Thursday, September 24, 2015

Do The Word That You Have Heard

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be ye doers of the word, and not hears only, deceiving yourselves."
James 1:21, 22 (NKJV)

What would it be like if you just got more and more of something but never used it?  What if you owned one hundred pairs of shoes and then just kept buying more and more shoes, could you ever really use all of those shoes?  What if you had one hundred pairs of pants and then bought one hundred more pairs of pants, would that even make sense?  While it is not wrong to have a lot of something there does come a point where if we are not making good use of what we have then there is no real reason to have it.  What we have is only good if we can use it and get some benefit from it.

James 1:21, 22 tells us that we need to receive the Word; but if we are not doers of the Word we receive then we deceive ourselves.  We can deceive ourselves by not doing the Word and then not having the abundant life God wants us to have so we start to believe that the God kind of life is not for us.  We can deceive ourselves by not doing the Word and thinking that what we need is more of something else when we already have the Word from God we need and we are just not putting that Word to use.  If we only hear the Word but do not practice the Word we will not have God's best in our life.

Some people just get more and more of God's Word without putting the Word into practice in their lives.  When we hear the Word we need to do something with it.  If we are just accumulating more and more knowledge without any practical application that is not so good, knowledge is only valuable when it can be used.  We need to take the Word of God that we receive in our life and make it a part of our life and use God's Word to help other people.  God gives us His Word for a reason and it is when we put it into practice and use it in our life that we receive God's best!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Faith Comes By Hearing

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

Have you ever wondered why some people do the things they do?  It can be very interesting to be in places like an airport where you can see a wide variety of people with a wide variety of ways of doing things.  But just looking at people and how they act will never fully reveal the motivation behind their actions and lifestyle.  To really know why people do things the way they do you would have to find out more about those people and their background; what is it that has shaped the life of someone to cause them to be who they are?  The answer is that people are shaped by the things they hear.

What we have heard, whether good or bad has had an influence on us and helped to shape us into the kind of people that we are today.  In Romans 10:17 it tells us that faith comes by hearing, what we hear will do something in us.  The things we hear have an impact on us, for good or bad, and will eventually dominate our lives.  Some people would disagree but can you find a successful person who always talks about and listens to words of defeat and discouragement?  Can you find a person who has a terrible life who is always talking about and hearing good, positive things?

God has given us His Word to build good things into us; faith, wisdom, and strength will all come through hearing God's Word but doubt, depression, and confusion will come through hearing something else.  We should not just listen to everything and anything that is available to hear, and we certainly do not need to read everything that someone might write in a book or put somewhere on the Internet.  What we hear will build something into us.  There are many things we can hear but we need to put God's Word in first place above everything else that we might listen to, read, or say.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What Are You Zealous For?

"For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.  And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers."
Galatians 1:13, 14 (NKJV)

Have you ever watched a sporting event on television and seen some of the people in the stands who are there to watch their favorite team?  Some people are very committed to their sports teams and show this by how they act, what they say, and even how they dress.  Some people don't care for sports but they do follow some music group, singer, or entertainer. This type of person who closely follows and identifies with some sports team, musician, or someone else is referred to as a fan.  It is interesting to note that, according to the dictionary, the word fan is most likely derived from the word fanatic.

In Galatians Paul talked about how he was zealous for the traditions of his fathers.  This word "zealous" means, to burn with zeal, to be eagerly desirous of something, or to vehemently content for something.  This is not just a passive or mild desire or thought about something, it is an all consuming passion.  In fact, this word Paul used can be traced back to a word that means to boil with heat, like boiling water.  Paul was zealous for Jewish tradition, you could even say he was a fan of it.  Paul was very committed to what he believed, but what he believed was not right.

There are many things that people are zealous about.  But like Paul, people can be very committed to and passionate about something and still be wrong, even with religious things.  As Christians we identify with Jesus and should be zealous about following Him and doing His will; we can find God's will in His Word, the Bible.  How we live, what we say, our goals and dreams should all fall in line with God and His Word.  It is good to be zealous but we need to be zealous for the right things.  Because Jesus is our Lord and Savior His will and way need to be what we are most passionate about.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Walking In Love - Believing The Best About Others

"Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]."
1 Corinthians 13:7 (Amplified Bible)

Has someone ever cut you off while you were driving and your first thought is that they have no idea how to drive?  Have you ever been in a restaurant and the server was not as sharp as they ought to be and you think they are the worst service person ever?  Have you ever been boarding a plane, train, or bus and someone got in front of you and you suspected they had no manners and were probably the rudest person alive?  It is likely that all of us have had these experiences and thoughts at one time or another.

But is it possible that we misunderstood what happened and were too quick to believe the worst about someone?  What if the driver was a bit lost and did not realize they cut you off?  What if the server in the restaurant was filling in for someone else who was not there and had to do the work of two people?  What if the person who got in line ahead of you legitimately did not see you and what they did was an honest mistake?  Our thoughts and reactions to how others treat us and how they act around us is an indication of how much we are walking in the love of God.

God's love bears up under anything and everything and believes the best of every person and that love is in us as Christians (Romans 5:5).  Are we quick to believe the best or worst about others?  Do we look for the best and expect the best of others or are we ready to find fault and see mistakes?  How does God see us when we make mistakes or do wrong?  Is He expecting the worst things from us or is He gracious and quick to overlook the mistake and continue to love us and do what He can to help us?  We all need to walk in the love of God where we expect and believe the best about others.