Thursday, May 29, 2014

Not By Might Or Power, But By The Spirit Of God

"So he answered and said to me: This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit Says the Lord of hosts."
Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)

Have you ever faced a situation that seemed too hard to handle, a problem that seemed to be unsolvable, or a task that seemed too difficult to do?  At one time or another all of us have faced things like this.  Zerubbabel was in one of those kinds of places.  He had led a group of Jews back from Babylon to Jerusalem and he was faced with some big challenges as he and others worked to rebuild the temple.  This was a huge job and I am sure he felt a bit overwhelmed.  What God told Zerubbabel is something that we can all benefit from today.

In Zechariah 4 God tells Zerubbabel that what needs to be done will not be accomplished by might or power.  Things were not going to be done by any ability, strength, or power that some person could naturally supply; the work was going to be done by the help of the Holy Spirit.  In our lives today, we may be called by God to do something that seems impossible or we may face problems where we don't know what to do.  This is where we need to turn to God and let Him help us.  By His Spirit, God will give us direction, ability, knowledge, and wisdom to do what needs to be done.

The fact is that everyone will come to a point in life that they will deal with something that is beyond their own resources to take care of.  By His Spirit, God can give us the energy and ability we need, God can show us what to do, God can give us wisdom, and He can direct us about exactly how to be most effective in what we do.  We need to stop trying to do everything on our own and realize that God is ready and willing to help us in every situation.  It is not just by our might or our power that we will be victorious in life and do what God calls us to do, it is by His Spirit!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Be Aware Of The Enemy's Tactics

"Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:10, 11 (NKJV)

It has been said that knowledge is power.  This saying originally comes from the English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon and it has been used by many people since then.  What we know and understand is the basis for what we do.  A person cannot act on what they do not know and often a lack of knowledge is what defeats people.  The more we know and understand about spiritual things the more effective we will be as Christians and the more we will be able to do for God.  It is good to know what we should do but it is also good to know what we should not do.

In 2 Corinthians 2 Paul talks about forgiving someone and in the next verse he mentions not being ignorant of Satan's devices, literally Satan's plans or purposes.  Paul is showing us the importance of forgiving others and how by not forgiving someone Satan could take advantage of us.  Paul also tells us that our enemy has a plan and a purpose.  Many people get into trouble because they do not understand this. The devil is constantly trying to cause problems in our life and hinder us from doing what God wants us to do.  We need to be aware of this and on guard because of it.

The devil will try to use things against us like unforgiveness, bitterness, disappointment, discouragement, and similar things. If we realize that these things can be opportunities for the devil to attack us we will be on guard against them.  If we are unaware and even ignorant of that then the devil will try to use situations and circumstances against us and we may fall prey to some scheme of the enemy; we need to be on guard against the plans and purposes of the devil.  We have God's Word and the Holy Spirit to help us with this.  No matter what the devil may try to do we can always triumph in Christ!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Kind Of Report Do You Give?

"The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy."
Proverbs 15:30 (NKJV)

All around the world you can find reporters from different organizations who are reporting the news, or at least what they understand about it.  These men and women find information about various things that are happening to report in news stories.  In the English language a report is defined as "a written or spoken description of a situation or event" and so a reporter is someone who relays this information to others.  All of us have the opportunity to be "a reporter" in our own lives as we give information and "report" about the events and situations we deal with in life.

The Bible talks about a true report, a good report, a bad report, and an evil report.  Something may be a true report but is that a good report?  In the Bible a good report is saying what God says and a bad or evil report is when someone disagrees with what God has said.  How can we be sure what we say will be a good report and not a bad report?  The answer is whether or not what we say is in agreement with God's Word.  We have the choice about what to report and we need to say what God says about everything in our life.  Proverbs 15:30 shows us that the right report can even affect our health!

It is interesting to see how different reporters highlight certain aspects of a story and sometimes fail to mention some other facts that are an actual part of the story.  We can do the same thing, we can choose what aspects of our life we emphasize and talk about.  In every situation we can choose to talk about what God says in His Word instead of just talking about the bad things we could report.  So, what do we report about our lives and the situations we go through?  Instead of just talking negative and saying things that do us no good and really only serve to wear us down, let's talk about what the Bible says and always give a good report.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Instant Christian

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching."
2 Timothy 4:2 (NKJV)

Some people can be very picky.  They like things done in a certain way and if it is not what they like, the way they like, they don't want anything to do with it.  Sometimes we see this with children who only want to eat certain kinds of foods and they refuse to eat others.  There are some people that are looking for the perfect moment to do something and then when they think that they have that moment it often does not work out the way they dreamed it would.  While we may not think of ourselves as that kind of person normally, we may sometimes act like that with spiritual things.

There are Christians who think that they should be able to do what they want, when they want, the way that they want.  They think that what they do for God in their life should somehow be the ideal thing that they would like to do in a pristine setting; but this is not reality.  If we expect to only serve God when everything is perfect and at just the right time we are going to be sadly disappointed.  It seems that just when we get settled something will come along that knocks us right out of our comfort zone and requires us to do more than we wanted to do when we didn't want to do it.

Paul encouraged Timothy to be ready to do the things that needed to be done in season and out of season.  The King James Translation says, "be instant in season, out of season".  That is a good picture; we need to be ready to go in an instant.  The devil will never attack us at a convenient time, people will never have a crisis when we are necessarily ready to deal with it, and the work God calls us to do will probably not be with the exact conditions we would dream of.  But, we can know that no matter what happens, when it happens, and how it happens God is there to help us.  By filling ourselves with God's Word and trusting the Holy Spirit to help us and guide us we can be the kind of Christian who is ready anytime, anywhere to do anything that needs to be done!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Shouting On Monday

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."
James 5:13, 14 (NKJV)

It's great to be in a church service or at a special meeting with a group of believers.  It can be very inspiring to hear a message that encourages us and motivates us to do more for God.  It seems as though when we are in these kinds of situations we are confident that God can do anything and that no matter what we might face we will overcome.  The problem is that we don't live at church and we don't have special meetings every day.  We may not have a problem getting excited and shouting on Sunday, but what about the rest of the week?  Can we shout on Monday just like on Sunday?

It's easy for us to get excited in a crowd or to rely on others to keep us motivated and help us in difficult times.  But, we will all come to a point where we have to stand on our own.  In James 5 it says that if someone is suffering they need to pray; it does not say that we just automatically call someone else for help or run to a seminar.  James also says if someone is cheerful they should sing, that part is easy.  Singing and even praying are easy on Sunday but can we pray and sing just as easily on our own on Monday as we can with the help and encouragement of others on Sunday?

This shows us the need for spiritual growth and an understanding of who we are in Christ, and this points us back to God's Word.  While we may not have a meeting to go to and we may not have our pastor or other Christian friends around on Monday we still have the Bible.  Yes there will be times when we face a situation that we must call for help, as James 5:14 says.  But, if everyone is just in the position that they always need to call someone else for help who would we all turn to?  We all need one another, as well as spiritual growth and development in our life and a solid foundation in God's Word.  If we have these things then no matter what we face we will always come through triumphantly, every day of the week!