Thursday, February 23, 2017

Starving In The Grocery Store

"Your words were found, and I ate them, and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts."
Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV)

There are a lot of places you can go to get food.  You can go to a restaurant to get some food that is already prepared and ready to eat, or you can go to a place like a grocery store to buy food to prepare for yourself.  But whether you are in a restaurant, in a grocery store, or at home with some food you still need to eat the food once you have it.  It would be very strange to be in a restaurant or a grocery store and be surrounded by food and die of starvation by simply not eating anything.  But, while it would be very unusual, it is theoretically possible to be surrounded by food and still not have enough to eat.

We can own Bibles and good books that teach us about biblical principles, we can have lots of wonderful audio and video teaching from men and women of God, and we can be in the best church in the world with the best pastor and still not benefit from these things.  No matter how much good teaching we have from God's Word it will not help us unless we "eat it" by accepting it into our heart and putting it into use in our life.  Just like it is theoretically possible to starve to death in a grocery store, we can be a spiritual failure by not taking advantage of the good teaching we are being provided.

The best way for us to receive truth from the Word of God is by feeding ourselves on the Bible itself.  But, we can and should also take advantage of the various methods of receiving the great teaching that is available to us today.  It is a tragic but true fact that there is more access to God's Word and great teaching today than ever before.  But in spite of this many, many believers are suffering from spiritual malnutrition and are not taking in enough spiritual food to sustain their spiritual life, which in turn harms their natural life.  We need to come to God's Word, in whatever form we hear it, ready to receive and apply the truth that is taught.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover

"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement."
John 7:24 (NKJV)

The saying that "You can't judge a book by its cover" goes back over 100 years and it is an idiom that many people are familiar with.  How something looks on the outside, or at first glance, may not be a true representation of what that thing is really like.  This principle is true in many areas, including with people.  When you first meet a person, you may form an opinion of them that later proves to be wrong.  We know that it takes more than a few minutes to really get to know someone, but is there was way that we can get to know what someone is really like?

Some people say that we should not judge other people.  In a way that is correct, but in another way it is not.  While we do not have the right to condemn other people and judge them for their mistakes or things that we might think they have done wrong, we need to make a correct judgement about people as to who they really are.  Jesus said in John 7:24 that we do not judge people or things by appearance, but we must make a righteous, a correct, judgment.  We don't base our assessment of people on what we see outwardly, but we must focus on their actual character and what they have on the inside.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 that it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks and in Mark 7:16 Jesus said we would know people by their fruits, by what is produced in their lives.  We need to be wise and discerning with people and not be deceived by just one statement or action that is made.  You can learn a lot about someone by listening to what they say and watching how they act over a period of time; this is how we can make a correct determination of that person and who they really are.  God wants us to have good relationships with the right people and being able to correctly know who people are will help us make right choices in our relationships.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dramatic Direction?

"Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord."  And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;
and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."
1 Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV)

Fireworks are often used to celebrate special events.  At the start of a New Year, on national holidays, and other celebrations, dramatic displays of fireworks are put on that thrill the crowds.  Other times there might be big parades or a unique activity used to mark the special day.  Everyone likes the fireworks, parades, and the special events surrounding them.  But, even if there were not any fireworks it would not change the significance of the event.  If there were no parades on the 4th of July in the USA it would still be the day that marks the independence of the nation.

We all like special, amazing, and dramatic events and everything that goes with them.  But, if we are only focused on the special and amazing things we might miss something that is actually very important.  This can happen in regard to significant events or national holidays, but it can also happen in listening to and following God's direction for our life.  We might think that something amazing or dramatic has to happen whenever God wants to give us guidance, but His leading can be a simple as remembering a verse from the Bible or an idea that comes to us when we had not previously been thinking about the subject relating to it.

In the story about Elijah in 1 Kings 19 there were a lot of amazing things happening, but none of those things involved God.  God gave Elijah wisdom about what to do and direction for his life through a still small voice, without any fireworks.  If Elijah had only paid attention to the dramatic things happening around him he would have missed what God was trying to tell him.  God wants to guide us in life but we must realize that His leading will most often be something like a still small voice in comparison to the other things that might be happening around us.  God wants to give us the wisdom and direction we need for our life, but it may not come in some dramatic form.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Who Do You Trust?

"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."
Psalm 118:8 (NKJV)

There are a lot of things that people put their trust and confidence in.  Some people have a great deal of trust in the stock market and economic statistics, whether these things are up or down has an impact on these people.  Some people have a lot of confidence in their job, their friends, their family, the government, and even their church.  The problem is, our job, friends, family, the government, and even our local church can make a mistake or let us down.  If our trust is built on any of these things, we can be greatly shaken when they do something that disappoints us or causes us problems.

While it is not wrong to trust people or organizations and get involved with them, we cannot put all of our trust or confidence in them.  It is easy to get focused on people or organizations and expect them to help us and take care of us instead of trusting God and putting our faith in Him and His Word.  But, if we put our trust and confidence in people or organizations we will always end up being disappointed.  Some Christians have more trust in people and organizations than they do in God because they know those people or organizations better than they do God.  It can be easy to trust someone or something we can see and feel rather than our unseen Heavenly Father.

Trust is built through relationship, the better you know someone and the more time you spend with them the more you are able to trust them.  It is not wise to put a great deal of trust in someone you do not know very well.  But, once you have spent some time with this person and you get to know them, then you can see if this person is trustworthy or not.  We need to spend time getting to know God through His Word and by spending time with Him in prayer so that we can have an unshakable trust in Him for every area of our lives.  God is our source for what we need in life and we must always look to Him as our Provider and Guide.