Thursday, December 28, 2017

Subject To Change Without Notice

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content:"
Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)

There is a saying about something being "set in stone" that refers to something that is settled, something that is not going to change.  This is the opposite of the phrase, "Subject to change without notice", which refers to something that could possibly be altered and how that could even happen without prior warning.  If given a choice, most people would prefer something "set in stone" to something that is "subject to change without notice", but the reality is that there are many things in life that can be subject to change and we have no control over those things, the only thing we can truly control is how we respond to change. 

None of us, when we are born, received a guidebook for life that showed us everything that would take place, when, or how it would happen.  But, if we had, it may have had something written on the cover like, "this is not set in stone" or "subject to change without notice".  This is because life is full of things that are subject to change.  It is not a question of whether there will be any changes in our life, but it is a matter of our learning to be able to deal with the inevitable changes we will all face as well as being at peace and having joy no matter what comes.

Some people like the security they have in their way of life, they think they know exactly how things should be, so they don't like it when things change, they become inflexible.  When something new comes along that challenges their set ideas they resist a change, even if it is for the better.  This does not mean, however, that every time something new comes along we change what we are doing, that is not being flexible, that is being gullible.  As we go through life, and especially as we come to a New Year, we need to have a proper attitude about things by not only realizing that things will change but that sometimes a change is necessary.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Christmas Spirit?

"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
Luke 6:38 (NKJV)

Every year around Christmas, and as the current year draws to a close, you can find different organizations asking people for donations and gifts.  One reason this happens is because people tend to become more generous around this time of the year.  People will often say that they get in "The Christmas Spirit" and they are more interested in giving, because typically this is the time of the year when people exchange gifts and people somehow seem a bit more gracious and generous.  But, what often happens is that most of the gracious and generous attitude disappears as soon as January comes around.

While it is a good thing to give gifts around Christmas, donate to charities and religious organizations, and to be generous and help others during the holiday season, it does not have to end there.  If people kept their gracious and generous attitude and actions for the entire year the world would be a much better place.  We, especially as Christians, need to maintain a year-long attitude and lifestyle of living to give.  We should not just limit our doing good and giving to the time around Christmas, but we should do it all year long.

As it tells us in Luke 6:38, as we give it will be given back to us.  This shows us the principle that is repeated throughout the Bible of sowing and reaping, and it is the main principle that the Kingdom of God operates on.  Whether it is being nice to people, giving money to a person or organization, or simply speaking kind and encouraging words to others, the things that we give out, or sow, in life, whether positive or negative, we will receive back, it is what we will reap.  We all need to look for ways to give to others all year long and know that as we give we will receive.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hearing, Recognizing, And Understanding

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
John 10:27 (NKJV)

Several years ago, I was traveling by plane to speak at a church.  Before arriving, my pastor friend, who I had attended Bible school with, sent me a text message saying that he would be waiting to pick me.  But, after I arrived and stepped outside of the terminal, I found myself in a large crowd of people.  I looked for my friend but did not see him, until I heard his voice from somewhere behind me.  Once I turned around and I heard him call my name again I saw him.  Among all those people, who were also speaking, I not only heard his voice but I recognized it, because I knew his voice so well from our many years of friendship.

Recently I was thinking about what Jesus said in John 10:27, He said that His sheep hear His voice and they follow Him.  But, there can be a difference between hearing God's voice and recognizing and understanding His voice.  God is always speaking to us in His Word and He will speak to us in our heart as we spend time with Him in prayer.  God is ready to speak if we are ready to listen.  It could be that we are actually hearing God's voice but we do not realize that it really is God speaking to us. But, we can develop in our sensitivity to hearing the voice of God.

The problem is usually not that God isn't speaking to us, it is most often that He is speaking but we don't recognize His voice and we don't understand what it is He is saying.  Just like with my pastor friend, whose voice I knew well and was able to distinguish from the many other voices in the crowd, the more time we spend with God the better we will know His voice.  We need to spend time with God in His Word and in prayer to become more and more familiar with His voice so that it is easy for us to recognize Him speaking to us and so we can also understand what He is saying to us.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Under The Cover Of Snow

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever."
Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV)

When it snows and the snow covers the ground it can completely changes the appearance of everything.  While the snow may come down quickly or slowly, it can eventually blanket the landscape with a covering of white so that everything underneath it is obscured.  There are times that throughout the entire Winter the first snowfall might stay on the ground until Spring, when that happens you can almost forget what things looked like before it snowed.  But, when the warmer temperatures come, the snow melts and the regular conditions return.

Snow can be like the different situations we face in life, something happens that completely changes how things look, but underneath nothing is really different.  It may be one big that happens, or some little things that just seem to pile up, but it appears that everything has changed.  For Christians, God's Word is our foundation and no matter what circumstance or change occurs, God's Word does not change and it must remain our foundation.  If we are not careful, we can allow the different situations and problems we face in life to alter our perspective so that we forget what is reality and what it is that is just changing our view of it.

If we only see the problems and difficulties of life and forget about what we know from the Bible we can start living our life based on a false reality, this is why it is so important to have a good foundation of God's Word in our life.  We need to be so familiar with the Word and so well versed in it that no matter what comes to try and cover things up we always remember our firm foundation of the Word.  By knowing the truth of God's Word, we can always keep our focus on what the true reality is, no matter what happens and how things look on the surface.  Circumstances come and go, but God's Word remains the same!