Thursday, May 28, 2015

What Future Investments Are You Making?

"Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.  You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'do not murder,' 'do not steal,' 'do not bear false witness,' 'honor your father and your mother.'"  And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth."  So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, "You still lack one thing.  Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich."
Luke 18:18-23 (NKJV)

There are many things that you can invest in.  You can invest your money in stocks, bonds, and precious metals.  You can invest your time in your work, hobbies, family, and friends.  You can invest your efforts and energy into sports, being productive on your job, and self-improvement.  Whatever you invest into will give you some return.  While all of these things we can invest in are good things not all of them will produce the same return, not all are equally profitable.

Some people think the story in Luke 18 shows that God wants everyone to be poor.  But the issue was not finances or possessions, the real point of the story is investment; Jesus wanted the young man to make the right kind of investments with his life and resources.  This young man had done some good things, he had made some good natural investments, but there were other things he needed to do, there were other eternal, spiritual investments that he needed to make.

Where do we invest our money, our time, our efforts and our energy?  All of the things we do will bring a return of some kind but not all of the things we do will make the right kind of future, eternal investments.  There are natural things that are good for us to invest in but we must make God's Kingdom, His Church, our priority for our investments.  By putting our money, time, efforts, and energy into godly things we are making good, future, eternal investments.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I've Heard That Before

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

Have you ever been describing something to someone and part way through your description or explanation they stop you and say, "I already know that" or "I've heard that before", letting you know that they are not interested in hearing the rest of what you were going to tell them.  You might try to continue and share your information thinking that they don't really know what you are trying to say or you may even realize that they are misunderstanding what you are trying to explain to them.  But the other person remains convinced that they really don't need to listen to what you are saying.

Over the years that I have been a Christian, and especially during the years I have been in the ministry, I have had the experience of talking to someone and sharing with them a Bible verse or two that I believe can help them.  There have been several times when I have done this that people have responded with, "Yes, I already know that, I've heard that before".  But the truth is, if they really knew it or had heard it before and it was something that was a part of their life then their life would be different and I would not be talking to them about it.

No one has heard the truth from God's Word too many times or knows it so well that they don't need to be reminded of it.  We must be careful not to develop the "I know that, I've heard that before" attitude.  We need to hear the truth from God's Word over and over again, that is how we build our faith and stay strong in our faith.  Hearing and hearing the Word of God will help us to stay sharp spiritually and continue moving forward in God's plan for our life.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

God Wants You!

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him."
2 Chronicles 16:9a (NKJV)

Years ago there was a recruiting poster for the military that had the slogan "I Want You For The US Army".  The poster was used to recruit men to join the Army in 1917 and 1918 because the United States had entered World War I.  Today all of the branches of the military are volunteer so we don't see recruiting done in the same was as it was back then.  But whether it was done through the method of recruitment or just through people volunteering the situation was the same, there was a need that had to be filled.  Without people joining the military the military would not be able to do anything.

God does not use recruiting posters but He is looking for people to do the work He wants done in the earth today  The Bible tells us that as Christians we are the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) and Jesus is the Head (Ephesians 1:22, 23).  Naturally speaking, if we want to get anything done it will have to be done through our body.  We may have great plans and ideas in our head but if our body does not do anything then our plans and ideas will not be carried out.  The same thing is true spiritually; God's plans are carried out through His Body, the Church, that means God wants us to do His will.

Some people think that it is just pastors and other spiritual leaders that God uses to do His will.  But we are all a part of the Body of Christ and we all have something we need to do; God has given each of us a gift to use for His glory (1 Peter 4:10), so every part of the Body of Christ is necessary.  We need to be involved in what God is doing through our local church and we need to reach out to those around us who do not know Jesus as their Savior.  Today God is looking throughout the world for opportunities to show Himself through His people; God wants you to do His will.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Are You Easily Shaken?

"If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small."
Proverbs 24:10 (NKJV)

Earthquakes are normally measured by what is known as the Richter scale, which ranges from 1 to 10 depending on the severity of the earthquake.  An earthquake that is a 1 on the Richter scale is not even noticeable but an earthquake that is a 4 on the Richter scale is very noticeable and an earthquake stronger than this starts to cause damage to buildings.  Some buildings are specifically designed to withstand most earthquakes while some poorly built structures being to fall apart at a much lower level.  How well something has been built determines if it will stand when the shaking starts.

How do we deal with difficult situations and the problems that we face?  How do we react to news that we did not expect to hear or did not want to hear?  When there is a problem or we unexpectedly get some negative news do we just fall apart or do we stand strong?  The answers to these questions tell us a lot about how easily we are shaken and how firm our foundation is.  As Proverbs 24:10 says "If you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small".  If we want to stand strong in the day of adversity then we need more strength and a solid foundation.

How easily are we shaken by the challenges we face in life, what is the first reaction we have?  Leviticus 26:36 says that the sound of a shaken leaf will make some people flee.  This is what life can be like for someone who does not know Jesus, the least little thing can shake them up.  As Christians we cannot let just anything that happens shake us and make us lose our hold on what God has said in His Word.  We have to develop an absolute trust in God and His ability to help us in every situation to be sure we stand strong and do not get shaken in difficult times.  We do this through a continual process of spiritual growth and development.  Then, when we face the day of adversity we stand strong and overcome every time!