Thursday, July 25, 2019

Do What I Want

"Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask."
And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
They said to Him, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory."

But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you ask.  Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"
Mark 10:35-38 (NKJV)

Have you ever seen someone, most likely a child, asking for and insisting on having something?  If they are denied having the object of their desire, they can become very unhappy and even unruly.  The child may have no idea what the item costs or if it is a good thing for them to have, but they know they want it and they are convinced they should have it.  The child's desire has blinded them to anything other than that they want this thing.

It is not really surprising that we all tend to be like the child, we want something and all we can think about is having that thing without realizing what it really means to have it.  This is the situation Jesus faced with His disciples.  They wanted to be with Jesus and to have a high position with Him.  Without any real understanding of what they were asking for, like children, they said to Jesus, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask".

We often have the same problem that James and John had; we really do not even know if what we are asking for is right or not, we just want God to do what we want.  When we talk to God, we should not just focus on what do I want, but what does God want?  Prayer is not a magic wand that brings us what we want just because we want it; we must first know if what we are asking for is really God's will.  God loves us, and wants us to have good things, but we must know if what we ask for is in the will of God, in His Word. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Hot Outside, Cool Inside

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;"
Romans 12:10-11 (NKJV)

Temperatures in the Summertime can get very high, more so in some places than in others.  Some places I have been, like Oklahoma and Texas, can have some very hot temperatures during the Summer months, this is why air conditioning is so nice.  The temperature can be extremely hot outside, but with air conditioning things can be very cool inside.  You could pass by a house or some building during the hot weather and although it does not look so from the outside, where it is hot, it is very cool inside the building.

In the same way, Christians can look one way on the outside but have something different going in inside of them.  Some believers may jump, shout, and do a lot of great things in church, but that is not who they really are.  Too many Christians are "hot" when it comes to an exciting service or a special meeting, but unless something outside of them "heats them up" they are cool and lack any zeal to do anything God might be calling them too.  They may be hot on the outside but they are cool on the inside.

Romans 12:11 says to be "fervent" in spirit; this word literally means to be hot.   We need to have a fervent, "hot", desire within us to spend time with God and His Word more than just when a special meeting takes place.  We should have a zeal to reach the lost and take the Gospel around the world more than just when we hear a touching story from a missionary.  We should have an interest in helping others more than just when it directly benefits us.  By staying full of God's Word and following the direction of the Holy Spirit we can be fervent, hot, inside and outside spiritually all year long.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lessons From The Lazy Man

"I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down.
When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction:"
Proverbs 24:30-32 (NKJV)

When we think about learning something, we often think of going to a school of some kind, that is a very common place for learning.  If we wanted to learn a certain kind of skill, we could contact someone to teach us the things we needed to develop that skill.  But there are some places we may not associate with learning that we can still learn from.  In fact, if we are open to the idea of learning through a variety of methods, we can find that we will learn some lessons in unexpected places and in unusual circumstances.

Learning is a life-long process; we should continue to learn so that we will grow and develop to be more useful and effective in our lives and in the things that God calls us to do.  It will help us to have the mentality that we can always learn new things.  Some people seem to have the idea that there is only so much learning anyone can do and then that is the end.  If this was the case then it would be a sad way to live.  But, as Christians, with the Holy Spirit living in us and helping us, we can have a life-long learning process.

In Proverbs 24 there is a story about someone passing by the field of the lazy man and the vineyard of a man with no understanding.  This is certainly not meant to condone these people, but the idea here is that by just observing the world around them a person can learn in every situation.  God has great plans and purposes for us, and part of how we will do what God has called us to do is by always learning and growing.  If we keep ourselves open to learning, and pay attention to our real teacher, the Holy Spirit, we can learn new things and develop all the time.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Walk The Talk

"But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,"
2 Timothy 3:10 (NKJV)

In our world today, it is easy for people to say pretty much whatever they want.  While there are various laws that limit some of the things people can say, what I am referring to is how people tend to build themselves up beyond who they really are.  People can say that they are this, that, or the other thing, but in reality they are none of those things.  The sad part is when you might happen to actually meet that person and then you find out that who they claimed to be had nothing to do with who they really are.

Jesus had some very strong things to say to the religious leaders of His day, Jesus called them hypocrites.  What did Jesus mean by that?  Jesus was saying that these religious leaders talked the talk, but they did not walk the talk.  In other words, what they said and did were not the same thing, and that is not good.  In Matthew 23 Jesus even mentioned how some of what they said was fine, it was just that they did not do what they told others to do.  While the Pharisees were a bad example for others, Jesus and also Paul were good examples.

The Apostle Paul was a good leader and Christian because he walked the talk.  Paul even mentioned to Timothy how that Timothy knew what Paul taught and Timothy saw how Paul lived, there was no gap between the two. In James it talks about being a doer of the Word and this is really the same thing.  Many people can talk about what God's Word says, but do their lives show what they believe?  It is easy to talk about something, but it is quite different to do something about it.  How about us?  Do we live what we believe and walk the talk?  If not, we should.