Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dietary Restrictions

"Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them,
Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth:"
Leviticus 11:1-2 (NKJV) 

There are some people who have dietary restrictions due to a medical condition or even because of certain health goals.  Some things might be alright for these people to eat, and other things have to be avoided to maintain the person’s health standards.  In the Old Testament, God told His people there were some things they could eat and others they were not allowed to eat.  There were a couple of reasons for this, but the main point is that like people with medical problems or for health reasons, some things were good for the Israelites to eat and some were not. 

There are some things we should and should not eat naturally, and some things we should and should not “eat” spiritually.  In places like Leviticus 11, God gave Israel guidelines about what to eat and what not to eat. God told them there were some things they should not eat that in one or more ways may have seemed good.  The same thing is true for us today spiritually.  Some things may seem good in one way spiritually, but they are things that we really should avoid.  An easy example of this is a teaching that comes from a well-known minister, but it directly contradicts the Bible.

As Christians, we really do not have any natural dietary restrictions that need to be followed, like in the Old Testament, but there are some spiritual dietary restrictions that would be good for us to pay attention to.  Something may look good in one aspect, but be bad in another and we should avoid it.  Too many Christians get caught up and then blown around by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) which is why we shouldn’t just eat everything, spiritually speaking.  God knows what is best for us and He has given us spiritual principles in His Word as our standard for what to partake of spiritually.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Taking Inventory

"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.  Death no longer has dominion over Him.
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:8-11 (NKJV) 

More than once in my life, I have worked in a place where I was responsible for keeping track of the inventory.  This all happened years ago, so I usually kept track of the inventory by making a list on a piece of paper.  It was my responsibility to go through the store to check on the various items we had to sell, and to be sure that the inventory was accurate.  My job was to know what we had in our inventory and what was available to us, if we didn’t know what we had, we could not have made use of it.

An inventory is necessary to keep track of items in a business, because without an accurate inventory you may not know what you actually have.  What is true naturally is also true spiritually, sometimes people do not accurately know what they have.  If you don’t know what you possess and have naturally you cannot make use of it, and if you don’t know what you possess and have spiritually you cannot make use of it.  Romans 6:11 tells us to “reckon” or “to take an inventory” of our being dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.

Through Christ, we have been separated from the power of sin and its ability to dominate our lives.  Not only that, but 2 Corinthians 5:17 says we are a new creation in Christ and old things have passed away; 2 Corinthians 5:21 says we are the righteousness of God in Christ.  What else do we have in Christ, what belongs to us now?  The best way to find out is to go through the New Testament, and especially the Epistles, to see what we have now that we are in Christ.  As a Christian, there are things we possess and have in Christ that we need to know about.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Redeeming The Time

"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV) 

Many people say if they just had more time, they would do this or that.  On the other hand, some people talk about how they are just “passing the time” or “killing time” in the sense of not really doing anything.  But we all know that time is something that you only have at one moment, time comes and then time passes.  No one has invented a time machine to go back in time to relive some event or do something differently than they did previously.  Therefore, it would be a good idea for all of us to make the best use of our time.

In Ephesians 5:15-16, we have some words of wisdom that everyone can use; we don’t want to be foolish, but instead, we should redeem the time.  We are told to “walk circumspectly”.  What doe­s that mean?  This is saying that we need to walk, to live, carefully.  If we are careful, and we are wise, then we are not careless.  Being careless can mean being reckless and not really paying attention.  The word “redeeming” in verse 16 means to “buy up, to ransom, to rescue from a loss”.  We want to make the best use of our time, all the time, and not waste our time; we don’t want to act unwisely and let our time slip away from us in unproductive activities.

No one wants to find out that they wasted their time and did something that was unprofitable and useless.  How can we be wise and make the best use of our time?  One simple way is by making priorities, seeing what is really important and what is not.  This is something we can do with just a little thought, and if we ask God to help us, He will certainly guide us in this area.  Making the best use of our time is not just a good idea, but it will help us live a happier and more productive life.  By making the best use of our time, by redeeming the time, we will be able to get more done in our life and we will also be more effective and fruitful in the Kingdom of God.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

How Strong Are You?

"If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small."
Proverbs 24:10 (NKJV) 

Many years ago, I worked for a company where I made some deliveries and picked up some things, like office supplies.  There were several times that I had a large number of office supplies to pick up.  Often, the workers at the office supply warehouse asked me if I would be able to lift the boxes by myself or if I needed help.  Most of the time the boxes were not too heavy and I was able to pick them up.  The level of my strength did not increase based on how heavy the boxes were, my ability to pick up the boxes just showed my level of strength.

It has been said that adversity brings out the best in people and that challenges make you stronger.  While adversity can give us an opportunity to act our best, and challenges can help us develop in some ways, in reality, adversity and challenges just show how strong we are.  Proverbs 24:10 tells us that if we faint in the time of adversity, we are not strong enough.  While this statement seems very obvious and simple, this verse is not a condemnation of me or anyone else who has had trouble dealing with a problem, it is the answer to the problem.

If we are not strong enough to meet a challenge, then we need to build up our strength.  In Nehemiah 8:10 we find a key to this; the joy of the Lord is our strength.  How can we be joyful all the time, and in the midst of adversity?  By focusing on God and His Word and allowing Him to work through us.  God has given us His Word and He will guide us by the Holy Spirit.  Often, God will work to prepare us even before a problem comes.  As we keep our focus on what God has said and follow His directions, He will empower us by the Holy Spirit and direct us to success in every challenge. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

What Do You Call Yourself?

"No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations."
Genesis 17:5 (NKJV)

Sometimes, for different reasons, people change their name.  The most common example is when a woman gets married, her last name is changed.  But even if this is not the case, when a woman gets married, she is now a wife and when a man gets married, he is a husband.  When someone has their name changed for whatever reason they need to use that name for their identification and not their former name, otherwise there could be problems.  Calling yourself by the right name is important so that you can be identified correctly.

In Genesis we see the story about Abraham.  Originally his name was Abram, but when he got into a covenant relationship with God, God changed Abram's name to Abraham.  There are several things that could be said about that, but the main thing is that there was a name change and for Abraham to correctly identify himself, he needed to refer to himself the way that God did.  In the same way that God changed Abram's name to Abraham, when we come into a relationship with God through Jesus, what we call ourselves should change.

Once, we were a stranger to God, but now we are fellow citizens with the saints (Ephesians 2:9).  We are now a new creation and the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21), we are more than a conqueror in Christ (Romans 8:37), and the greater one, the Holy Spirit, lives in us (1 John 4:4).  As a child of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16-17) we need to know what to call ourselves.  Don't refer to yourself the way you have before, call yourself who you are in Christ; we need to say about ourselves what God has said.