Thursday, April 25, 2019

Giving To Give Or To Get?

"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
Luke 6:38 (NKJV)

Have you ever thought about why you do what you do?  Are you acting on a principle and doing something because it is good and right to do, or are you just following a practice and doing something as a ritual or because you think you are supposed to do it?  One person focuses on the outcome of what they are doing while the other is doing something because what they are doing is the right thing to do.  It is always good to do the right thing, but if you understand why you are doing it then it is even better.

The Bible talks about giving and receiving, sowing and reaping, seed-time and harvest.  It is true, as Luke 6:38 and other verses tell us, that if we give we will receive.  No farmer would go out to sow seed and never expect a harvest.  But if the harvest is the only thing in mind when seeds are being planted problems can occur.  Without the proper focus during the planting the harvest can be much less than it should be.  Is the seed being planted and cared for properly?  What type of ground is the seed being planted in and is it the right time to plant?

If we only give with the benefit in mind, we are not really giving in faith expecting God to bless us, we are just giving to get and expecting that our own works will reward us.  Why and how we give is just as important as the giving itself is.  We give to our church, other people, ministries, and missionaries because it is the right thing to do, and because God has directed us to give in His Word and by the Spirit, not just because of some benefit we may receive.  Give with the right motives, expecting God to take care of you, and you will reap a harvest.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What Is That Worth?

"knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
1 Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV)

Have you ever seen anything of great value, maybe in a museum or somewhere as a part of a collection?  There are several museums and places I have been to that contain some very valuable things, like different works of art and sculptures.  In some of these places you are not allowed to get too close to these things and they are worth so much that they are kept in separate cases or behind glass to protect them. One reason they are so valuable is because they are either irreplaceable or the cost to replace them is so high.

Things are valued by what someone is willing to pay for them.  No one would pay a million dollars for an old shoe, but someone might pay millions of dollars for a painting by Rembrandt.  What are we worth, what value do we have?  In 1 Peter 1:18-19 it tells us that we were redeemed, ransomed by God, paid for by Him with something much more valuable than silver and gold, the precious blood of Jesus.  Do we realize that God was willing to give the most valuable and precious thing, the blood of His Son, for us? 

Do we see ourselves as valuable and worth something or do we see ourselves as nothing special?  We need to realize that God places a high value on us.  The Bible tells us that we were redeemed, purchased with the blood of Jesus, and there is nothing more valuable than that!  If we do not see ourselves as valuable to God that will impact how we treat ourselves, which in turn impacts how we treat others.  See yourself and others as valuable to God, realize that He paid the highest price possible to make you a part of His family.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Trying To Live In Two Places

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
Romans 8:5-6 (NKJV)

What if you moved into a new house or apartment, and even shipped all of your belongings to your new place, but you continued to try and live in your old house or apartment?  It could be that your new home was not too far from the old one so you could go back and forth trying to live in two places, but that would not make any sense.  With all of the things you need to live your life located in your new home it would be foolish to try and keep living in your old place, but you could actually still try to do it.

In that same way that you cannot really live in two places at once physically, the same thing is true spiritually.  We have a choice as to what we identify as our home, naturally and spiritually.  Spiritually speaking, we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).  If we focus and base our life on natural things it will keep us living the same way we always did.  As we focus and base our life on spiritual things this helps us to live the way that God has designed for us to live. 

Spiritually or naturally, you choose what to focus and base your life on, but you cannot live in two places, your head and your heart, at the same time.  This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 8.  It is our choice as to where and how we will live, in the natural or the spiritual.  What we focus our life on will determine whether we partake of the spiritual blessings that belong to us, or if we will continue to live as the same type of person we were before we became born again.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

You've Got That Backwards

"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
James 1:19-20 (NKJV)

Have you ever made the mistake of putting your shoes or boots on the wrong feet?  There were a couple of times in the past that I did that because I was not really paying attention to what I was doing.  But before long I noticed that things just did not seem right.  A quick examination of the situation showed me the obvious problem, I had gotten things backwards, my boots were on the wrong feet!  While I did have something on my feet, things were not going to work very well for me until I made a change and got things straightened out.

Getting things backwards or in the wrong order can be a simple mistake, but if it is not corrected it can create major problems.  James 1:19 talks about the correct way to do things, being swift to hear and slow to speak.  The problem is that too many people, including Christians, have gotten that backwards.  So many people are quick to speak and slow to listen to others and really hear what is going on.  While people are doing the right things of speaking and hearing, they have gotten things backwards and that is not good. 

Often, we are so busy saying what we want to say that no one else can even get a word in.  Many times, we are just ready to say what we want to say and we are not really listening to other people.  But if we don't listen to other people, we are not going to be able to help them, and we give the impression that we are more interested in what we have to say than we are in the other person and what they think or have to say.  We all need to get things in the right order and be swift to hear and slow to speak, that is the biblical pattern and a way to walk in love with and help other people.