Thursday, November 26, 2015

An Attitude Of Gratitude

"And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."
Acts 5:40-42 (NKJV)

The perspective you view things with is very important.  It has been said that people view a glass of water as either being half full or half empty.  The contents of the glass are exactly the same for both people but the perspective the glass is seen with is different.  Our attitude is based on our perspective and people with a positive perspective will have an overall better attitude than people with a negative perspective.  If we look for the positive aspects of things rather than the negative it will help us to be thankful and have an attitude of gratitude.

In Acts 5 we see that the disciples were put into prison by some religious leaders but God miraculously delivered the disciples.  Then God told the disciples to go to the temple and teach the people, so they did, and then the disciples were arrested again!  This time the religious leaders were so upset that they wanted to kill the disciples, but instead they just beat them and told the disciples not to speak in the name of Jesus anymore.  When the disciples were set free they went away rejoicing!  The disciples saw a positive aspect in their situation and rejoiced and gave thanks to God.

Many people focus on their problems rather than on the good things in their lives.  This is seen in their unthankful, ungrateful attitude.  God wants us to have an attitude of gratitude and to be thankful in every situation and circumstance of life. No matter how bad things might appear to be, or how bad things really are, if we look a little bit we can find something to be thankful for, just like the disciples did.  We all need to guard ourselves from the ungrateful, unthankful attitude that is so prevalent today.  By being thankful for the things we do have we can keep an attitude of gratitude.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What Would Jesus Do?

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me." 
John 6:38 (NKJV)

Several years ago there was a popular wrist band that had the question, "What Would Jesus Do?" on it.  Most of the time the wrist band simply read, "WWJD" and people understood the reference.  The idea behind this wrist band was that if we want to know the right way to live we can look at how Jesus lived and do that same thing.  Although it is nice to think that we can always know what to do by just simply reading about the life of Jesus and imitating what He did, that is not exactly how our life should function.

While Jesus is our example for how to live a life pleasing to God we cannot just imitate everything He did in every situation.  For example, we read about Jesus going to a wedding where He turned water into wine.  It is doubtful that this is the will of God for us the next time we go to a wedding but it is the only example we have of Jesus attending a wedding.  Another instance would be with the people that Jesus raised from the dead.  The next time we go to a funeral are we supposed to raise someone from the dead?  That is most likely not the case.

Jesus came to do the will of God, not to do His own will or just copy someone else.  God had a plan for what Jesus was to accomplish while He was on the earth and the same thing is true for us.  While there certainly are many principles we can take from the life of Jesus and use examples from how He did things to be successful and pleasing to God we must realize that we are individuals that God also has a plan for.  God has given us His Word and placed the Holy Spirit inside of us to help direct us in every area of our lives.  Jesus purpose in life was to do the will of God, let's have the same goal!

Thursday, November 12, 2015


"Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them."  
2 Chronicles 24:2, 17 (NKJV)

We have all seen examples of how one thing influences another; like how the moon affects the ocean's tides.  Another example would be how the shining of the sun influences the temperature.  But what if somehow the moon no longer had an effect on the ocean or the sun did not shine?  The results would not be good.  God created things to be interconnected with some things having an effect on other things.  Our world is an amazing place when we understand how so many things have an influence on other things and if that influence would be removed negative consequences would follow.

King Joash reigned over Judah for forty years.  For a time he did well and followed God, but that only lasted as long as Jehoiada who was the priest at the time was alive.  The influence of Jehoiada was seen in how Joash lived and reigned and how that once Jehoiada the priest was gone things changed.  Joash went from being a good king to a bad king largely due to the people who influenced him.  He did what was good when he had the influence of Jehoiada the priest, but Joash became a bad king once Jehoiada died and Joash even ended up killing the next priest, who was Jehoiada's son!

God created us as individuals and while it is important for us to grow and mature spiritually so that we can stand on our own, we were never meant to live life alone.  Even people who are not believers in Jesus are aware that anyone who has no relationships, or only has bad relationships, will not do well.  We are all influenced by the people around us and we need to be sure the people we allow into our lives are good, godly people.  Christians are a part of the Body of Christ and we should be a positive influence by helping and encouraging one another; we all need to be a good influence on others.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Smoothing Out The Rough Spots

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 (NKJV)

Recently I was at the dentist having a cavity filled.  Dental work is not something that people necessarily look forward to but when something needs to be done just putting dental work off is not a good idea.  My dentist does a great job and I am always satisfied with the work that has been done.  But after this recent visit I noticed that something was not quite right.  The tooth that I had the work done on had a rough spot on it, a bump that needed to be smoothed down.  While I might have been able to just ignore the bump it was better to have it taken care of so there were no further problems.

One aspect of the Christian life that people do not necessarily look forward to or get excited about is in the area of spiritual growth.  Once we become a Christian and make the step to follow Jesus by receiving Him into our heart and life we start the process of spiritual growth.  As we walk with God there may be some rough spots in our life, some bumps along the way that need to be dealt with so there are no further problems in the future.  The way we take care of the bumps and smooth out the rough spots in our life is through the Word of God; God's Word is given to us to help us grow and develop spiritually.

Paul told Timothy that God's Word is profitable for our doctrine, for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness; it is what we need to show us the right things to believe, to help us avoid error, to correct us, and to guide us in our life.  The Word of God is necessary for us to live a successful Christian life because it will help us to grow and develop spiritual showing us the right and wrong in every aspect of our life.  God's Word was given to us so we would be complete (mature) and equipped for all that God has called us to do; we need to let God's Word help us smooth out the rough spots in our life.