Thursday, August 27, 2020

Walking in Love – All And Nothing

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."
1 Corinthians 13:2 (NKJV) 

When I travel in Europe, one thing I pay attention to is the currency that I need to use.  This is not too difficult in Europe, because many nations there use the Euro as their currency.  But, in some countries, like Norway and Denmark, they do not accept the Euro.  There have been times that I was in one of those nations, and I have had some Euros in my possession, but I have not been able to use them.  No matter how many Euros I had, I was not able to purchase anything, so despite all the Euros that I had, it really amounted to nothing.

In writing about the love of God, in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul talks about what love is and he also gives some examples about how valuable love is.  In 1 Corinthians 13:2, Paul says that someone could be able to prophesy, understand all mysteries, have all knowledge, and all the faith necessary to move a mountain, but without love it would be nothing!  Love is so valuable, and so important, that no matter how much you have of anything else, without love those things are worthless; all you would have amounts to nothing.

The really wonderful thing is that as Christians we do have the God kind of love in us (Romans 5:5), and so we should do all that we can to let God’s love work in us and through us.  No matter how much we have of anything else, without the love of God operating in our lives, it is all for nothing!  We all need to be sure that our emphasis is not on just knowing a lot or even having vast amounts of faith, but our focus is on developing in the love of God.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Do You See It?

"while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NKJV) 

There have been several times where I was with someone looking at a historic site or some natural wonder.  Sometimes, the other person would direct my attention to a specific thing in the direction we were looking and say, “Do you see it?” hoping that I too noticed the thing they were pointing out.  At first, I still did not really see the thing that they were trying to show me.  Then, once I did eventually see it, it was easy to see it, whereas before I could not seem to pick that thing out from the rest of the scenery.

In 2 Corinthians 4:18, Paul gives us an unusual statement, “we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen”.  That sounds strange, because how can you look at something you cannot see?  Paul is not talking about natural things here, Paul is referring to spiritual things, spiritual truth.  While it is true that there are natural things around us, we want to look past the natural to the spiritual. We don’t’ want to focus our attention on what we see in the natural world, we want to keep our attention on spiritual things.

Spiritual truth can change natural facts.  The natural fact may be that your body has a problem, the spiritual truth is that Jesus paid for our healing on the cross (Isaiah 53:5).  The natural fact may be that we have a financial challenge, but the spiritual truth is that God will supply whatever we need (Philippians 4:19).  The natural fact is that we may not know at the moment what we need to do, but God said He will give us wisdom when we need it (James 1:5).  Rather than just acknowledge the natural fact, we need to keep our focus on the spiritual truth; can you see it?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Truth Here, There, And Everywhere

"Sanctify then by Your truth: Your word is truth."
John 17:17 (NKJV)

There are many different countries in the world, with many different people groups, and many different languages.  But, even with all of the differences, and all of the unique ways that people do things, there are some things that are the same everywhere.  Gravity still works everywhere, basic math works the same in every place, and every person on earth still needs to breathe air.  These things are true no matter where you might be; none of these things change from location to location, they are always true.

While there are many basic truths in the world, the most basic of all truth, and the most valid truth is what God has said.  The great thing about God’s Word is that it is just as true in one place as it is anywhere else.  God’s Word is not truer for one group of people than it is for another, the Bible is equally valid from country to country, and what God has said works the same for anyone who will put it into practice, because God’s Word is the truth!

There are many people today who echo the words of Pilate in John 18:38 when he asked, “What is truth?”; the answer is God’s Word.  People are looking for truth and not opinion today and we need to direct them to what God has said.  We all need to have the solid foundation of the Word of God in our life, because the truth of the Bible is what we need to base our life on.  God’s Word is the truth that we all need and that will always work; it is the truth, here, there, and everywhere.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Do I Know You?

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.  Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NKJV) 

Have you ever been in the situation where you see someone, and they look somewhat familiar, but you are not sure if you really know them?  You see them, and you think to yourself, “Do I know you?”, because you are not sure who that person might be.  Then, suddenly, you recognize that person as someone you do know, but you are seeing them in a completely different situation than you are used to seeing them.  Your first reaction is that you don’t recognize them, but you then realize you do know them and you are just seeing them in a different way than you usually see them. 

One thing that many Christians struggle with is their identity in Christ.  Once we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we have a new identity, a spiritual identity in Christ.  We are often so familiar with ourselves in our natural setting of life, and the way we have lived for so many years, that learning about our new identity in Christ can take some time.  When we start to learn about who we are in Christ, we are really seeing ourselves in a setting that is different from how we usually see ourselves. 

When we first learn about who we are as a new creation in Christ, it seems as if this somehow familiar to us, but we don’t recognize ourselves in that way.  Paul gives us a key in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17; from now on we don’t want to pay so much attention to who we are naturally, in the flesh, we want to know who we are in Christ.  We need to realize that our old identity is gone and we are now a new creation in Christ Jesus.  We need to get to know ourselves in Christ and recognize that as our true identity.