to pay attention to and follow the right things and be sure that the focus of our life is on Jesus.  Too often people, including Christians, put other things in their life ahead of Jesus and this is not being wise.  What are we paying attention to and following?  We need to be like these men who came to Jesus, we need to be wise men and women and put Jesus first in our life.