Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Experts Are Not Always Right

"saying, "Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives."
Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.

Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me."
Acts 27:10-11, 25 (NKJV)

In every area of life there seems to be someone who is considered an expert.  Whether it is in some technical field or an area of study there are people who have spent time learning about that certain thing and because of the knowledge and experience they have about it they are referred to as experts.  They may or may not have some official title, but often these experts are consulted for their views about something in their area of expertise.  But, no one person knows everything and the term expert is very relative, because someone who appears to be an expert to one person may not be to another.

In the Book of Acts, we read about Paul and his trip to Rome.  At one point in this trip, Paul advised the people he was with that he had a perception, a sense, that their trip would have problems.  But, the centurion, who probably was in charge, did not listen to Paul but instead the centurion listened to the professional sailors, the experts, about what to do.  Paul was right and the ship was eventually destroyed.  But, Paul told everyone to "take heart" (to be of good cheer, to have good courage) because God had told Paul that they would make it through the storm.

Paul shared what I believe was a spiritual perception, a leading of the Holy Spirit, that did not agree with the expert opinion.  Paul said this when he was on a ship going through a terrible storm.  The storm was so bad that the people on board, including the expert, professional sailors "lost all hope of being saved".  No matter what storms may come, no matter what the experts might believe or say, no matter how we feel in the situation, we need to do like Paul and believe what God has said.  Standing in faith on God's Word will lead us through and out of the storm, no matter what the experts may have said.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Waiting For Waves

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

There are a lot of things that can make waves.  The main way waves are created is by the wind.  But, waves can also be created by passing boats or something large falling into the water.  One thing that waves are not really created by is people.  If someone was to stand on the shore of a lake, the ocean, or some other body of water that person could jump up and down, stare intently at the water, or even make a lot of noise, but they would never create any waves.  We may enjoy watching the waves and hearing their sound as they crash on the shore, but we can't really create the waves.

Every believer needs to learn who they are in Christ and what belongs to them as a Christian.  Through Jesus we have been provided with all the things that are necessary for us to live a successful, godly life.  We are not creating the benefits and blessings, that is something God has already done.  Our part is to learn what God has provided through Jesus and receive it by faith.  Then, once we have exercised our faith we continue to stand in faith and by doing so we will receive what we have believed God for.  How long it will take is not the question, we continue to do what we know to do and then expect results.

We can't create the waves but we can keep ourselves in the position to be there when the waves come in.  In the same way, we cannot dictate when and how the answer we need will come, but we can choose to continue to stand in faith and not grow weary while we wait to be able to reap the harvest we desire.  Too many believers expect something to happen sooner than it does and they get tired of waiting and they give up.  Once we have taken a stand in faith we need to continue to stand and expect the results God promises in His Word, in due season we will reap the harvest if we do not give up.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Switch To Silent

"My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him."
Psalm 62:5 (NKJV)

With all of the devices that people use today and all the different tones for phones ringing and notifications from different apps, we can sometimes experience an almost overwhelming level of noise.  There are some places that have signs, or there may even be an announcement of some kind given, asking to switch your phone to silent.  Doing this can eliminate distractions in places like concerts, seminars, movies, and in church.  By switching our phones to silent, it can be much easier to focus on what is truly important without all of the extra noise going on.

Just like there can a be a lot of natural noise from things like cell phones, we can have so much "noise" going on in our mind that we have a hard time focusing on what is important.  Our mind can be so busy with different thoughts that we get distracted from what we should pay attention to.  This can especially happen to us in the area of faith and taking a stand on God's Word for something that He has promised us and made available to us through Jesus.  David understood this and it is why he talked about keeping his soul quiet in Psalm 62.

One of the areas where we will have the biggest battles in our faith is with our thoughts and emotions, the soul.  When we take a stand in faith, which is of the heart, the devil will come with contrary thoughts, in our mind (our soul), to try and distract us.  David talked about quieting the soul and focusing on God, because God is where our faith, our expectation is from.  When the wrong, distracting thoughts come, that is when we need to quiet our mind, switch it to silent, by keeping our focus on what God has said in His Word.  This is how we silence our soul and continue standing in faith to receive the things that God has promised us.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

No Expiration Date

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."
Mark 13:31 (NKJV)

Many products we buy have a date included as to when the item should be used by.  Normally this type of thing is seen on perishable items such as food, because a time will come when the product will expire and no longer be any good.  Often you will see something like a date showing either when the product should no longer be eaten, or you might see a date given and a statement about how the product is best when used by that date.  Being aware of the expiration date that something has is better than trying to eat or use something and finding out that the item is no longer usable or edible.

In the four Gospels we have a record of the things that Jesus did and said.  Sometimes things are found in one Gospel that are not found in another and sometimes things are found in more than one Gospel account.  One interesting verse is found repeated exactly the same in Matthew 24:25, Mark 13:31, and Luke 21:33.  Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away, but His words would not.  Everything we see around us on this earth will one day come to an end, there is an expiration date.  But, it is good to know that God's Word has no expiration date and will last forever!

Some people have the idea that somehow God and His Word may have worked in the past, but it does not work the same way today.  Other people think that only certain people, like maybe the pastor, has an ability to access some of God's blessings while most people do not.  God's power still works today and God's Word is as valid and effective today as it ever was.  We need to simply find out what God has said to us in His Word, put our faith in what He has said, and act accordingly.  God's Word will work the same for anyone, anywhere, anytime, and all the time!  God's Word works and has no expiration date.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

When You Seem Surrounded, Attack!

"And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated.
He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his had stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder."
2 Samuel 23:9-10 (NKJV)

There are different types of strategies for different types of warfare.  When I have studied military history and various battles it was often the plans that the different armies had for fighting the battle that led to victory or defeat.  With the right tactics and strategy, a smaller group could defeat a larger group that did not take proper steps to plan and prepare for the battle.  No one would expect success in a battle without some type of planning or strategy that puts into use the best ideas available to be sure of having an outcome of victory.

As Christians we are told to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), the weapons of our warfare are not natural (2 Corinthians 10:4), and that we need to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11).  All of these examples help us to understand that we have an enemy, the devil, who will do everything he can to hinder us from living the life that God has planned for us.  The truth is that the devil has already been defeated so he cannot conquer us, but he will try to make us quit.  Just like the example in 2 Samuel 23, even if some problems make others run, hide, or quit we never do that, we stand our ground in faith.

When problems come into our life it sometimes seems that one comes after another until we feel overwhelmed.  The devil will tell us that things are horrible and that they will never get better so we might as well just quit.  When this happens, rather than run and hide, we need to move forward.  No matter what we face, we need to find out what the Bible says about our situation and focus on that.  When it looks like we are outnumbered and surrounded by our problems that is the time to go on the attack in faith by continuing to speak and act on the truth of God's Word, that is our strategy for victory!