Thursday, August 25, 2016

Job Descriptions

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)

Many companies today have job descriptions for their employees.  The purpose of a job description is to give someone guidelines about what they will do for their employer.  Very often the job description fits with the qualifications that the employee has and sometimes to even get hired a person has to be able to carry out all of the tasks given in the job description.  Someone's job description shows you what they do and who they are.  If someone's job description is to clean the bathroom he would not be a cook and if someone's job description was to cook he would not be the cleaning person.

In John 10:10 Jesus gave us what we could call some job descriptions.  Jesus said that the thief, talking about the devil, only comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  Those are the things that the devil does and we can see that all of those things are bad.  Jesus said the He came to give people life, a more abundant life, and that is a good thing.  But people have sometimes thought that if something bad happens to them that it just might be something that God did for some mysterious reason.  But, according to the "job descriptions" we see in John 10:10, the devil does bad things and Jesus does good things.

Acts 10:38 says that Jesus was anointed by God to do good and heal people who were oppressed by the devil.  Here we see again that Jesus does good and heals while the devil is the one who brings sickness and oppression.  1 Corinthians 14:33 and 1 Timothy 1:7 tell us that confusion and fear do not come from God but peace and love do.  The Bible gives us a clear understanding of what Jesus does while exposing the tactics of the devil.  We need to accurately know who Jesus is and what He is like to live the abundant life that Jesus came to bring us.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Finish In Faith

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Romans 4:20-21 (NKJV)

Where you finish is much more important than where you start, this is true in many different settings.  In auto racing a driver may start in the pole position but have a bad race and even end up in last place.  On the other hand, someone could start in last place and do well enough to finish in first place.  Another example would be learning some new skill or studying a subject in school.  When you start you would obviously not know how to perform the skill or you would not understand the subject, but if you applied yourself you could master the skill and learn the subject.

In Romans 4 we read about the promise that God gave to Abraham about having a son. When God first gave this promise to Abraham in Genesis 17, Abraham fell on the ground laughing! In Genesis 18 we see that Sarah also laughed when she first heard God's promise of a son.  Laughing at the promise of God does not sound like something someone who believes what God says does, it sounds like someone who does not believe what was said. The good news is that after Abraham's initial reaction he did become strong in faith.  Abraham and Sarah did not start so well but they did finish in faith.

At first Abraham did not believe what God had said. But Abraham developed in his faith to the point that he was not laughing at the promise but expecting the fulfillment. How about you? What is happening in your life and what does God's Word have to say about it? You may look at God's Word and what God has said about your situation and it looks as impossible as God's promise did to Abraham. But if you continue to focus on what God has said and continue to speak God's Word, you too can finish in faith and receive the fulfillment of the promise and then you will really have something to laugh and rejoice about!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Giant Killers

Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.
1 Samuel 17:36 (NKJV)

Smart phones are great because there are so many different things that they can do, especially through their apps.   One app on my phone that I really like is the weather app.  Almost every day I use this so I can be ready for whatever weather I might face that day.  Knowing in advance if it is going to be hot or cold or it if will rain is a big help.  The weather app is great and what would even be better is if there was some app that could show future events we will deal with so that we could be ready ahead of time.  Unfortunately, no such app exists that can predict the future for us, but there is something we can do to be ready for our future.

Just about everyone has had some experience where if they knew about it ahead of time it would have been great because then they could have prepared and been ready for it.  We certainly don't go looking for problems in life but they will come anyway and we are often taken completely by surprise.  In the story about David and Goliath, David did not go looking for Goliath.  But, when David met the giant, in the normal course of his life, David was ready.  How was David able to fight and defeat Goliath, how did he prepare?  Did David go to giant killer school?  What did David do to be ready for this situation?

David was ready to fight Goliath because David had been doing other things that helped to prepare him, like defending sheep from a lion and a bear.  In the same way, God will bring us opportunities to do things that will help us grow and develop spiritually so when problems come we are ready for them.  Too many Christians wait until they face a challenge before they do anything for their spiritual development.  God will bring us opportunities today to prepare us for tomorrow.  By following the leading of the Holy Spirit, taking advantage of opportunities that God brings us, and being faithful to do what God has called us to do, we too can be giant killers!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The First Step

Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 
Colossians 1:12 (NKJV)

With every journey or trip that we make and with everything that we do there is a start, there is a first step.  If we don't take the first step, we will never get started and if we try right away to take the second step instead of the first step we will have problems or be unsuccessful in what we are trying to do.  If we count to 10 we have to start with the number 1, if we want to recite the alphabet we have to start with the letter "a".  How we begin our journey and how we start the things we do will have a direct influence on the rest of the journey and the complete work we are doing.

It is wonderful to read in the Bible about all of the things that God has done for us through Jesus, about how God has great plans for our future, and how God will always lead us in triumph.  But, the first step in all of those areas is not what God has done but how we view ourselves in relation to those different things.  For many people the first and biggest step in living a life filled with the best that God has is to believe that this is really something that is available to them.  Over the years I have talked to many people who were familiar with what the Bible says but who thought that for some reason they don't qualify.

The first tactic the devil will try to use against us is to keep us ignorant of what the Bible says.  If the devil fails to keep us from discovering the truth, then his next tactic is to make us think that somehow we do not qualify or are not good enough for what God has.  But, the things that God has for us are not based on who we are and what we have done but who God is and what Jesus has done.  Our first step in living the God kind of life that Jesus came to bring us is to realize that everything God has said is available to us through faith because of Jesus; Jesus qualified us to receive the blessings of God.