Thursday, April 27, 2017

Start Small, Finish Big

"Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly."
Job 8:7 (NKJV)

Normally, the way something starts is not the best indication of how it will end or what the final result will be.  One brick can be the beginning of a huge cathedral, one small seed can be the start of a large tree, and one dollar in the bank can be the first step towards financial stability.  If we judge the future of things just by the beginning we can have a wrong perspective that can hinder the development of that very thing.  If we think one brick is not enough for a building we may never start the construction, one seed may look too small to plant, and one dollar can be spent as easily as it is saved or invested.

One thing that is great about God is that no matter where we are now there is room for improvement.  No matter what things look like now, no matter how dark things may seem, and no matter how far away we may be from our goal, with God on our side all things are possible.  God's plan for us is to have a bright future.  But, if we try to judge our future by our present circumstances we could lose all hope for a successful outcome in our situation.  We may be in a place that is nowhere near where we should be or where we want to be, but, we don't have to stay where we are forever.

Job 8:7 says that while we may have a small beginning things can increase before the end.  Even if what we have now and where we are seems too small, God can bring an increase.  In Zechariah 4:10 it asks a question about who has despised the day of small things.   The answer is that probably all of us have done this at one point or another.  But, we need to change our focus from our current position to the possibility that only God can give.  If we partner with God He can help us increase from where we are, just as if we leave God out of our life we can be sure things will not improve.  God can make something big out of something small!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Greatest Show On Earth

"and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come"
Ephesians 1:19-21 (NKJV)

The phrase "The Greatest Show On Earth" has been used as the title of a film, a slogan for more than one circus, the name of several songs, as well as in a few other contexts.  The idea of the phrase is to describe some amazing event that is at the top of its field, an event so incredible that no matter where you look in the rest of the world you cannot find anything that will top it.  But, as with most slogans and advertisements the actual event does not always live up to the hype.  Anyone can say that something is the greatest whatever and be completely wrong.

There is one event that took place in history that could truly be called the greatest show on earth, something that happened that cannot be topped or even repeated because of its immense magnitude.  When the Bible talks about the resurrection of Jesus, we are told of how this happened by the working of the mighty power of God.  The Bible shows us that when Jesus rose from the dead it was not just an act whereby He overcame natural death, but He overcame sin and spiritual death as well.  We also learn that Jesus was exalted to the position of honor and authority at the right hand of God. 

The power that raised Jesus from the dead is not something that only worked in that one situation.  God did not focus all of His power on resurrecting Jesus and then somehow turn that power off or decide to never use it again.  That same power that worked in Jesus is available for us today to not only save us and deliver us from spiritual death and the work of the devil, but the power of God is available to us for healing, deliverance, and preservation. The power of God raised up Jesus in what could truly be called the greatest show that ever took place on the earth.  The best part of the story is that this power is still available and working for us today!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Resurrection Authority

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,"
Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV)

Several years ago, I went to a lawyer to have the necessary papers drawn up to give my mother power of attorney for me.  The main reason I did this was because there are times when I am in Europe that something needs to be done for me in the USA.  With the power of attorney, my mother can sign documents for me and take care of things that concern me while I am in Europe as if I were present in the USA.  Although I may not be physically located where the work needs to be done, my mother can do those things for me because of the authority granted her through the power of attorney.

When we talk about what we celebrate at Easter, most people know about Jesus being crucified, placed in a tomb, and then resurrected on the third day by the power of God.  But what most people don't realize is that just as Jesus was taken up and placed at the right hand of God, we too were spiritually placed in the same position with Him.  What does this mean for us?  To put it simply, Jesus defeated the devil and gave us the right and ability to enforce the devil's defeat.  Because of the resurrection of Jesus, Satan no longer has any right to hold us down in life and to defeat us.

Because Adam disobeyed God, sin entered the world and sin separates man from God.  Until the death and resurrection of Jesus, Satan had a legal right, because of Adam's disobedience, to enforce the penalty of sin on mankind.  But Jesus raised us up above all that by paying the ultimate price for our sin and by being the perfect sacrifice.  This means that we can live victoriously in every area of our lives.  Sadly, most Christians never grasp this concept and live defeated lives.  But thank God, through Jesus, we have authority and we are more than conquerors; today we have resurrection authority!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A "Must Have"

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJV)

There are some things that are considered so necessary that they are often called a "must have", something you can't do without.  These are things that are absolutely essential to the situation.  For example, if you are interested in traveling to another country you must have a passport, without a passport you are not even allowed to leave your country.  Another example would be having fuel in your car.  You can have the nicest, newest car around but if you don't have the necessary fuel your car will not move.  Or you could have the latest telephone with the latest technology, but without a network connection it is useless.

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul talked about something that is a must have for success in the life of a believer, love in everything we say and do.  When Paul wrote about love, he was not talking about what most people commonly refer to as love, Paul was writing about the love of God, not some emotion.  In Romans 5:5 we learn that the love of God is in us and because of this we can, and should, operate in God's love.  Anything that we do or say that is outside of the love of God will not really benefit us, or anyone else.  No matter what we do, if we do it outside of love it will not have the results it should have.

Paul talked about having the ability to speak the most wonderful words, but without love it would all be just noise.  Paul said we could have knowledge, understanding, and faith, but without love it would still amount to nothing.  Paul also told us how we could do the greatest acts of kindness and charity, but without love there is no benefit to us.  There are many things that we can do that are good, but without the right motive behind it, without love, those things would mean nothing.  Love is something that is "must have" for Christians, it is essential for everything that we say and do.