Thursday, September 26, 2019

All Inclusive

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, though the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
2 Peter 1:2-4 (NKJV)

Of all the times that I have flown, I have only sat in the first-class section once; I was upgraded by the airline and enjoyed my flight in more comfort than I would have otherwise.  Being in first class was different, not only because I had never sat there before, but because of all the benefits I received.  Normally I fly in economy class and what you receive on the flight is minimal.  But when you fly in first class it seems like everything you might need on an airplane is included; first class is all inclusive while economy class is not.

People have different ideas about what it means to be a Christian.  Some people think that being a believer in Jesus is basically just a way to ensure that you will go to heaven when you die.  Some people think that becoming a Christian means you go to heaven and have a few nice things now, but there are still have a lot of things you will not have until you get to heaven.  But, the great thing about salvation is that it is all inclusive!  Salvation is wonderful, but there is also much more.

Being a Christian does not mean that you barely get by in life and go to heaven one day.  As Peter points out in his second letter, God has given us all things for life and godliness.  People will usually ask that if it really does mean all, then things should be different in their life.  But, notice that it talks about these things coming to us through the knowledge of Him and that we must partake.  God has sent Jesus, now it is up to us to find out what belongs to us and partake of it.  Don't be an economy class Christian, live in the all inclusive salvation that God provided for us through Jesus.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Lighten The Load

"And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.
On the third day we threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands.

So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and threw the wheat into the sea."
Acts 27:18-19, 38 (NKJV)

There are some things that I always take with me on trips, like my computer and tablet, both of them are very important for what I do.  But there are some things I would not take on a trip because I do not need them.  I have a lot of good books, but I don't bring them all with me on the trips I take.  If I took a lot of unnecessary things with me on a trip, I would overload myself with things that would actually make my trip harder.  Sometimes a decision has to be made about what I need to take along and what I need to leave behind.

In Acts 27, the Apostle Paul is being taken to Rome as a prisoner and the ship he is on encounters a storm.  The storm was so bad that the people on the ship knew that they had to get rid of all of the unnecessary things or they would crash.  At one point they threw some of the ship's equipment overboard and later they even threw the food overboard!  This was not because the ship's equipment and food were not good, but at that point in their journey those things were unnecessary.

As we travel though life, there will be times that we face challenges and difficulties and we need to make a decision about what to keep and what to let go of.  Sometimes we will not go as far as we should in our relationship with God, and in some areas of life, if we are not willing to lighten our load and throw some things overboard, so to speak.  By following the guidelines we have in God's Word and listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit we will know what is really necessary in the different situations we face in life and what will only weigh us down and hinder us from doing what we need to do.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

What's My Motivation?

"For in fact the body is not one member but many."
1 Corinthians 12:14 (NKJV)

Sometimes during the filming of a movie or TV show, an actor may ask the director, "What's my motivation for this scene?".  What the actor wants to know is, why is the character they are playing doing what they are doing?  The actor is trying to understand the motivation behind the character's actions, why they are acting the way that they are.  We might even ask ourselves the question, "What gets me out of bed in the morning?" or something like that.  This kind of question again goes to motivation, why do we do what are doing?

Many people do not have much motivation in their life because they see no real purpose for their life.  People sometimes get involved in some cause because they are looking for something bigger than themselves to be connected to in order to bring a sense of purpose to their life.  For Christians, our motivation should be easy; we are a part of the Body of Christ and God has a plan for our lives.  Just like our natural body was designed with every part having a specific and important function, the same is true with the Body of Christ. 

Some Christians wander aimlessly through life because they do not understand that God has a plan for them, they are important to God, and they are a valuable part of His Body.  There are no extra, unnecessary parts to our natural body and the same is true with the Body of Christ.  We need to get into God's Word to find our place in the Body of Christ and allow that to motivate us and let that be the reason for why we do the things that we do.  When we have an understanding of who we are in Christ and that God has a plan for us in His Body, we won't have to look somewhere else for our motivation in life. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Focus On The Truth

"Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness."
2 Timothy 2:14-16 (NKJV)

What if you were interested in learning about the history of England, but you only read books about the history of Norway?  The obvious answer is that you would not learn much, if anything, about the history of England.  And what if you wanted to learn how to be a good cook, but the only thing you searched for on the Internet was stories about people who climbed mountains?  Again, you would not learn anything about the desired subject.  To learn about a certain subject, you have to focus on that subject.

There are three letters in the New Testament that were written to ministers:1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.  When I read these letters, it always stands out to me how often Paul talked about avoiding the wrong kind of teaching, and arguments about things that do not really matter.  To be successful in ministry, and to be a mature believer, we need to feed ourselves on God's Word and avoid things contrary to the Word.  While I realize that this sounds extreme to some people, it is still the truth. 

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul talks about being diligent to correctly interpret the Word of God.  If we spend more of our time focusing on things that are not Bible based than we do with Bible truth, we are going to have problems.  Paul says how the wrong kinds of things will "ruin the hearers" and "increase to more ungodliness", which is obviously bad.  Focusing on the truth and avoiding the wrong kind of teaching is very important; the things we spend our time with will do something for us, either positively or negatively.