Thursday, June 27, 2019

Content In Every Condition

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:"
Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)

Have you ever seen a chameleon changing colors?  This is something a chameleon might do to for several reasons.  Sometimes a chameleon will change color to blend into their environment as a means of camouflage, sometimes the color change is due to a change in temperature, and sometimes they change color as a way to signal their intentions to other chameleons.  They can turn a brighter color to show aggression or a darker color to show submission.  These color changes help the chameleon fit into their environment.

When we look at the life of the Apostle Paul, we can see that he had the ability to adapt to his environment.  Paul was certainly not one to compromise, which we can see in the story where he confronted Peter (Galatians 2:11-14) or when he refused to take Mark with him on a second trip after Mark had quit during the first trip (Acts 15:36-40).  Paul knew when to stand his ground for what he believed, but he also knew how to fit in and be content in whatever situation he found himself in.

Paul said that he had learned to be content in every state, in every condition.  While Paul did not change his outer color to adapt, like a chameleon would, Paul was able to maintain an inner stability through Christ to be able to do what needed to be done in every situation.  Paul's satisfaction was not based on outward conditions but on an inward connection to God.  It is what the chameleon has on the inside, because of its nature, that it can change color.  It is because of what we have on the inside, our new nature in Christ, that we can, like Paul, be content in every condition.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Continual Cleaning

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

Have you ever noticed that nothing really stays clean for very long?  Where we live, the clothes we wear, our car, and even things like our teeth need continual cleaning.  Most people are not too excited about the cleaning process, but most people like to have things clean.  Even though cleaning something can take some time and effort, the results are worth it.  If we don't clean things on a regular basis, and pay attention to what we have, then all kinds of dirt and other bad things will accumulate.

In our world today, we are bombarded with all kinds of information, images, sounds, and ideas that can fill up and clutter our mind.  If we are not careful, we can easily have so much stuff in our mind that how we think and what we think about become a mess.  This is why we need a continual cleaning of our thinking and of all the things that try to make their way into our thought life.  We need a daily, continual process of cleaning up our mind by renewing our mind with the Word of God.

We need to guard our thoughts to make sure that what we allow ourselves to think about is in line with God's Word.  We also need to make sure we have a continual process of cleaning the thoughts and ideas we have by filling our mind with the Word of God and replacing any wrong thoughts with right and godly thoughts.  This continual cleaning process with God's Word will not only improve our life and make us more effective in God's plan for our life, but it will help us be a greater blessing to those around us.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Reliable Source

"And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
Luke 24:27 (NKJV)

Usually when there is some story on the news, or something being written about, whoever is reporting the story will cite the source or sources that they received their information from.  Sometimes someone will say they have an unnamed source or they do not want to say who gave them the information, but for something to be accurate there has to be a reliable source for what is being reported.   Without a trustworthy, credible source for what is being said, the story itself is questionable.

After His resurrection, Jesus met two disciples on the road that leads to Emmaus.  At first, these disciples did not recognize Jesus.  When Jesus met them, the disciples seemed to be sad and Jesus asked why this was.  The disciples were surprised by His response because while some other disciples said they had seen a resurrected Jesus, these two were not sure what was going on with the death and resurrection of Jesus.  To help them, and to clarify what was going on, Jesus used the Scriptures to explain what had happened and why it happened.

Jesus gave us a good example and a pattern to follow, when we have questions or we face a difficult situation we always need to go back to the Scriptures.  Jesus did not tell the disciples about His personal experience with the resurrection or how He felt after being raised from the dead, Jesus went back to God's Word because it a reliable source, it is the only thing we can absolutely trust as our source of information.  Just like Jesus used the Word to help the disciples, we need to use the Scriptures for ourselves and when we work with others; God's Word is our reliable source.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Head Or Heart?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

What would happen if you were taking a trip somewhere and you used directions that led you to some other place?  Obviously, this would be a problem.  If you wanted to travel by car to a certain place, but you only had a list of the flights leaving from the airport, you would not only never reach your destination but you would be following the wrong information.  Or if you wanted to travel to someplace within a city, but you only had a map of the Interstate Highway System you would not really have what you need to get to where you want to go.

In our life we have a choice about what we will follow, our head or our heart.  By our heart I don't just mean some emotion or a feeling, but I am talking about what Peter referred to as the "hidden person of the heart" (1 Peter 3:4), our spirit. As it tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6, we must trust in the Lord and the direction He will give to us through our spirit, our heart, and we cannot rely on, or trust in, our feelings or the thoughts we have in our heads.  In fact, our feelings and our thoughts can at times be completely wrong and lead us in the wrong direction.

Romans 8:14 says that we are to be led by the Spirit of God, we are not led by our feelings and we are not led by our figuring things out in our minds.  To properly follow the guidance that God will give to us, we must trust in and lean on the things God will speak to our heart by the Holy Spirit and not what we have in our head.  If we make the right choice to listen to God's direction, no matter how we feel or what we think, we will always choose and stay on the right path.  Learn to listen to the direction that God gives in your heart and don't just rely on what you have in your head.