Thursday, February 26, 2015

Some Things Are Worth Being Repeated

"For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,"
2 Peter 1:12, 13 (NKJV)

When I was young there were not many channels to choose from on television and there were a limited number of things you were able to watch, today there are many channels and many programming possibilities.  One thing that there is more of today than there was in the past is what are known as reruns.  Some show that had been previously aired was rerun, it was repeated at a later date.  For me there are some shows I could watch over and over while seeing others once is more than enough.  This same principle is true with the Bible, but only in the positive sense.

What Peter writes about in the first chapter of his second letter is very interesting.  Peter talked of reminding people about some things, even though Peter himself acknowledges that these same people knew and in fact were already established in this truth.  Despite the fact that they already knew something Peter recognized the importance of going over it more than one time.  Today it seems like some people think that if you just hear something one time it is more than enough, even if they are not really established in that truth or they don't completely understand the principle involved.

To be strong, stable, effective Christians we need to be thoroughly established in the truth we find in the Bible.  That means we need to hear the truth of God's Word more than once, even if we have heard it more than once before, even if we already know a lot about it.  If we keep the attitude that we have more to learn it will enable us to continue to learn more while on the other hand if we think we know it all we hinder our ability to learn.  We should all keep a teachable attitude towards the things of God and keep on hearing the truth, we need to hear it more often than we realize.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Divine Direction From The Holy Spirit

"The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,"
Acts 1:1, 2 (NKJV)

Most of the time when you buy some new piece of electronic equipment or something that needs to be put together you also receive a set of instructions.  While you might have some prior knowledge that can help you with your new purchase, you usually need to refer to the instructions to be able to deal correctly with your new item.  You might even take a quick look at the directions you have and think that you don't need them, you are smart enough to figure it out on your own.  But, after running into a couple of difficulties most people will check back with the instructions to get things done right.

In Acts 1:2 it says that Jesus gave commandments to the apostles.  But, Jesus did not just share some random thoughts that He had; it was by the direction of the Holy Spirit that Jesus told His disciples what they needed to hear.  Today God tells us what we need to hear through the Word and by the Holy Spirit.  God is smarter than we are and He always knows what we need ahead of time, even before we know we need it.  Just like a company that produces a certain product knows that people need proper instructions to do things right, God knows we need divine direction to live the right kind of life.

Sometimes we think we can go through life on our own without really paying attention to what God has to say in His Word, just like the person who thinks they are smart enough to figure things out on their own without reading the instructions.  The Bible is filled with divine directions from God that the Holy Spirit will use to help us in life.  God can and will work with us to prepare us for what is to come in our life before we even recognize what is coming.  But it is up to us to be diligent to read and study God's Word and then follow the divine direction that the Holy Spirit gives us for every area of life.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Overcomers Or Underachievers?

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith.  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
1 John 5:4, 5 (NKJV)

Everyone will face problems in life; this is an inescapable fact.  But that does not stop some people from trying to do just that, escape from their problems.  Some people try to ignore the problem hoping that it will go away or they just try to endure it rather than do anything about the problem.  Some people look for another person to come to their rescue to save them so that the person with the actual problem does not need to do anything.  But some people deal with challenges head on and when faced with a problem they overcome it; while this is not the easiest way to live it is the best way to live.

In the Book of Revelation we see the phrase "he who overcomes" written to each of the seven churches addressed in chapters 2 and 3.  Along with this it lists the rewards given to those who overcome, but there is no mention of a reward or benefit for those who give up or don't do anything about their problems.  This shows us that we can be overcomers and it also shows us that it is up to us to do something about the challenges and problems we face.  God never planned for His children to go through their lives on earth just trying to hide from and be overcome by their problems.

It is through Jesus that we have overcome the world (John 16:33; Romans 8:37), we are supposed to reign in this life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17), and we are born of God to overcome (1 John 5:4, 5)!  Rather than be an underachiever and live below the standard that God wants us to and even made provision for us to live at we need to be an overcomer by taking advantage of everything that Jesus did.  God's plan has always been for us to put our faith in His Word and the work of Jesus so that we would live a victorious life!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Walking In Love - Love, The Identification Of A Disciple

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:34, 35 (NKJV)

There are some things that are easy to identify because of how they look or sound.  For example, a cow and a chicken look and sound very different; I doubt that anyone has ever gotten those animals mixed up.  Another example would be a small car and a semi-truck, they look and sound very different.  We are able to identify these things because of the distinctive look and sound that they have.  But wouldn't it be strange for a cow to cluck like a chicken and a chicken to moo like a cow?  And imagine the confused looks on people's faces if a small car would drive by sounding like a huge truck.

When Jesus was on the earth He showed love for His disciples, even though they argued about who was the greatest, misunderstood His intentions, and did not always do things the way He wanted them to.  John 13:1 says that Jesus loved His disciples to the end.  Then, in John 13:34, 35, Jesus told His disciples to love each other the way that He had loved them.  Jesus went on to say that people would recognize His disciples because of the love they showed to each other.  The love shown between those who follow Jesus should be an easy way for people to identify who they are.

Jesus performed miracles, did amazing teaching, and had a great prayer life, but Jesus never said these things would be the identifying traits of His disciples.  In this context Jesus was specifically talking about those who followed Him, Jesus was not talking about our relationship to everyone but to fellow believers.  If Christians demonstrated the kind of love that Jesus was talking about a lot of people would be very interested in joining that group to get some of the love.  Our goal should be to walk in love with one another, to love like Jesus loved, and to be the example that Jesus intended us to be.