Thursday, July 28, 2016

Who Do You Know?

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.  Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NKJV)

Not knowing who you are is a bad thing.  Knowing who we really are is important and losing your memory is not something to be taken lightly.  If somehow you lost your memory and completely forgot who you were it could create some major problems.  But what if somehow, someone could convince you that you are not who you really are?  What if you met a person who claimed you were somehow tricked into thinking you are not who you really are?  If this person could convince you that your identity was something other than what it really is it would be that same as losing your memory and not knowing who you are.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul made an interesting comment when he said that at one time we only knew Jesus according to the flesh.  Paul was saying that while he and others once only knew Jesus in a natural way that now they know Him for who He really is.  Paul went on to say that from now on he would not just consider who someone is based on the natural side of life.  Paul was talking about the fact that we need to see Jesus, other people, and even ourselves from a spiritual perspective.  If we only know Jesus, others, and ourselves from a natural point of view we will have some problems.

Some only know who Jesus is naturally, a teacher who did some good things.  But, if we know who Jesus really is and that He died on the cross for our sin that is a different perspective that will change our life!  If we only see ourselves from the natural point of view, we will not know who we really are.  Who we really are is found in Christ, we are a new creation in Christ.  God has given us His Word to help us understand who we really are based on our true identity in Christ.  If we only know about the natural side of who we are we are living under a mistaken identity and that will cause us to live below the best that God intended for us to have.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fruit Or Fun?

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 (NKJV)

There are things people do because they have to do them, but there are other things people do that they like to do and they look forward to doing them.  Many people have a job they dislike but look forward to their weekends and vacation because that is when they can do what they like and have fun.  Some people are fortunate enough to have a job that they enjoy but even then there are often aspects of that job they are not happy with.  It usually seems as though our work and the things we enjoy do not go together and most of the time we have to choose between one or the other.

Often Christians have difficulties because ideas and concepts from the world get into their thinking.  Many Christians either completely believe, or they at least accept the idea, that we can either serve God and do His will or we can have a wonderful life.  For many Christians the idea the Jesus came to give us an abundant life is something that they only consider for their personal well-being and it is not usually seen as having anything to do with the Church or serving God.  Too often people, including Christians, think that Christians have to choose between bearing fruit for God or having fun in life; the good news is that we can have both. 

When Jesus talked about people having an abundant life He was talking about a life lived fulfilling the will of God.  Too many people try to live a life fulfilling their own wishes and desires, not realizing that by following God's plan for their life they would not only be in line with the purpose that God created them for but that as they follow God all of their personal goals would also be fulfilled (Matthew 6:33).   God created us for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10), He has given us a gift to use for His glory (1 Peter 4:10), and His plans for us are always good (Jeremiah 29:11).  Living a godly life should include both fruit and fun.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What Did God Say?

"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"
And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"
Genesis 3:1-3 (NKJV)

Good communication is wonderful and miscommunication can cause problems.  Communication is more than the words we speak, it is also how we say those words and our intention behind them.  It is important to be clear with what we say and it is equally important that we understand what was said.  Reflective Listening is a communication method that involves the person listening repeating back to the speaker what they believe was just said to make sure the message was clearly understood.  This can be a good way to make sure that what was said and what was heard are the same so that there is no miscommunication.

Most people know the story of Adam and Eve and how the serpent talked to Eve.  It is interesting to see how a misunderstanding of what God had actually said created such a huge problem.  We can see the strategy of the devil, who was speaking through the serpent, as he worked to deceive Eve by questioning what God had said.  But, the real problem started when Eve, who should have known better, misquoted what God had said and how even Adam who was there with Eve did not correct the misquote.  Unfortunately, today people are still misunderstanding and misquoting what God has said and creating problems.

The importance of accurately understanding what God has said cannot be overstated.  Sometimes people talk about what they say comes from the Bible but it is either a misunderstanding of what God has said or not something God ever actually said!  We put ourselves and others in great danger spiritually and even naturally when we misrepresent what God has said.  We need to be sure we know what God has really said and not just what our interpretation of what He said is.  A steady, continual diet of reading and studying God's Word is the way to combat this problem.  Rightly understanding what God has said will help us and the people around us.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sowing And Reaping

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will reap everlasting life."
Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV)

The are some general principles in life that will always work no matter what.  For example, every morning the sun will rise and every evening the sun will set.  No matter what you think about it, no matter how you feel about, or what others might say about it, this is going to happen.  In the same way, if you drop something it will travel downward, because of gravity; if you save and invest money you will end up with more money in the long run than you had when you started saving and investing your money.  The things we sow in life, what we do, will produce results.

People often think of the principle of sowing and reaping only in connection with money, but it works in many different areas.  The principle of sowing and reaping is something that God has established and no matter what people want to think about it, that principle is going to work.  The Bible says that God is not going to be mocked concerning this principle.  One Greek dictionary defines the Greek word used here for "mocked" as "to turn up the nose at".  In other words, some people may think little of this, or even scoff at the principle of sowing and reaping, but it still works.  What you reap is based on what you sow.

Galatians 6:7-8 talks about sowing and reaping, especially in the area of spiritual things.  While this principle can be taken in a negative way with showing how people will reap bad results by sowing wrong actions, the positive side of this works just as well.  As we spend time doing godly things others may look at us thinking we are wasting our time.  But, God's standards and principles always work and we will reap rewards for the things we do.  We may not always reap an instant harvest of what we have sown, but as we continue to follow the Word of God we will reap the positive consequences.  As we carry out the will of God in our lives there will be rich rewards.