Thursday, December 31, 2015

Brighter And Brighter

"But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day."
Proverbs 4:18 (NKJV)

Have you ever bought a product that claimed to be better than before but you found out that it actually wasn't any different?  Have you ever updated an app only to find out that the supposedly improved version of the app was really the same as what you had before, or maybe even worse?  Sometimes with what we buy, the things we use, and even in our life it seems like we get stuck or hit a high point and go down after that; it seems that things do not get better and better but they either stay the same or they get worse.  Sometimes that's how things are, but is that the way they should be?

Some Christians seem to view their relationship with God like being on a treadmill.  Something is happening, there is some activity going on, sometimes things move faster or slower, but it is all pretty much the same year after year.  Even though there may be highs and lows, things are not too much different today for some believers in their walk with God than they were last year, or maybe things even seem worse.  But we can, and should, have a better relationship with God and a better Christian life today and in the next year than we ever did in the past; that is how God wants us to live.

Proverbs 4 talks about the path of the just, their course in life, getting brighter and brighter.  As Christians, those who are justified and made right with God through the blood of Jesus, our life should improve each year and never stagnate, and definitely not get worse.  Our relationship with God can have a greater depth this year than last year, we can learn more, give more, and do more than ever before because God's plan for us is to improve and develop year after year.  Expect your life to be brighter this year than ever before as you continue to develop in your walk with God and His plan for your life.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Shining Star

"When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy."
Matthew 2:9, 10 (NKJV)

Matthew 2:1-10 gives us a familiar Christmas story about how wise men came from the east to see Jesus.  It is very likely that this was actually a large group of men who made the long journey and it is also quite possible that these wise men were of some high rank since they had access to King Herod to ask about the star.  Why did these men come to Jerusalem?  No doubt they were familiar with the scriptures concerning the Messiah and with Numbers 24:17 that refers to the Messiah as a Star rising out of Israel; but it was the star in the sky that actually led them to Jesus.

People are searching for truth today and they are looking for answers.  Problems come to everyone sooner or later and if people are not facing difficulties from external problems they are dealing with questions, despair, loneliness, depression, and other issues.  The thing these people need is someone to guide them to the source of the answers to their problems, which is Jesus.  The wise men were looking for Jesus, they just needed direction and that came from the star they followed.  Today people need someone to be the guide that helps to bring them to Jesus, that someone is you and me!

Matthew 5:14-16 says that we are the light of the world; we use a light to see and help us find our way, we are the light shining in the world today to show people the way to Jesus.  Putting a light into a dark room enables you to see where you are going, it guides you.  We need to be a guide to lead people to Jesus just like the star led the wise men.  Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, but in the midst of our celebration let's not forget that we need to be an example to the world to show them the true source of joy, Jesus!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Desire The Word

"Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,"
1 Peter 2:1, 2 (NKJV)

There is one fact that everyone who has a baby, or anyone who has seen a baby knows, babies get hungry, often.  Once a baby is born they don't do too much other than eat.  If a baby does not get their food when they want it, then they will cry and let you know, there is no mystery about it.  When it is hungry, a baby wants to eat; babies will even wake up in the middle of the night and want to eat.  It can be a sunny day, rainy day, hot, or cold but it does not matter because that baby still wants to eat.  It seems that just about all the baby ever wants to do is to eat.

Peter makes an interesting comparison between our desiring the Word of God and a baby desiring milk.  Peter talks about our putting aside some negative, ungodly things and instead choosing the Word in the same way that a baby chooses milk over everything else.  Just like a newborn baby wants to eat and will not be satisfied until they do eat we need to have a desire, a craving, for the Word.  God's Word will help us to grow, but if we neglect the Word we will hinder our spiritual development.  Still, for some Christians having a strong desire for the Word is something foreign to them.

Some believers have filled themselves with other things that have spoiled their hunger, so to speak, for God's Word.  Many people have neglected the Word for so long or have heard it mixed with non-biblical teachings to the point that God's Word is an afterthought to them.  But if we spend time reading the Word and getting to know God through it our perspective would change.  By spending time with the Word we will find ourselves being drawn more and more to it, just as a baby desires milk we too will desire the Word.  What are you craving today, is it God's Word or something else?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Let's Remember

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you; that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes."
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NKJV)

If you have ever taken a trip to popular tourist destination you have probably seen souvenir stands selling all kinds of things that are associated with that place or some famous landmark there.  When people buy these souvenirs it is normally not because the souvenir is so valuable or that it even meets a need in their life.  People buy souvenirs to remember their trip and to remind themselves about all of the wonderful things that happened during that time, it is all about remembering.

For many Christians, Communion (or as some call it, the Lord's Supper) is nothing more than a ritual with no real significance to it.  Others have ideas, some of them not even biblical, about the meaning behind Communion.  Still other believers argue about how often someone should have Communion or exactly what someone should eat or drink during this time.  The problem with all of that is that the true meaning behind Communion and what it should mean for us today is lost.

Paul said that as often as we take Communion we are proclaiming the Lord's death; it is a time to remember what Jesus did for us.  It is not a time for us to think about our past mistakes and failures but to remember that through the blood of Jesus we have been forgiven.  Communion is about remembering that God loved us so much He sent His only Son to die for us.  The next time you receive Communion make it a time of remembering all of the wonderful things that Jesus has done.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Teach Your Mouth What To Say

"The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips."
Proverbs 16:23 (NKJV)

If you were interested in getting physically fit you might hire a personal trainer to design a set of exercises to help you reach your goal.  That person could also monitor your progress and help you make any necessary corrections.  If you needed to learn how to drive you would find a qualified driving instructor to give you lessons on how to drive a car and they could ride along with you during the learning process to help you.  If you wanted to learn another language you could go to a school or even hire a private teacher to help you with the language and give you advice on how to speak the language.

One area that everyone can use help with is with the words we speak.  Our words are very important, which is why we see over and over again in the Bible an emphasis on being sure we speak the right words.  How do we know the right words to speak?  The first way is by seeing what God Himself has said about us and our life in His Word, the Bible.  Secondly, the Holy Spirit will help to guide us into speaking the right words.  However, even though the Bible shows us what to say and the Holy Spirit will direct us about what to say it is still up to us to say the right thing, we must choose the right words.

Proverbs 16:23 gives us the answer to how this will work in our life.  From our heart, our inner man, our spirit, we must teach and train our mouth about the right things to say.  We should never allow our mouth to just express whatever might come to our mind or repeat anything we hear.  We must keep a constant vigil over our words to be sure that what we speak is in line with God's Word.  We must fill ourselves with God's Words and choose the right words to speak in every situation; God will help us, but from our heart we must direct our mouth about what to say.