Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Untouchables

"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
Acts 20:24 (NKJV)

In the USA during the 1920s and 1903s there was a law enforcement agent named Eliot Ness.  Eliot Ness was involved in the work of bringing an end to the career of the gangster Al Capone.  Eliot Ness and the group of men he worked with were known as "The Untouchables" because they refused any attempts to bribe them by people like Al Capone.  At a time when corruption and bribery of government officials was rampant, Eliot Ness and his men ignored those who tried to get them to stop their work and they were ultimately able to help stop Al Capone and his criminal activities.

It has been said that everyone has a price, that everyone can be bribed or coerced into not doing what should be done.  Eliot Ness and his men were called The Untouchables because this was not true about them, no matter what others tried to do they would not be stopped.  During his lifetime, Paul was also "untouchable" in that nothing mattered to him except doing the will of God.  For Paul, his goal and ambition in life was to serve God and no matter what others did or what happened in his life it did not alter his course; nothing could stop Paul, he was untouchable.

How could Paul ignore the opposition he faced and the difficulties he endured to continue in his ministry and say that not even his life mattered to him as much as doing the will of God?  The answer is that Paul's main focus in life was the will of God.  None of the things that happened to Paul or anything others tried to do to stop him moved him, none of those things could touch him.  God has a purpose for our lives as much as He did for Paul.  Are we "untouchable", or are there things that we have allowed to hinder us from fully serving God?  As we continue to focus on God and His will it will help us to stay on the course that God has given to us.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Unshakeable Trust

"Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge;
For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips,
So that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instructed you today, even you."
Proverbs 22:17-19 (NKJV)

Trust is something very important to have in any relationship.  We know that if you do not have a relationship with someone it is hard to really trust them.  But, how do you develop and maintain trust in someone?  Is just being in the same physical location with someone enough for you to develop trust in them?  How secure can we be in our trust for someone if we don't know anything about them?   We need to spend time with someone to develop a level of trust with that person and we need to know what they believe to have an unshakeable trust in them.

The Bible talks about the importance of trusting in God.  The majority of believers have at least a basic understanding of the idea of trusting God, but many of those same people find it difficult not to waver in their trust in God when things are difficult.  The reason for this can be that those Christians know God as their Father, but they have never fully developed their trust in God because they only have a limited knowledge of Him and His will.  This is why it is so important to know and understand God's Word, the better we know God through His Word, the deeper our level of trust will be.

Proverbs 22 gives us a key to developing and maintaining trust in God.  When we face a challenge in life, keeping our attention on God's Word and reminding ourselves of what God has said through our Bible-based confession of it will help us keep an unshakable trust in God.   What situations are you facing in life today?  Find out what the Word says, fill yourself with that truth, continue to make that Bible fact your glad confession, and maintain your trust and faith in God.  If we focus on the Word, and keep speaking the Word, it will help us develop an unshakeable trust in God.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Looking For Love?

"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love."
1 John 4:8 (NKJV)

Several years ago, there was a song where the singer lamented that he was "looking for love in all the wrong places" before he found the right person.  This song talked about the desire that everyone has to be loved by someone.  Most people think of love only as finding the right person and spending the rest of their life with them.  So many people think that if they just find the right person that they will be swept off of their feet, their head will be in the clouds, life will be sweet, and their desire for love will be satisfied. Sadly, many people just go from one relationship to another searching for that elusive "right person".

The problem is that no person can give the love that each of us truly seek.  The love that people are seeking in their natural relationships is really a spiritual craving and not physical.  We need to understand that God loves us unconditionally and that we have total acceptance with Him; God gives love like nobody on earth can give.  In 1 John 4:8 it tells us that God is love.  In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 it tells us what true love really is and what it's characteristics are.  If we want to know what God is like then we should read about His characteristics in 1 Corinthians 13.

We have to be careful not to get caught up in the "looking for love in all the wrong places" trap.  Building a relationship with someone is certainly fine, but there is a love that no person can give us that will only come from God.  Empty relationships that leave people used, abused, and confused won't do anything to help anyone deal with that inner desire we all have to be genuinely loved.  No matter what kind of natural relationships you have, or don't have, you need to understand that God loves you more than you realize.  Next time you are looking for love, look for it in the right place.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Walking In Love - Whose Parade Is It?

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself; is not puffed up;"
1 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)

There are many different kinds of parades.  There are 4th of July Parades, Veteran's Day Parades, Thanksgiving Day Parades, and even a Circus Parade.  In 4th of July Parades, there are always a lot of flags and symbols of the USA, for Veteran's Day Parades, there are a lot of military things involved.  But, wouldn't it be strange for there to be things from the Thanksgiving Day Parade in the 4th of July Parade?  And wouldn't it be odd for things from the Circus Parade to be in the Veteran's Day Parade?  The answer of course is yes, those things would be inappropriate, they would be in the wrong parade. 

In 1 Corinthians 13, we have a detailed description of what love is.  In the New King James Version of the Bible, it says in verse 4 that "love does not parade itself".  The word "parade" used here literally means "to boast", with the idea of boasting about oneself.  We learn that if we are walking in love we will not focus on ourselves, telling others about what we have done and putting our own deeds or character on display.  This is where I like the use of the word "parade".  If we are walking in love we do not make a parade out of what we have done, but we might do that for others.

It is never a good thing to brag about yourself, talk like that is self-centered and arrogant.  But, what if we know of someone else who has done something deserving of praise?  Would it be good, and walking in love, to let someone know that what they did was good and appreciated?  Instead of focusing on ourselves and hoping someone will notice us, what if we would pay attention to others and look for opportunities to share and promote what they have done and point out their good deeds?  That is what love would do, love does not focus on itself, it looks for ways to say good things about, and promote, others.