Thursday, May 30, 2019

Equal Value

"And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues."
1 Corinthians 12:28 (NKJV)

Many countries in Europe use the Euro as their currency.  One interesting thing about the Euro currency is that the bills are different sizes and colors.  The larger the denomination, the larger the bill.  For example, the 5 Euro bill is smaller than the 10 Euro bill, which is smaller than the 20 Euro bill, and so on.  But if you had two 5 Euro bills and someone else had one 10 Euro bill these would be of an equal value.  The person with the 10 Euro bill has one bill that is larger and a different color than the person who has the two 5 Euro bills, but they still have an equal value.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about the Body of Christ, the Church.  Paul explains how God has set different members, different parts into the Church.  In 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul gives a list of different parts of the church.  This list is not necessarily completely inclusive because in places like Ephesians 4 we see other parts of the Church listed, evangelists for example.  The thing that is really amazing is that it talks about all of these parts of the Church in the same context, showing that these things are of equal value.

Many Christians think that apostles and prophets are more spiritual or necessary to the Church than someone helping in the church or working in administration.  Most people would not think that an usher, or the church secretary are as spiritual or necessary as a prophet, but God does!  God has placed each believer in the Body of Christ to do a specific thing and each part is as valuable as any other, there are simply different functions.  We all need to have the proper view of our value to God and understand that whatever God calls us to do is spiritual and necessary, no matter what others might think.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Walking in Love - Adult Language

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NKJV)

Almost every movie or show on television has some kind of a rating that tells you who the suggested viewing audience is.  One of the things that is considered in this rating is the type of language that is used, which usually refers to profanity.  There have been times that I saw a rating for some movie or show that cautioned people because "Adult Language" was involved.  What they meant is that there was some profanity used and this movie or television show was not appropriate for children, hence the term "Adult Language".

While being a Christian is not based on following a set of rules, there are some things that are appropriate for us to say and do and some things that we should not say or do.  One thing that is always right is walking in love.  If we allow the love of God to help guide us in our life, we will have a much better life and we will be a greater help and blessing to others as well.  1 Corinthians 13 talks about the love of God, and Paul helps us to see that speaking in love is the kind of "adult language" that Christians should be using.

Paul said that when he was a child that he spoke, understood, and thought as a child.  Children tend to be self-centered; everything revolves around what they want and what makes them happy.  This is true of natural and spiritual children.  Paul goes on to say that when he became an adult that he put away the childish things.  For Christians, we need to grow and develop to spiritual adulthood and act and speak accordingly, in love.  As a part of our walking in love with others, we need to be sure that the words we use are motivated by the love of God and not our own personal interests.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Untapped Resources

"I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known.  I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight.  These things I will do for them, and not forsake them."
Isaiah 42:16 (NKJV)

When I first moved to the area of Bonn, Germany, I wanted to see the Rhine River.  I had seen the river before I moved, but I wanted to get right down to the river itself.  My only problem was that I did not know exactly how to get there.  While I had seen maps that showed streets leading from the city center to the river, I did not know which street was which, or what the best method was for me to get there.  The good news is that I found the route to the river and since then I have had many wonderful visits to the Rhine River.

As we move forward in our relationship with God, there will be times that we need to find the right way to go, as well as the wisdom and resources to accomplish the goals that God gives us.  However, very often what we need already exists, we just need to find it and make use of it.  This is similar to when someone wants to drill a well for water, oil, or something else.  They know that what they are looking for is there, it is just a question of finding it and making use of those untapped resources that are already available.

In Isaiah, God said He would bring people by a way they did not know, a path they were not familiar with.  The fact was that the path, the way to go, was actually already there, they just did not know about it yet, it was not a path they had taken before.  God has said that He would guide us and provide whatever we needed to follow His plan for our life.  As we spend time with God through His Word and in prayer, He will guide us to what we need and show us the best way to use those resources to fulfill His will.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Why Walk When You Can Fly?

"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 
for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?"
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

A while ago, when I was in the USA, I was out for a walk with my mom.  As we walked, we saw a small bird nearby that was hoping around from place to place.  My mom made the comment, "Why hop when you can fly?".  While the bird had the ability to fly it was not doing so; it may have been injured, although it did not seem to be, or there may have been some other reason.  But whatever the reason was, the bird was just hopping and not flying, it was not doing something it should have been able to do.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he said that they were carnal people and not spiritual.  They were born again, believers in Jesus, but their lives were dominated by natural things and not spiritual things.  Paul said that he could not speak to them the way he wanted to because they were so focused on the natural side of life and not spiritual truth.  Just like us, the Corinthians needed to live a life focused on everything that God has provided through Jesus and not natural circumstances.

Paul said that the Christians in Corinth were acting like "mere men"; they were acting like ordinary people and not like spiritual people. In other words, they were walking when they should have been flying.  Just like the bird that had the capability to fly but was just hopping around, Christians, because of Jesus, have the possibility to live a life above the things in the world.  If we try to live the life God has called us to while focusing on natural truth and not spiritual truth, we will never achieve what God has planned.  Why be carnal when you can be spiritual, why walk when you can fly?

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Are You Ready To Run?

"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?  And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?"
Jeremiah 12:5 (NKJV)

Years ago, when I first started doing running sports in high school, I remember that for the first couple of days I was so tired out and my legs ached.  But as I spent more and more time running it got easier and easier and I was not worn out as much.  As I continued to train and do more running I got to the point where I was running races of 3 miles (5.1 kilometers).  To just run that distance at first was difficult, but through practice I was eventually running races at that distance as well as running longer and longer distances.

Being a Christian, being a follower of Jesus, is a lifelong relationship, and in this relationship we should be growing and developing.  The Apostle Paul wrote about the need for spiritual growth in places like Ephesians 4:14-15.  In the same way that it would be bad for someone to remain a baby naturally, it would be bad for someone to remain a baby spiritually.  Just like I had to train to run further distances and babies need to grow up naturally, we need to grow and develop spiritually so we can run the race that God has called us to (Hebrews 12:1).

Wherever we are now spiritually, we need to grow to do more in the future; we cannot stay at the level we are at now and expect to do more for God.  If we find ourselves in a struggle just to live at the spiritual level we are at now, how will we ever do more in the future?  If we are not growing spiritually and we are not developing in our faith, the time will come when God will ask us to do something and we will not be ready to do it.  We need growth and development as believers so that we are equipped to do the things that God has called us to do.