Thursday, September 29, 2016

How We Walk In Love

"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty, only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
Galatians 5:13-16 (NKJV)

Knowing what to do is one thing but knowing how to do it is another thing entirely.  You can hear about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercising but exactly how you do that is something else.  People can give you advice on the benefits of investing and saving money but where do you start with that and how do you do it effectively?  If you only know what to do but you don't know how to do it you are not really going to be able to succeed in what you need to do, we need both the what and the how of things.

Most Christians understand the idea that we are supposed to be kind and patient and walk in love with everyone.  But, if you ask believers how to do that you will get a lot of different answers.  We are told in Galatians 5 that we need to serve each other through love and that love fulfills that law, but exactly how does that work?  How can you walk in love with everyone, including the people that seem to do nothing but annoy you?  The good news is that God not only shows us what we need to do but He gives us the guidelines necessary to be able to do what He tells us to do and the help of the Holy Spirit to do it.

Galatians 5 tells us what to do and it also tells us how to do it.  We are told that if we only focus on our liberty, our side of things and what benefits us, we will just end up biting and devouring one another.  Insisting on our own rights and ways is yielding to our flesh.  But, if we follow the direction of the Spirit of God and follow the guidelines that God gives us in His Word then we will serve one another and not fall prey to the lusts of our flesh.  If we follow the flesh we will have chaos but if we follow the Spirit we will walk in love and produce the fruit of the Spirit.  The choice of what we follow is up to us and will determine if we walk in love or yield to the flesh.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Don't Go Down The Wrong Road

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
Proverbs 16:25 (NKJV)

In my phone I have an app for maps that also works as a navigation system.  When I am driving somewhere I can put in the address of where I am going and the navigation system tells me how to get to my destination.  What is interesting is that the navigation system also shows me alternate routes that take me to my destination, and while they may take longer these other roads still go to the same place.  But, not every available road is a road that will take me to my destination.  Some roads may have a nice name or look good but they will not help me reach my goal so I actually need to stay off of them to avoid any problems.

Proverbs 16:25 gives us some very good advice, some ways might seem good but they won't take you where you want to go, these wrong roads can lead you to trouble!  The Christian life has been compared to a race (Hebrews 12:1) and in any race there is a course.  No matter how the race is done, whether it is automobiles, bicycles, or a foot race, there will be a course to follow.  If someone goes off course they will not only fail to finish the race but their wrong route could lead them into danger.  As Christians, there are many ways we can do things in our life but the only guarantee of true and lasting success is to live a life based on the Word of God.

There are a lot of things people will tell you that you need to do to be a successful Christian, but if those things do not line up with the Bible then they will lead you down a wrong road.  Some people will tell you about things they say worked for them, but unless those things are Bible based there is a danger of going the wrong direction.  God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to direct us in life and if we follow what God has given us then we are guaranteed to have success.   If we follow other things, no matter how nice they may seem, we can be traveling down the wrong road and miss God's best.  God has a great plan for our lives but we will only find it by traveling the path He shows us in His Word.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Do You Have All The Puzzle Pieces?

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:11 (NKJV)

There are many different kinds of puzzles that you can put together to create a picture, usually these are called Jigsaw Puzzles because of how the pieces have been cut up.  Some puzzles are very simple and especially designed for children but other puzzles can be very complicated.  Some puzzles have very few pieces and some have thousands of pieces.  But, no matter what kind of puzzle or how many pieces it may have, the one thing that all puzzles have in common is that to get the right picture when the puzzle is completed you need to have all the pieces in the right place.

Although the Bible is not really a puzzle, in a way it is like a puzzle, to have the correct view of it you need to have all of the right pieces in the right places.  Too many people, including Christians, do not really know what the Bible says and so they struggle to understand who God is and what they need to do in their lives.  Acts 17:11 tells us about the Bereans and how they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they were hearing was really so.  They did not just rely on someone else to tell them what the Bible said, they found the puzzle pieces for themselves to get the right picture. 

These people in Berea were searching, daily, to check what was in the Bible and to have an accurate picture of God and His Word; they were checking to be sure that they had all the puzzle pieces necessary to get the right picture.  Too many Christians are not looking in the Bible daily, or even on a regular basis, and this only leads to problems.  We all need to determine that we will get a complete view of everything that God has said by having a regular time of reading and studying the Bible.  This is how we will have all of the pieces in the right place to get the right picture of God and His plan for our life!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

No Celebrity Treatment

"For there is no partiality with God."
Romans 2:11 (NKJV)

Have you ever seen the different magazines or even television shows the talk about celebrities and the lives they live?  Many people are fascinated by celebrities who seem to live in a different world than the rest of us do, they seem to live a life that most people never experience.  Celebrities often have people who help them with the food they eat, the clothes they wear, and who tell them how to do things to live the celebrity lifestyle.  It can be hard to imagine these celebrities working at some regular job or doing some everyday task because they seem to be in some different category than the rest of the world.

Some Christians have developed a celebrity type mentality when it comes to spiritual leaders thinking that they are not like other Christians.  One misconception that people have is that spiritual leaders are in some elite class of Christians and that is wrong.  Spiritual leaders are no more a Christian than anyone else, they simply have a different position and task in the Body of Christ.  Another misconception that people have is that spiritual leaders have some special deal with God and things in the Bible work differently for them than for the average Christian.  People often seem to think that some things will work for spiritual leaders but not for anyone else.

Romans 2 tells us that there is no partiality with God, He shows no favoritism and no one gets a special deal with Him.  God's Word applies the same to every believer and what God has done for one He will do for another.  Salvation works the same for every Christian as does being led by the Holy Spirit, getting answers to prayer, possessing the promises of God by faith, and so on.  If we have the idea that God will not work in our life the way He will for someone else we have been deceived because with God no one receives special, celebrity treatment; God's Word will work the same for everyone!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Was That Written To You?

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
Hebrews 8:6 (NKJV)

What if somehow you mistakenly were receiving emails or text messages that were meant for another person, what would you do?  Would you just keep reading the emails or messages and begin a correspondence with the other person and maybe start asking for their advice?  Most people in a situation like this would reply and let the sender know that they somehow have the wrong person.  This other person may be very nice and even have some encouraging or helpful things to say but those things were not really meant for you, those things were written for someone else.

Today, because of Jesus, we have a new covenant with God.  Through His death on the cross Jesus opened the way for all mankind to have access to God; now we just need to put our confidence in the work of Jesus and be born again.  In the Bible we have the Old Testament, the old covenant, and the New Testament, the new covenant.  Jesus came to bring us this new and better covenant.  It is vital that Christians become familiar with and base their life primarily on the New Testament, the new covenant.  This is not to say that we completely reject the Old Testament, but we must realize that the New Testament was written directly to us.

Under the old covenant no one could be born again and have their sins washed away as we have in the new covenant.  We have a completely different relationship with God than the people in the Old Testament had.  The Old Testament was written to give us natural examples of the spiritual truth that we find in the New Testament.  If we do not spend the majority of our time with the New Testament we may develop an inaccurate view of our relationship with God and what belongs to us today as Christians.  To fully live out the life that God has provided for us through Jesus we need to live in the New Testament, that is what was written to us!