Thursday, February 27, 2014

Walking In Love - By Faith

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love."
Galatians 5:6 (NKJV)

Everyone knows someone who is not so loveable.  Whether it is a family member, a coworker, a neighbor, or even someone in our church, we have all met people who have been difficult to get along with.  Sometimes we even go so far as to find a way, if possible, to avoid that person rather than deal with them.  While this type of person can be a challenge for us, we need to realize that no matter what other people do and how they act we don't have to let their bad attitude or actions dominate our life.  No matter how the other person acts we can still walk in love and treat them right and do good to them.

Galatians 5:6 gives us a key that can help us, faith works through love and love can work through faith.  God's love is already in us (Romans 5:5) so we don't need to get more love, we just need to use what we have.  One problem is that we are often looking at our feelings and having a hard time dealing with them.  We need to move past our feelings and act on the love of God that is in us, by faith.  We may never be able to do anything to change how the other person acts but we can act the right way and treat them the way we would if we really did have the feelings of love for them. 

The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8 that God demonstrated His love for us in sending Jesus to die for us when we were sinners and we did not deserve His love.  This is an example for us to follow.  God acted the right way towards us and showed us love even when we did not deserve it or respond properly and this is what we need to do.  Others may not respond the right way but when we walk in love it opens the door for God to work in the situation and it will help us with the unpleasant feelings we have towards the other person.  If we release the love of God that we have in us towards other people, no matter how they act, we are walking in love and walking with God.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Crossing To The Other Side

"Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, Let us cross over to the other side of the lake. And they launched out."
Luke 8:22 (NKJV)

Luke 8 records the story of Jesus and His disciples crossing a lake in a boat, which was a fairly normal means of travel for them.  Today we don't travel with boats as much as we use cars, airplanes, and even trains to get where we are going.  We don't plan to live in the car, airplane, or train, they are just methods that we use to go from one place to another.  I have traveled by car, airplane, and train to various places and while not every one of those experiences has been the most wonderful and exciting time of my life I did reach my destination.

In the story from Luke 8 we see that as Jesus and the disciples were in the boat crossing the lake a storm came up.  The storm caused some concern for the disciples but Jesus helped them get to the other side, which was the whole reason for the trip in the first place.  What if the disciples had known for certain that the storm was coming and had said they did not want to travel in the boat?  They may have reached their destination by foot but it would have taken them much longer to walk around the lake than to travel over it by boat.

Just like disciples we will all go through some situations and experiences that are not so pleasant.  But, if we remember that Jesus is with us and that He will help us we can keep the right perspective.  The disciples began to panic in their situation because they started looking at the circumstances and they forget where they were going.  We need to trust God and stay with His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit to get where we need to go.  If we just panic and get scared at the first sign of trouble and then quit we may never reach our destination.  No matter where we are in life we need to realize that God is on our side and He will help us to safely and successfully reach the destination of where we need to be in life.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sometimes It Is Best To Say Nothing

"If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth."
Proverbs 30:32 (NKJV)

Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all.  Too often people just talk without any thought about what they are saying and what effect their words will have.  It is one thing to just talk but it is something else to actually have words that are valuable and proper to speak in a given situation.  Proverbs 30 gives us a good guideline for our words; if we have said something foolish or have had some wrong thoughts the best thing to do is to stop talking!  Instead of just going on and on talking and making a mess of things it is sometimes best to just not say anything until we are sure we have something good to say.

In Mark 9 we read the story of Jesus being transfigured on the mountain.  Peter, James, and John were with Jesus when this event took place; Peter began to talk and said that maybe they should set up some tents or something.  It is not exactly clear what Peter was talking about but we do know that the Bible says Peter was afraid and did not really know what to say.  It would have been better at that moment for Peter to just be quiet and do as God told them when He said, "This is my beloved Son. Hear Him!"  It would have been better for Peter to stop talking and just listen. 

We have all been in situations where we start talking and soon realize that what we said was the wrong thing to say.  Are we like Peter and we don't know what to say and so we just say something because we are afraid or uncomfortable in the situation?  Do we let our emotions get the best of us and we just blurt out something that we later regret?  As one wise person said, you can almost always say something later, but once you say something you can't take it back.  The best thing is to be careful with the words we say, to ourselves and to others, to choose our words wisely and realize that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

God Can Do More Than We Think

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,"
Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

God is a big God!  He is bigger than any of us realize and certainly bigger than any situation or problem we face.  God is big enough to be able to help us overcome anything we face and to enable us to do anything and everything He leads us to do.  Sometimes the problem is that we limit what God can do in our lives by what we think, what we have experienced in the past, and what we see happening around us.  We have to realize that God can do even more than we can think or dream!  The question is not if God is big enough but if we can really believe what He has said in His Word.

One key to this is renewing our mind with God's Word.  If our thinking is completely different than God's thinking we will always struggle with the possibilities available with God.  If we think small, and we dream small, then our expectation from God will also be small.  But if we understand that God has a great plan for us, then we will begin to dream big dreams for God.  The great thing is that no matter what big dream we might have, or what we want to do for God, that God is even bigger than that and can do even more than what we ask or think.

God has things that He wants to do in our lives and things He wants us to do for Him.  The biggest limitation that God has is with us and our thinking.  The only reason that God is not doing more in some people's lives is because they have limited Him with their thinking; their expectation of what God can do is too small.  We need to take off the limits that we have built up in our mind and renew our mind with God's Word and dream big dreams for God.  God is able to exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think; let's all believe for big things with God!