Thursday, November 29, 2018

Separated Or Connected?

"who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
2 Corinthians 3:6 (NKJV)

Connections are important and without the right connections we can have problems.  Our phones have a connection to the telephone company, computers are connected to the Internet, and appliances need to be connected to electricity to function properly.  If our phones, computers, and appliances get separated from what they need to be connected to we miss out on all the benefits we can have from those things when they are connected.  There are times when something can hinder the connections we should have, so we need to be sure that we keep everything properly connected.

When God created man, He was connected to them and had a relationship with them.  God told them they should not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; He said if they did they would die.  As we know from the story, Adam and Eve did eat from the tree.  But, while they were sent out of the Garden of Eden, they did not instantly die.  What happened?  The first thing we need to realize is that death does not talk about an end but it refers to a separation.  When Adam and Eve sinned they were separated from God, which caused them to lose the benefits they had in their relationship with God.

Today we have a new covenant with God based on what Jesus did for us.  Paul says that this covenant is not of the letter but the Spirit; the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.  Paul was saying that today we live in this new covenant that is based on the grace of God and not the letter of the law of the old covenant.  The only way to maintain a proper connection to God is through the Spirit, not the law; we maintain our connection with God spiritually, not by following rules.  If we try to base our relationship with God on living by laws, we are really separating ourselves from God and it will cause us to miss out on the blessings and benefits we should have in our relationship with Him.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Whose Will Wins?

"Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is."
Ephesians 5:17 (NKJV)

Have you ever been in the situation where you were going out to eat with some friends or maybe traveling to some place and there was a difference of opinion?  Maybe there were different ideas about what restaurant to go to, or it could have been that you were traveling somewhere and there was more than one route that could be used to get there.  It might also be true that someone knows something about a restaurant or route that would make their idea the best.  But if you ever want to eat or arrive at your destination a decision has to be made where someone's idea is accepted and someone's idea is rejected. 

Everyone has ideas and a will of their own, but if we are wise, we will always find out what the best thing to do is in every situation.  For Christians, our goal should be to find and follow the will of God.  But this often means that for us to follow the will of God we have to put what we want, our will, to the side.  As it tells us in Ephesians 5:17, we need to be wise and understand the will of the Lord.  This would mean more than just having the knowledge of what God's will is.  If it is wise to know the will of the Lord then we should pursue the will of God in our life.

In 2 Peter 2:10 it talks about people who live their life according to their natural desires, the flesh, saying that those people are "self-willed".  Paul told Titus that one of the requirements for an overseer was that they could not be self-willed (Titus 1:7).  In both of these cases it is talking about people following their own will, not the will of God.   For us to do the will of God we must submit our will to God's will and allow His plan to be our plan.  God's will and plan for our life will always be the best thing for us, but we must allow His will to win over our will.  That is the true path to happiness and success in life.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

What World Will You Create?

"By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."
Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)

When I was in high school, I took several art classes where I learned to draw, paint, and sculpt things.  When I wanted to do one of these things I would get the proper materials and then begin my work.  If I was going to paint a picture, I would get a canvas, some brushes, and some paint.  If I was going to create some sculpture I would get some clay, and possibly some tool to use to shape the clay.  It would have been foolish of me to attempt to create a painting with some clay or to make a sculpture with some paint or drawing materials.  To create the right thing I had to use the right materials.

In Hebrews 11:3 it tells us that God framed, which literally means to complete thoroughly, the worlds with His words.  Through the words that He spoke, God created the world.  In Genesis 1 we see the phrase "God said" repeatedly as God created the world and everything that was in it.  In a similar way, the words that we speak will create the world we live in.  If we talk about fear, failure, problems, and other negative things then it will be difficult to have a life that is free of those things.  If, on the other hand, we talk about what God has said in His Word we will create a different type of world.

The Bible shows us over and over that our words are very important.  The things we say will have an impact in our life, positively or negatively.  The more we talk about something, the greater it will become in our life.  We can talk about the natural situation we find ourselves in or we can look to what God has said in His Word and talk about that.  We will never achieve the success we desire or fulfill the will of God for our lives if we do not speak the right kind of words.  It is our choice as to what we talk about, and whatever choice we make, those words will create the kind of world we live in.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Where's The Trouble?

"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet."
Matthew 24:6 (NKJV)

If you have a problem with a car, and it is not something you can easily fix by yourself, you will have to take it somewhere to fix it.  Very often what will happen is that the mechanic will connect your car to a computer that will diagnose the problem to see where the trouble is.  It would be foolish to have a car problem and then just randomly try to fix different things without knowing where the actual trouble was in the car.  If the engine is not running correctly you would not just change the tires and if you did have a problem with you tires you would not replace the steering wheel.

In Matthew 24 Jesus talked to His disciples about some things that would happen before He returned again.  Jesus said that the disciples would hear about wars and rumors of wars.  Jesus did not specifically say that the disciples themselves would be in these wars or that they would even be somehow affected by them.  But Jesus still told the disciples not to be troubled.  Jesus was not telling them there was a physical or even spiritual threat to be dealt with, the trouble would be located somewhere else.  Jesus said that things like this would happen but the disciples should not allow these types of things to cause them to be distressed. 

Often when we have problems in our life, whether it is something big or small, we will have questions about what to do and even thoughts about what might go wrong or how things might not work out.  Even if we are not facing a problem, we could still have similar negative thoughts.  This is very much like what Jesus talked to His disciples about, not being troubled in our mind.  We do not have to be troubled by things we experience or even hear about.  By filling our mind with God's thoughts, His Word, we can successfully deal with wrong thoughts that would trouble us and not allow them to distress us.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Put Your Own Mask On First

"Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.  Continue in them, for in doing this you will both save both yourself and those who hear you."
1 Timothy 4:16 (NKJV)

When you are on an airplane they will go over the safety procedures to make sure everyone knows what to do if there should be an emergency.  One of the things they talk about is the air mask that will drop down from above you if there should be a sudden drop in the pressure of the airplane cabin.  But, when they talk about the air mask, the flight crew will always tell you to put your own mask on first before trying to help someone else.  The reason for this is simple, if you are unable to breathe properly you will not be able to help someone else, so you first have to put on your own air mask before you can really help someone else. 

The Apostle Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, who was a young minister.  Paul gave Timothy advice on ways that Timothy could be successful in ministry and Paul also reminded Timothy that Paul himself gave Timothy a good example to follow.  One very important thing that Paul told Timothy was to pay attention to himself and the right kind of teaching.  Paul said that if Timothy did this then Timothy would not only save himself, but he would also save those who heard him.  If Timothy had focused on trying to help others first he would not have been as successful as he could have or should have been.

If you take care of yourself and what you know and believe first, then you can help others.  But, if you don't take care of yourself and the things you know and believe, then you will not only have problems yourself, but you will not be able to help others.  Paul encouraged Timothy to continue with and stay in this pattern because it is the way to really make a difference in the lives of others.  If someone has problems in their own life and does not really know what the Bible says then that person is not going to be very effective in helping others.  Just like Paul told Timothy, we all need to first take care of ourselves and know the truth so we can help others.