Thursday, March 29, 2018

Jump-Start Christians

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)

There were times in the past that I owned cars that were not in very good condition.  Once, when I lived in northern Wisconsin, I had a car that had some problems getting started.  If the weather was good there was no problem, but when the weather was not so favorable I would sometimes need to have my car jump-started.  The main problem was that my battery was too weak and by itself it could not do the necessary work of turning over the engine to get the car started.  Unfortunately, I put up with this problem for a while, but I eventually bought a new battery and that solved the problem.

Some Christians are like that old car of mine, they have problems getting started on their own and operating the way that they should.  These believers are looking for someone or something to get them revved up and motivated to do things the way that they should; on their own they never seem to be able to live the life God has called them to live.  These are the kind of people who are looking for some special meeting to go to or some certain song during the worship service that helps them to get that feeling they need to move them to where they need to be.

If we base our life too much on the natural realm and not the spiritual we will struggle; I once lived that way too.  I remember how I was always looking for something to help me do what I was supposed to do, it seemed like by myself I could not do it.  Then I learned the truth about who I am in Christ, that the Holy Spirit in me is greater than anything I might face and I can do all things through Christ!  Do I still have challenges in life?  Certainly, but once I discovered who I was spiritually and lived my life accordingly I didn't have to find someone or something else to get me going.  I am able, with God's help, to be who God called me to be and do what He wants me to do.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Infiltrators

"casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,"
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)

Throughout history there have been spies, people who work for one group or country but try to infiltrate and get into another group or country, to either cause harm or to try to find ways to influence something in the other group or country.  The way a spy works is to try and somehow blend into the group or country that they are not from by doing everything they can to seem as though they belong.  A successful spy is someone who becomes accepted by the group or country they are working to infiltrate, and once this happens these spies can cause a great deal of damage.

One of the areas we will have our biggest challenges in is in the area of our thoughts.  We have to examine and check every thought we have by the Word of God to be sure we catch any wrong or misleading thoughts.  Not all bad thoughts are easy to recognize, the devil will try to find a way to make the wrong thoughts blend in and seem normal.  The devil will work to try and put thoughts into our mind that seem to be alright, but they lead to something bad.  Through the wrong kinds of thoughts, the devil will try to infiltrate our thinking to lead us into problems.

No one would immediately accept or yield to a thought like, "I should throw my Bible away" or "I would be better off if I never went to church again".  But, thoughts like, "I really don't have time to read my Bible again today, but that is OK, I can read my Bible tomorrow, or the day after that", or "Church is nice, but I have been so busy I need a day to rest, if I miss church just once or twice it won't matter".  Those kinds of thoughts don't seem so bad, but they can lead to other worse thoughts, which will lead us into trouble.  By checking all of the thoughts we have by what we see in God's Word, be can be sure that no wrong thoughts will infiltrate our mind and cause us problems.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fact Finding Mission

"He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him."
Proverbs 18:13 (NKJV)

One thing that I consider to be a very bad practice is when news stories are reported without all of the information being completely known or understood.  Many times, in an attempt to get ahead of other news organizations, things are reported at first that are later found to be inaccurate.  In our society today, everyone seems to be in a hurry and no one seems to want to wait for things, and this can lead to problems.  Rather than just being in a rush to find out whatever we can, from wherever we can, everyone would be better served by waiting until all of the information was gathered before saying or doing anything about it.

Sometimes people will go on what they call a "Fact Finding Mission", to check into something and investigate it to find out what is really true.  These Fact Finding Missions can be very beneficial in learning all of the necessary information to make a wise decision based on all the available facts.  In Proverbs we are told that if we answer or respond to something without really hearing and knowing all the facts we are acting foolishly and the result will be shame.  We can have ideas about what the Bible has to say about a certain thing, but if we really don't know what the Bible actually says we can have problems.

Just like people go on Fact Finding Missions to learn all they can about a thing, we need to be on a continual mission to learn and understand all we can about God and His Word.  This means we need to have a regular time that we spend reading and studying the Bible, as well as regular attendance at a good Bible-believing church that teaches the truth of God's Word, and learning what we can from men and women of God who have insight and understanding of biblical truth that we can benefit from.  By doing this, we will keep ourselves in a place of spiritual growth and development and we can be a help and benefit to others.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Place Of Provision

"Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.
And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."
1 Kings 17:3-4 (NKJV)

There is a saying about how there are three very important words for people involved in selling real estate, location, location, location.  Being in the right place at the right time is very important; it is definitely one of the keys to success in life.  When we are in the right place, and at the right time, we will do much better than if we are in the right place at the wrong time or in the wrong place at the right time.  If we are not in the right place at the right time we can miss out on some very important, and some very necessary things.

Elijah was a prophet in the Old Testament who was led by God to places where God was able to work through Elijah to help others.  In 1 Kings 17 God gave Elijah direction to go to a certain place where what Elijah needed would be provided.  Some of what Elijah needed was already at that place, and some of what Elijah needed was going to come to him when he was there.  If we continue reading the story, we can see that the time came when Elijah's provision where he was came to an end, but Elijah did not change his location until God told him to do so. 

What if Elijah had not followed God's direction?  Elijah would have missed what God had wanted Elijah to have. There are times when God is directing us to a place, and when we get there we don't see what we think we should and we don't find what we think we need.  But, if we follow the direction that God gives us, all of the things we need, and even things we don't know we need, will be provided.  By following God's direction to go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do, until He tells us something different, we will always be in the right place at the right time, the place of provision.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Faith And Wisdom

"Now Jacob's well was there.  Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.  It was about the sixth hour."
John 4:6 (NKJV)

Having the right tools for the work you need to do is essential, and you need to know how to use each of the tools you have and what they are best suited for.  You may have one tool that you like more than other tools, but that does not mean that this tool is always the best tool.  You could have a tool that is good for several applications, but that does not mean that it is good for every application.  While you may prefer one tool above another, or one tool may work in more settings than others, you still always need to have the proper tool to get the job done right.

One of the main elements of Christianity is faith.  But, faith is not the only thing necessary for a successful Christian life.  One of the most important, and often neglected, things that we need is wisdom.  The Bible repeatedly talks about wisdom and how valuable it is.  We may think that wisdom is not as important as something like faith, but faith and wisdom both have their place.  Some people think that they can do whatever they want and then somehow just take a stand in faith and overcome any negative consequences that they have as a result of their actions.

We can have problems if we somehow think that faith can overrule wisdom, even if we make poor choices with things like our health or finances.  But, for example, as we see in John 4:6, even Jesus got tired and He was wise enough to take the opportunity to rest.  Jesus did not just try to use faith to have more physical strength.  In the area of finances, David set aside gold, silver, and other materials in preparation to build the temple; he did not just expect that somehow the financial resources would be there when he needed them without any effort on his part.  Make sure you use all the tools available, including wisdom, to have a successful walk with God.