Thursday, June 30, 2016

Choosing The Best

"But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Therefore tell her to help me.  
And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  
But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:40-42 (NKJV)

There is a class that I have taught in Bible school called Time Management and the title describes what the class is about, learning how to manage your time.  When I tell people that I teach this class they often respond by saying that learning to manage time is a subject they would like to hear more about.  Managing our time in the right way seems to be a more important topic than ever before because people somehow seem to have less time today than in the past.  But, our problem is not usually one of not having enough time or having too much to do, usually our problem is with the choices we make about how we spend our time.

One thing we can learn from the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 is about the importance of making right choices.  Every day we face choices about what we will do, how we will spend our time.  In the story about Mary and Martha we see that they both did something, so they had both made a choice.  Martha was busy serving and Mary was sitting, listening to Jesus.  While Martha had chosen something to do that was good, there was something at that time that was better.  It was not as though Martha had chosen to do something unimportant or was wasting time, it was that Mary had chosen what was best.

We can fill our time with activities, even good and godly activities, and never really make the right choices about how we spend our time.  Rather than allowing our time to be filled with just running from one thing to the next we need to take a look at how we spend our time in light of God's Word and His plan for our life.  Is what we are doing helping us to live out the Word of God in our life and accomplish what He wants us to do?  We need to base the priorities of how we spend our time on God's Word and His will.  It is our choice how we spend our time and we need to make the best choice.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

No Pressure

"And I have led you forty years in the wilderness.  Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet."
Deuteronomy 29:5 (NKJV)

Have you ever felt under pressure in a situation where it seemed like if you did not do everything right there would big problems?  There are some legitimate pressure situations that people do have to deal with, like a doctor performing surgery, a pilot flying an airplane, or someone operating a sensitive piece of equipment.  Most of the time, however, people are not in real pressure situations like this but they do feel like they are under pressure.  The reason we sometimes feel like this is because we believe that the outcome of our situation is depending completely on us and if we make a mistake we will end up with a disaster.

There are times in life where we do have to use some skill and ability to get a certain thing done, but generally speaking we often only feel pressured because we place too much emphasis on what we do and our own efforts.  We can have the same attitude in our relationship with God where we think everything depends on us and we forget how much God loves us and what Jesus has done for us.  The story of Israel in the wilderness is good to remember because even when they had done wrong God still took care of them.  They missed God's best and did suffer through some negative consequences, but God still found a way to work in their lives and help them.

God is so loving, gracious, and merciful that He did all He could to help Israel in spite of their failures and shortcomings.  This is not to say that it does not matter how we live or that disobeying God is alright, but too often we feel pressured in a situation because we think if we fail God will forsake us and we will be doomed.  Yes, we should live according to God's Word but we should also learn to rely on our wonderful Heavenly Father to be there to help us in every situation.  Next time you feel under pressure to perform in life remember everything that God has done through Jesus and realize that the pressure is off of us and good things are ahead!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Building Trust

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Some things can take longer to build than others and this can depend on a number of factors.  One thing that determines how long it will take to build something is the quality of what is being built.  You can build something very quickly, but most of the time those things do not have a very high quality to them.  It may take longer to build something the right way but it is always better to build something the best way possible so that it will stand the test of time and not be something that falls apart quickly.  In the same way, trust is not something that is normally built quickly but something that develops over time.

To trust someone means that you know them; the better you know someone the greater your trust can be.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says that we should trust in the Lord with all of our heart and acknowledge Him in all of our ways.  It can be easy to trust in the Lord a little bit and to trust in ourselves a lot and to acknowledge God in some ways but not in others.  In our walk with God it may seem that our level of trust in Him is very high, but when difficulties arise then we come to find out that we don't really trust in God and acknowledge Him as much as we thought we did.  The solution to this is to get to know God better through His Word and by spending time with Him in prayer.

It is one thing to know that the Bible says God does not lie (Hebrew 6:18), He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and He will supply everything we need (Philippians 4:19), but it is another thing to completely trust Him about these things.  To develop our trust in God we need to be in an intimate relationship with Him.  Then, no matter what happens in our life, we are confident that God will do exactly what He has already said because we completely trust Him.  Wherever you are in your walk with God take it to another level and learn to trust Him more than ever before.  Trusting in God and acknowledging Him in every area of our life is the best way to live!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Inspiration Or Perspiration?

"And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea."
Exodus 14:15-16 (NKJV)

Balance is very important.  If you lose your balance you might fall and get hurt.  If you are setting up stereo speaking you need to put them in the right place to balance the sound.  In religious circles there has been a debate for many years about the sovereignty of God and the will of man.  Some believe that because God is all powerful He can and will do whatever He wants to do, no matter what people might think or want to do for themselves.  Other people believe that while God is all powerful it is up to us who believe in God to act on His Word in faith and if we don't then God will not do anything. This is how things often are, there are two extremes and in the middle is where you find the truth.

Everything is not just up to God, inspiration, and everything is not just left to the work of man, perspiration; there is a part God plays and a part we must play.  While God is all powerful there are still some things that He wants us to do.  We repeatedly see situations in the Bible like what happened with Moses by the Red Sea, God had already given Moses something to use in the situation.  Moses had to stretch out the rod believing that God would do His part, but if Moses had never acted then God would have had nothing to work with.  The rod that Moses had was not some magic wand but it was symbolic of the power of God that would and had worked in the life of Moses.

Another example is in John 9 where Jesus put clay on the eyes of the blind man.  Jesus then told the man to go to the pool of Siloam and wash off the clay.  When the man did so he could see.  But what if Moses had not stretched out his rod, or the blind man had not gone to the pool?  Then neither one would have received what God intended.   In every situation God is ready to act but we must realize that it is not all up to the inspiration of God or the perspiration of man.  God's power alone or our work alone will not bring the right results, we must find our part and act on God's Word to receive the results we desire.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Deposits And Withdrawals

"Then He said to them, Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and things old."
Matthew 13:52 (NKJV)

There are many different banks and all of them have some unique characteristics and rules.  But, there is one rule that all banks have in common; if you want to withdraw money from an account you have to have money in the account.  That sounds pretty simple but people have been known to try and get more money out of their bank account than what they have in the account.  It is nice to be able to withdraw a lot of money from your account or to use your bank card for a purchase, but all of that is based on the idea that you have made some deposits in your account to cover the withdrawals.

In Matthew 13 Jesus compared a scribe to a householder.  Someone who owns a house would normally have some things in their house that they could bring out whenever they chose to do so.  Jesus said that a scribe, a person who spent their time studying the scriptures, who was taught about the things of the kingdom of heaven would also have some things that they could bring out.  In both cases, for a scribe or householder to bring something out of what they have, they first have to have it.  You can't give someone something you don't have and you can't bring something out that you have not first put in.

God's Word is filled with many wonderful things that will help us and other people, so we need to learn about everything that is in the Word.  As we spend time reading and studying God's Word we will make deposits into our heart that God can then bring out to help us and others.  But to bring out the truth we first have to know that truth.  John 14:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit will remind us of what Jesus has said, but to remember something means that you have already learned it.  By having some regular time of depositing God's Word into our life we will be ready for God to work in us and also through us to help others.