Thursday, November 27, 2014

Enter In With Thanksgiving

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him and bless His name."
Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

There are many different methods that can used to access various places.  Some places require you to buy a ticket before you enter.  Some places require you to show a certain form of identification before you can enter.  Some places require you to enter an access code on a security panel before you can get in.  Some places require a special key to enter in.  While there may be different methods that are used to enter a place, the point is that something is necessary before one can enter and the same thing is true with the things of God.

We have access to God today through the blood of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:13, 18), this is the basis for our relationship with God.  But what about our every day fellowship with God and walking in the blessings of God, is there something we can do to make sure we have clear access to all that God has provided for us through Jesus?  By looking at what Psalm 100:4 tells us I believe we have an answer: thanksgiving gives us access.  Being thankful and praising God for who He is and what He has done will keep doors of opportunity and blessing open in our life.

When we are thankful we are focused on the right things.  If we consider all of the good things that God has done for us and how much God loves us it is easy to be thankful and also easy for us to walk by faith.  If we think about what we may not have or what might not be exactly right in our life it means we are more focused on natural things and it is easy to complain and harder to live a life of faith.  By maintaining a lifestyle of thanksgiving we keep ourselves in the place where God can work in our life; let's all make it our goal to be thankful and enter into God's best.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Firm Foundation To Stand On

"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong."
1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV)

Standing is a fairly simple thing for most people to do.  Unless a person has some medical condition that prevents them from doing so, people learn to stand at a very early age.  But, it is not just standing up on your feet that matters it is also what you are standing on.  If you are standing on a flat, stable surface then standing is easy.  However, if you are on a boat that is being tossed around by waves, or if you are trying to take a stand on some ice or an unstable surface then the simple act of standing becomes a challenge.

The Bible says several things about standing.  We are told we stand by grace (Romans 5:2), we stand against the enemy (Ephesians 6:11), and that we stand by faith (2 Corinthians 1:24).  But the question is, just exactly how do we do this?  If we are to stand by faith in the grace of God against our enemy then we need to be sure that what we are standing on is stable and secure.  Our position of standing is only as good as what we are standing on.  A firm foundation to stand on is built on the Word of God through what we hear and by the words we speak.

By hearing God's Word we build our faith to stand and we strengthen our foundation by a continual process of speaking God's Word.  Then when we face the enemy, when we deal with difficult situations, when we need to appropriate the blessings of God in our life we have a firm foundation to stand on in faith.  Many believers struggle because their foundation is not entirely built from God's Word and when they need to stand strong their foundation is not secure.  Build a firm foundation in your life by filling yourself with the Word of God and speaking His Word every day, in every situation of life.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One Step Leads To Another

"And He sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.  So they said to Him, Where do You want us to prepare?  And He said to them, Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters.  Then you will say to the master of the house, "The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"  Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready."
Luke 22:8-12 (NKJV)

When you are traveling somewhere or you have a goal to reach the main thing is to get to the destination and reach that goal.  All of the steps between where you start and where you end are not as important as the final objective, but those steps are still important.  Without taking the necessary steps to move forward you would never get to where you need to go.  This is a problem area for some people in following God's direction, they want the end result without having to take the steps in between the start and the finish.

In Luke 22 we see Jesus sending Peter and John to a city to find the place to prepare the Passover.  The goal was the place where they could meet, going to the city was a step in the right direction but it was not the only step.  Jesus told them to locate a certain man, but that was not the final step.  The man with the pitcher was only leading Peter and John to the place where they would meet another man who would then take them to their final goal.  But what if Peter and John had skipped a step or two, would they still have gotten the same result?

We will often find that God directs us into one thing that brings us into something else; God gives us one step that leads to another.  This is not to say that we view the things we do or the people we meet as just stepping stones we use to achieve a goal, that is not right at all.  But as God brings us opportunities to take steps in our walk with Him we must realize that God has a plan and He is working to develop us, prepare us, and to direct us into what we need to do and where we need to go.  Follow the steps God gives you, take advantage of the opportunities He brings you to do things, and build relationships with other believers.  Doing these things will benefit us today and help us reach our future goals.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Just Read It

"Your words were found, and I ate them, and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts."
Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV)

The Bible is an awesome, wonderful book.  Knowing and practicing the truth found in the Bible can change your life!  But, some people see the Bible as a book of secrets and there is one certain key that unlocks the mysteries so they spend time searching for that one key.  Other people find something specific in the Bible that fascinates them and they spend a lot of time just focusing on that one thing.  But, if we really want to have a complete understand of the Bible we need to just read it and get to know all of it.

There are 66 "books" within this one great book of the Bible and these 66 books are divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament.  While the Old Testament is important, today we live in the New Testament and that is the part of the Bible we should focus on the most. You can get a Bible in print or electronic form, you can read the Bible yourself or have an audio version of the Bible that you can listen to.  Multiple translations of the Bible can be found on the Internet and you can even have the Bible on your smart phone. But having a Bible is one thing and getting the Bible into you is another.

What some people fail to understand is just how simple the Bible really is.  Certainly there are some things in the Bible that are easier to understand than others but if we make it our goal to read and know the whole Bible we will find that the individual parts of the Bible become easier to understand.   When we spend time with the Bible we are really spending time with God because He is the true Author of the Bible and by the Holy Spirit God guided men to write the words we find in the Bible.  We should be like Jeremiah and make God's Word the joy and rejoicing of our heart; we do this as we read it, and read it, and read it.