Thursday, March 26, 2020

What Is In The Toothpaste Tube?

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

What would you do if you bought a tube of toothpaste, brought it home, and the when you squeezed it ketchup came out?  That would be really strange and no one would like that.  When you buy a tube of toothpaste you expect to get toothpaste, but why is that?  Why is there toothpaste in the toothpaste tube and not something else?  It is not a trick question and the answer is really very simple.  There is toothpaste in the toothpaste tube because that is what was put in there.

In Romans 10:17 we learn how we get faith, through hearing God's Word.  As we continue to spend time hearing God's Word, through teaching or preaching and our own reading or studying it, we are building our faith.  But what people often don't realize is that while this principle works in the area of building our faith, it also applies to all of the things we hear and spend time with.  Just like spending time in God's Word will build our faith, what we spend our time with will build something in us.

People become afraid because they hear things that build fear into them.  People become depressed because they hear things that make them sad.  In the New Testament we are repeatedly encouraged to hear the right things and avoid the wrong things because of what each will do to us and for us.  To build faith, we need God's Word, and if something we hear does not agree with what God's Word has told us, then that thing will not build faith in us and we should avoid it.  What we spend our time hearing, and even thinking about, will do something in us.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Stocking Up

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)

Every Winter in Wisconsin there is snow.  Sometimes there are snowstorms that bring a lot of snow.  One thing that happens when there is the threat of a snowstorm is that people will go to the store and stock up on essential items and food.  People do this because they think that there might be so much snow that it is not possible to get out again for several days.  While some people do go overboard and buy more than is necessary, it is good to be stocked up with what you need to be prepared.

In Colossians 3:16, Paul wrote that we need to let God's Word dwell in us, richly.  There are a couple of important things to notice here.  First of all, it is up to us.  Paul said we were to let this happen, we have to allow it; God's Word is not going to just jump into us out of the Bible sitting next to us on a table.  Secondly, it is not just getting God's Word into us, but we are told to have it in us to a "rich" measure.  We need more than just a little bit of God's Word, we need a lot of it.

We could say it this way, we need to stock up on God's Word.  When there is potential for a problem situation, like a snowstorm or something else, people will stock up on what they need.  We will always need to know God's Word, so we should be in a continuous mode of stocking up, filling up with God's Word, we don't want to wait until the problem comes.  We need to be prepared for whatever might happen by stocking up on God's Word.  We need to read it, study it, think about it, talk about it, and fill ourselves with the Word of God.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

What Are You Looking At?

"And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots.  And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master!  What shall we do?"
So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see."  Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw.  And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."
2 Kings 6:15-17 (NKJV)

If several people were sitting in a room and they were all looking out of a window, you could ask them what they see and they would probably give you several different answers.  One person might say that they see some trees, while another person might talk about seeing some birds, and another person might say they see some clouds in the sky.  It is not that they are actually seeing different things, but these people are all looking at different things that are outside of the same window. 

In 2 Kings 6, it tells us that the King of Syria was angry with Elisha so he sent the army to capture him.  When Elisha's servant looked out in the morning, he saw that the city was surrounded by the Syrian army.  This was shocking and upsetting to him, so he ran to ask Elisha what to do.  Elisha simply said that there were more on their side than on the Syrian side.  Elisha prayed that his servant's eyes would be opened and the servant then saw horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha; God's protection was already there for Elisha.

What was the difference between what Elisha and his servant saw?  They were in the same place in the same city, but they were looking at different things.  The servant was looking at the natural situation while Elisha was looking past the natural situation to the spiritual situation.  It is easy to be upset, afraid, and discouraged when we only look at the natural situations we face, but we must look past the natural to the spiritual.  We must focus on the spiritual truth we see in God's Word and not just the natural situation; we need to look at what God says about our situation. 

Thursday, March 5, 2020


"Do not let your adornment by merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - 
rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."
1 Peter 3:3-4 (NKJV)

Most of the food we buy has some kind of a label on it that identifies it by its brand name, the contents, and the nutrition information.  But what if the label was wrong?  What if there was some mistake and the information about the product was not correct, or if somehow the right label was switched with a wrong label?  If that was the case, you would not be able to trust what the label said, you would need to contact the manufacturer or see inside the package to know what was really in there.

There are a lot of labels that people use to identify themselves and others, and very often these labels are not correct.  Sometimes people are labeled things like "stupid", "failure", "victim", "worthless", or "underachiever".  But, are these labels really correct, and if so, why would they be?  How can we know if the label we or others have been given is the right label?  Could it be that sometimes people are given a label that is not right? Usually the label given a person is no real indication of what is inside of them.

We could say that God is our real "manufacturer" and He would know best what we really are and what our label should be.  We may have acquired a label though some experience in our life, but that does not mean that this is the correct label for us to wear for the rest of our life.  Don't just accept the label you have been given, even by yourself.  We need to look into God's Word and find out who we really are, who we have been made to be by God, and use that as our label.