Friday, June 28, 2013

Your Words Set The Course For Your Life

"For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!"
James 3:2-5 (NKJV)

The words we use are far more important than most people have realized.  Some people have gotten the wrong idea about the value of our words, in part because of some extreme, unbiblical teaching in this area.  However, a study of what the Bible teaches about words will show the significance of the words we use in our everyday life.  The words we speak every day will set the course for our life.  The direction our life is headed today is based on the words we have spoken in the past.

In James 3:2-5 we have a couple of good examples of how our words work.  First, James gives the example of a bit in the horses' mouth, that little thing can direct a huge animal and guide it to where it needs to go.  Next, James talks about the rudder on a ship and how the pilot can set the direction the ship will go with a just very small part of the ship.  Then James says that in the same way the tongue is small but it can do big things.  If we want to set our course in life, if we want to turn some things around in our life, it is going to happen through our words.

So what should we be saying, what should we talk about?  What we need to do is find out what the Bible has to say and talk about that.  It is not as though our words have some magic power to them, but when our words are in agreement with God's Word we are allowing God an open door to move in our life.  If our words are contrary to God's Word we restrict His operation in our life.  Our words will set the course for our life; make sure you choose your words wisely and say the things that God has to say in His Word about every area of your life.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Living A Life Of True Contentment

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."
Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)

Paul was a normal human being who, even though he was called and gifted by God, faced life's difficulties just like the rest of us.  Paul told the Philippians that he had learned how to be content, no matter what was happening.  Paul was specifically talking about financial support, but I believe this can apply to every area of our life.  Paul was able to do the things God had called him to do because He had learned how to live a life independent of his feelings and circumstances, this is something we need to do too if we want to be successful in life.

So many people live a life of discontent, they are not satisfied with their life.  The key to living a stable, happy life is found in the definition of the Greek word Paul used in Philippians 4:11 for "contentment".  In the Greek language this word carries the meaning of being "independent of circumstances".  This is what living a life of true contentment, a satisfied, happy life is all about.  If we are dependent on some person or thing making us happy we will never be satisfied.  If we put our focus on God and His Word we can live a life of stability and victory.

Deuteronomy 28:67 talks about people who because of their fear and the things happening around them would say in the morning, "I wish it was evening" and in the evening, "I wish it was morning", this is a picture of dissatisfaction, discontent.  If we are thinking, "I wish this was happening", or "If that person would just act a certain way", or "If only this thing was different" we have our focus in the wrong place.  People, circumstances, and our feelings will change but God and His Word do not change; this is where our focus has to be, that is what we must build our life on.  This is how we can live a life of true contentment and satisfaction!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Stand, Stand, And Keep On Standing

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore ..."
Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14a (NKJV)

Sometimes if we are not careful we read over things in the Bible and we miss the significance of what is being said.  A good example of this is in Ephesians 6:11-14 where Paul begins talking about the armor of God.  In these verses Paul uses the word "stand" three times and the word "withstand" once, I think this is very important.  We might focus on the armor and the different pieces, or we may think about how we have an enemy who will attack us, but I believe it is extremely vital for us to realize that Paul mentioned standing, in some way, four times.

Paul said to take up, to put on, the whole armor of God and stand.  Paul did not say to put on the armor and hide or put on the armor and run away, Paul said we must stand.  Christians need to recognize that we have an enemy, we need to put on the whole armor of God, know who we are in Christ and understand the authority we have in Christ.  But, once we take our stand in faith and resist the devil, we stand, stand, and keep on standing!  We need to know how to stand so we can keep on standing no matter what.

The Bible tells us that we stand by grace (Romans 5:2; 1 Peter 5:12), we stand by faith (Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 16:13), and that we need to stand firm in the Lord (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8).  When we put all of this together we get a complete picture of what it means to stand: we stand by the grace of God (His ability working in us), by faith (on His Word), and in the Lord (who we are in Christ and not who we are in ourselves).  No matter what situation you may find yourself in, take a stand in faith and allow the grace of God to empower you to remain in your place in Christ.  Then, keep on standing triumphantly in Christ and you will win!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Do You Know That The Holy Spirit Lives In You?

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" 
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"
1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19 (NKJV)

One of the greatest differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament has to do with the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would come on people to empower them to do the work that God had called those people to do.  The problem was that the Holy Spirit was not available to everyone.  However, today as New Testament believers in Jesus Christ, as Christians, we have the Holy Spirit in us!  This is such a wonderful truth but it seems that a lot of Christians don't even know about it

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul asked them the same question twice, "Don't you know that the Holy Spirit is in you"?  These people were Christians so they already had the Holy Spirit in them.  Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit on the spirit of man (Titus 3:4-6) where someone becomes a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Paul said in Romans 8:9 if you don't have the Spirit of God then you are not even in relationship with God.  Once we become a Christian we have the Greater One, the Holy Spirit in us (1 John 4:4) and His job is to help us, teach us, and guide us (John 14:26, Romans 8:14).

The problem many Christians have today is what Paul was talking to the Corinthians about; do we recognize that the Holy Spirit is in us?  Do we have our attention on circumstances, our feelings, other people's opinions or do we focus on the Helper we have living inside of us?  If we put our attention on the Holy Spirit in us, if we allow Him to direct us and help us, then He will lead us into triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14), He will give us the strength we need (Ephesians 3:16), and He will guide us into the truth (John 16:13).  Thank God for the Holy Spirit, let's allow Him to help us do what God has called us to do!