Thursday, April 28, 2016

Great Minds Think Alike

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)

In my lifetime I have met people from all over the world and from all walks of life.  There have been several times when I have met someone who was very successful in the business world or in ministry.  One thing I have noticed with these successful people is that they have a different way of thinking than most people do.  There were times when I was in a conversation with someone who was successful where I realized that how they thought and how I thought was very different and I wanted to think more like them; to have their kind success I realized I had to change my thinking.

Some people have the idea that God and His thoughts are completely unknowable to us; God certainly has different thoughts than we do but we can change how we think.  How does God think, what kind of thoughts does He have?  Does God look at situations and think He will fail or does God have thoughts of success?  Does God have depressed and fearful thoughts or does God have thoughts of peace?  Does God look at people and think that they will never change or does God think He can help people?  While it is true that He is God and we are not, God has given us His Word to help us change how we think to be more like Him.

To live a successful life our thoughts must become more like God's thoughts, this is something the Bible calls renewing the mind (Romans 12:2).  Reading and studying the Bible can change how we think, which will change how we live. As we fill our mind with the Word of God we are filling ourselves with God's thoughts.  We may have old thought patterns from the past that are holding us back from doing the things that God wants us to do and that is why we need to change how we think.  As our thoughts become more like God's thoughts we will see changes happening in our lives as we are transformed to become more like Him.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Where's The Fruit?

"because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;"
Colossians 1:5-6 (NKJV)

Several years ago there was a humorous and well know television commercial that featured a couple of elderly ladies at a fast food restaurant.  They had ordered some hamburgers but when they received their order, one of the ladies looked at the hamburger with disappointment and said, "Where's the beef?" because the hamburger patty was so small.  She was obviously expecting something bigger and better.  Her idea was that by ordering this hamburger it would include much more beef than what she had received; for a hamburger to be a good hamburger there has to be some good beef.

When someone gives their life to Jesus there is a spiritual transformation, they become a new creation in Christ.  While there may not be any outward evidence of this at first the Bible is very clear that every believer should have some fruit in their life, an outward demonstration of the inward change that has taken place.  Paul wrote to the people in Colosse that the Gospel was "bringing forth fruit" in all the world as well as in them.  The words Paul used here in the original Greek show a continual process that is taking place.  Just as fruit is produced on a healthy plant there should be fruit seen in the life of a healthy Christian.

Why is it that some Christians seem to produce an abundance of fruit while others seem to have no fruit at all?  We can find an answer for this in Colossians 1:5 where Paul talked about the word of the truth of the Gospel.  Some people do not produce fruit because what they spend their time with is not the truth of the Gospel; they are producing something but it is not fruit for the Kingdom of God.  We need God's Word to help us grow and develop spiritually so that the life of God on the inside of us is seen on the outside.  So what about us?  When people look at our life do they see fruit or do they ask, where's the fruit?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Is It My Will Or God's Will?

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

Over my years of traveling I have gone through dozens of airports in different states and countries.  In some ways all airports are very similar and in some ways they are different.  There have been times that I was in an airport looking for the right concourse and gate for my flight when I have not been sure exactly which direction to go.  Sometimes because airports look so similar I think I should go one way when actually I need to go in a different direction.  If I had not checked the information that was provided I could have gotten lost thinking I was going the right way when really I was going the wrong way.

One of the biggest questions that Christians have about the will of God is if the direction that they have is from God or if it is from them.  Sometimes people even wonder, "Was that from God, me, or the devil?" when they have some idea about what to do.  The Bible says that as believers we are led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14).  The problem we have with decisions that we need to make is that we have trouble separating our own ideas and thoughts from the ideas that God gives us, or even from what the devil might say.  We are often very familiar with our own thoughts and emotions but not so familiar with the leading of the Holy Spirit.

We can have a hard time distinguishing between what God is saying and what our own thoughts and emotions are saying, not because God is not speaking to us but because we do not recognize His voice, His leading.  This is where the Bible can help us.  The Holy Spirit guided people to write the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21) and so God will speak to us through His Word.  By spending time in the Bible we not only become more familiar with God and His ways, which helps us know the direction God wants us to go, but we learn to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us.  As we spend time in the Word of God the will of God in our heart becomes clearer and clearer.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Need To Know Basis

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
John 16:12-13 (NKJV)

Sometimes I like to watch movies about spies and espionage.  Often in these movies there is someone on a mission to right some wrong or even save the world.  The main character sometimes runs into a situation where things are not what they seem to be because of something else that is going on.  When the main character asks their superiors about what is happening the response sometimes is that they are asking about information that is only available on a need to know basis and the information that the character currently has is all they need to know to get their job done.

God has a purpose for each of our lives; we do not need to be in some teaching or preaching ministry leading a church or organization for God to have a plan for our life.  No matter who you are or what you are doing for God there is a plan and a purpose that needs to be followed.  God has given us His Word and He has sent His Holy Spirit to live in us to help us and to guide us.  Everything we need for our success in life has already been provided for us through Jesus.  But there are times that we feel like we are missing information and we want something more from God.  This is when we need to realize that God has us on a need to know basis.

Before Jesus went to the cross He told His disciples that there were still many things He needed to say to them, but they were not ready to hear those things.  The good news is that Jesus did not stop there but He said that the Holy Spirit would come to help us and to guide us into all truth.  The question is, what truth, what information do we need from God to do what He is calling us to do?  There may be things we want God to talk to us about but that is information that we don't need to know.  We need to operate in the truth that we do have from God and trust the Holy Spirit to give us the truth we need as we need it.  Whatever God is calling us to do, we need to realize that He knows best and will give us whatever we need when and if we need it.