Thursday, January 31, 2019

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement."
John 7:24 (NKJV)

So many things in life are based on what we see, know, and understand by our physical senses.   But, if something is not perceived by our senses, does that make it any less real?  For example, you can't see a Wi-Fi signal even though your phone, tablet, and computer use it to access the Internet.  You can't feel the air, but you breathe air all day long.  You can't hear sunlight, but it brightens the daytime hours for us.  The thing is, if we base everything on what we see, know, and understand just from our physical sense there are many things we could misinterpret and miss out on.

The Bible has a great deal to say about faith and one of the main things is that faith and physical evidence are not the same thing.  Faith is not based on what we see, hear, feel, taste, touch, or smell.  But while we may not have any physical evidence of faith in operation it can still be working.  As Jesus said in John 7:24, we cannot make a judgement about something based only on appearance.  How something looks can actually be deceiving.  When we put our faith into action things are set into motion in the spiritual realm, but that does not always instantly appear in the natural realm.

If we only focus on what we know from the natural perspective we can draw back from our stand in faith and then fail to see the manifestation of what have been believing God for.  We need to see what God's Word says, believe it regardless of physical evidence, and keep on standing in faith.  Just because we don't see something happening does not mean that things are not happening.  When we take a stand on God's Word and believe what it says, no matter the physical evidence, or lack of it, we can be sure that God is at work, watching over His Word to see that it will come to pass. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Do You Have A Clear View?

"The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart."
Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV)

Sometimes in the Winter you have to scrape ice or snow, or both, off of your car windows before you can start driving.  It could be that you are leaving for work in the morning and you are in a hurry so you just clean as much as you think is necessary before you start to drive.  But if you don't scrape off all of the ice or snow you can't really see clearly and you could have an accident.  You may think that just cleaning your windows a little bit is enough, but you are really just starting your journey without a clear view of everything you should see and that is never a good thing to do. 

Proverbs 20:27 tells us that our spirit, the inner man, is where God will give us light.  Our spirit is compared to a lamp and in Psalm 18:28 it says that God will light our lamp and enlighten our darkness.  This is showing us that God is not going to lead us with external or physical things but inwardly.  We may have an idea about a ministry or business we want to start or we have a sense in our heart about a change in our life or our geographic location.  But trouble can develop if we start moving forward with only the general idea about these things without having a complete understanding of how to accomplish them.

God wants us to know and understand His will, but there is also a way He wants us to carry it out and there is a right time to do it.  As Paul wrote in Colossians 1:9, we need to be filled with the knowledge of God's will along with having wisdom and spiritual understanding.  God will reveal His will to us through His Word and by the Holy Spirit so that we have knowledge of His plans and purposes for us.  This usually comes to us step by step and as we take the steps He gives us things will become clearer and clearer.  Make sure you get the whole plan from God to see things clearly to be able to successfully fulfill the will of God.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Value Of Being Together

"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)

Growing up in Wisconsin, every year in the Fall different birds could be seen overhead migrating to some destination in the southern part of the USA.  There they would spend the cold Winter months before returning to Wisconsin or some other part of the northern USA.  One thing you can see with migration is that birds migrate in flocks and you usually don't see birds migrating on their own, they normally travel together.  There are several reasons for this, but it basically comes down to the fact that there is a value in being together that is not enjoyed being alone. 

People, even Christians, sometimes ask, "What is the point of going to church?  I can be a good Christian by myself at home".  Unfortunately, while this question deserves an answer, when someone asks it, they show that they don't understand the value of the local church.  There is a value in being together that we cannot enjoy if we are alone.  Our relationship with God is a personal thing, but we were not meant to live our life alone.  Believers make us the Body of Christ and every part of the Body of Christ is important and needs the rest of the Body to function properly.

Hebrews 10 talks about stirring up and encouraging one another, this is one reason it is important to meet together with other believers.  You can't encourage someone you never met and don't know.  You can't give something to someone you never meet or tell them something if you never see them. Through building relationships with other believers we put ourselves in position to be a help to them and them to be a help to us.  Going into a church building on a certain day of the week is not what makes you a Christian, but going to a church on a regular basis can greatly help you in your life as a Christian.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Precheck For Life

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
John 16:13 (NKJV)

Many airports in the United States use something called Precheck.  If you are given Precheck status when you are at the airport then you are able to go through a different security line than other people and the security check itself is different.  With Precheck you don't have to do the same type of security check as everyone else and the whole process is much simpler and easier.  Because someone did some work for you ahead of time, the trip was made smoother.  All you had to do was take advantage of what was done for you previously to enjoy the benefits.

There have been times when I thought how nice it would be to have Precheck in my everyday life.  Someone could check into my journey through life ahead of time, grant me special status, and then give me the information about how to go through everything simpler and easier than what might normally happen.  What I found out is that as a Christian the Holy Spirit lives in me and Jesus said the Holy Spirit would show me things to come.  The Holy Spirit knows what is coming into my life and He can help me be prepared for it so that I can have a sort of Precheck for life!

If we follow the direction God gives us in His Word and we learn to be led by the Holy Spirit then we can be ready before we face challenges or run into difficulties in our life.  Just like the Precheck program allows someone to go through a different line than other people and makes things easier, the Holy Spirit has "prechecked" things, so to speak, to be able to guide us in our life and prepare us for things ahead.  He will help us go through whatever we deal with in life in an easier way than if we tried to do things ourselves.  We don't have to go through life like the rest of the world; with the Holy Spirit helping to prepare us we can be ready for anything that comes!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Automatic Blessings?

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)

There are many things that can be set up so that they take place automatically without anyone being involved.  For example, computer programs can be set up to run on a regular basis.  Things like backing up the files in a computer, running a scan for viruses or checking for updates can be done automatically.  Once something is set up to run automatically you usually don't give much thought to it.  But even though something is set up to run automatically it should still be checked on from time to time to be sure it is running correctly.  Failure to do this could lead to problems.

In the Old Testament, people were required to follow the Law and obey what God had said in order to be blessed.  Blessings came because of obedience and being cursed was the result of disobedience.  Jesus came to fulfill the Law and to bring grace and truth.  Because of Jesus, we are now blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.  What God did through the death and resurrection of Jesus qualifies us to have everything we need to live the life He has called us to live.  The problem comes when we just expect these blessings to automatically come to us without any involvement on our part.

As God told Joshua, there is something we must do to make our way prosperous and have good success.  In James 1 it tells us that it is the person who hears the Word and does what the Word says who is blessed.  We often make the mistake of thinking that all of the good things that God has for us will just come to us and be a part of our life automatically because of what Jesus did.  We place all of the responsibility on God and ignore our part of acting on what God has promised us.  We need to know what belongs to us and then act in faith on what God has told us belongs to us to have those things as a part of our life.