Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bible Buffet

"Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more."
John 6:60, 66 (NKJV)

There are many different types of restaurants.  Some specialize in a certain type of food, some are only for people who want to come in and sit down to eat, and some restaurants are manly for customers who want to order food and take it with them.  Some restaurants have complete meals that you can order while others offer a buffet where you can choose different foods to eat and take what you like and leave what you don't want.  Unfortunately some Christians also have this kind of view of the Bible and the truth they like to listen to; however, there is no such thing as a Bible buffet.

One day while Jesus was teaching in the city of Capernaum He said some things that seemed to offend some people.  They said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it" or in other words, this is something that is hard to hear, who can listen to teaching like this?  What Jesus said was not well received and the result was that many of His disciples, the people who had been following Him and listening to Him, would no longer follow Him.  These people were guilty of the Bible buffet mentality.  There were some things they liked to hear and when they heard something they did not like they turned away.

God has given us His Word as a guideline for our lives.  But, we cannot just pick and choose the things in the Bible that we want to focus on and hear about while neglecting other parts.  We like to hear about benefits and blessings but not so much about how we need to walk in love, to serve others, to give, or to grow up spiritually, just to name a few things.  Sometimes we can be just like these disciples in John 6 and turn away from the things we don't want to hear.  We all need to be the type of Christians who know the whole Word of God and not just try to live on a Bible buffet.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Our Part And God's Part

"Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem.  And the power of the Lord was present to heal them."
Luke 5:17 (NKJV)

What would you do if you walked into a room that was dark but you did not turn on the light?  Would you say that there was something wrong with the light bulb or that maybe the electric company was not doing its job?  Or would you realize that you needed to do something to take advantage of what was already provided through the electric company and the light bulb and so you needed to turn on the light?  This example almost sounds ridiculous but it is the same thing that is happening with many people, including Christians, all over the world today.

In Luke 5 we see Jesus teaching a group of people and we are told that the power of the Lord was present.  But the only person in the story who benefited from the power of God was the man who was let down through the roof by his friends, this man was healed.  Just coming into contact with God will not necessarily change things; we have a part to play in it.  Some people have said that the Pharisees and other teachers were religious hypocrites and that is why they did not receive anything, but there is another similar story like this about Israel, God's people, in the Old Testament.

In 1 Samuel 4 we see Israel preparing for battle and the priests bring the Ark of the Covenant, which was symbolic of the presence of God.  The people shouted because God was with them, but they were still defeated!  Why was it that although God was there in both situations almost no one benefited?  The problem was not that God needed to do something, but God needed someone else to do something.  In every situation we need to see what God is directing us to do and not just wait for Him to do something.  God has done His part to provide for us by sending Jesus, have we done our part?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Let Peace Rule

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."
Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)

Most people do not like excessive rules but most people do like some type of rules or guidelines.  If there were no rules or guidelines then the result would be chaos.  But the question is, what are the rules or guidelines in any situation?  In sports there are referees who help to guide and direct the players to follow the rules.  If one of the players does something that goes against the rules the referee will do something to let that player know that there is a problem and what is being done must stop.  A referee is placed in a contest to help direct the players to stay within the guidelines of the sport.

Most Christians do not like excessive rules but most Christians do agree that there has to be some way for a believer to have safe guidance in life and a way to do the things that please God.  While we do not have any official Christian referees within churches we do have the Holy Spirit living in us to help us.  The Bible says in Romans 8:16 that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.  That simply means that there is agreement, or peace, between the Holy Spirit and our spirit.  We need to have this peace as the rule that guides our life.

Christians can get into trouble by not allowing the peace of God to rule in their life; they do something but do not have a sense of peace in their heart, so is not something that the Holy Spirit is directing them to do.  We must always walk in the peace of God by following the direction of the Holy Spirit and the steps He guides us to take in life.  These steps can be things He speaks to our hearts, something He shows us in the Word of God, or just the sense of peace within us knowing that a certain thing is the right thing to do.  We must allow the peace of God to rule in our heart and in our life.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Patience And Comfort From The Word

"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."
Romans 15:4 (NKJV)

Everyone has different tastes, things they like and don't like.  Personally I like to ride on roller coasters.  For me, going through the ups and downs as well as the curves on these amusement park rides are great!  But, while I really do like to ride on roller coasters I do not want to spend my entire life on one.  A roller coaster is fun for a while and even though I enjoy them it is not where I want to be all day, every day.  There are things like this that can be fun for a while but before long they lose their appeal, we all like things to be a little more settled than what we would experience on a roller coaster.

Romans 15:4 points out some very important truths for us as believers.  First it tells us that the things that were written before, in God's Word, were written for our learning.  God cares about us so much that He had some things written that can help us in our life.  Second we see that the Scriptures, God's Word, give us patience and comfort so that we can have hope.  This is another great thing to know; God's Word brings comfort to us and helps us to be patient.  The word patient here means to have cheerful or hopeful endurance, or we could say that it is talking about staying the same all the time.

God gave us His Word for a reason and His Word will do something in us.  God does not want us to have a roller coaster life where we are up and down all the time, living life based on our circumstances or feelings.  There is another good point here too, what we hear from God and His Word will bring us stability and comfort.  God wants to help us not hurt us, even if we have made a mistake.  If we hear something that brings fear, confusion, or doubt then it is not coming from God and His Word.  God wants us to life a life of stability and peace so we can do His will and help others to do the same.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Sure Thing

"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV)

We all like a sure thing, something that there is no question about and where there is no possibility of a mistake.  This is a nice thought, but in our everyday life it is not entirely realistic.  People like to say that the only things in life that are a sure thing are death and taxes, but there are some other things as well.  For example, we can be sure that we will see the sun rise in the morning and set in the evening.  We can be sure that dogs will bark, birds will sing, and fish will swim.  We do not have to just wish that these things were true, we have all seen and experienced them for ourselves.

One thing that is unique to Christianity, especially when compared to other religious beliefs, is confidence; confidence in our salvation and in everything God has said to us in His Word.  We are certain that because we have placed our trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that we have an eternal home in heaven for all of eternity.  We can be confident that God is who He says He is and that His Word is true.  We can see God through the things He created in this world and we can take advantage of everything He has said in His Word by simply believing it is true and acting on what He has said.

Not being sure about something is a bad place to be.  But millions of people today do not live a life of security with a certainty about what will happen when they die or if what they believe will really work in their life.  So many people are really just blindly hoping something good will happen for them without any real guarantee of success.  Like Paul, Christians can boldly declare that because we know the God we believe in is real and His Word is true we can be sure that He will do what He has said.  When you put your trust and confidence in God and His Word you then have a sure thing!