Thursday, September 24, 2020

No Surprise Party

"Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,"
Isaiah 46:9-10 (NKJV)

Have you ever been a part of a surprise party?  The idea is that you want to celebrate a birthday or some other special event, but you do not want the main person involved to know about the party.  While you don't want to lie to the person about what is going on, you don't want to tell them everything or it will ruin the surprise, you want that person not to know what is happening.  If the person finds out that the party will take place, then the goal of surprising the person is lost.

You may be able to surprise some people with a party or something else they were not expecting, but you can never surprise God.  No matter what might happen that is a surprise to us, it is no surprise to God.  Sometimes when something negative happens, we are surprised, we get concerned and we wonder what to do.  But the good thing is that while we may have been surprised, God was not.  God knows what is going to happen before it does and He has the solution before we even know about the problem!

It is natural to feel surprise or even shock when something bad happens.  But we have to be sure that we remember that God is never unaware of what is going on and He already has the answer to our question about what to do next.  As Isaiah 46:10 tells us, God declares the end from the beginning and His counsel, His Word will stand strong.  God knows what we need to do, how we need to do it, and exactly when we need to do it.  The next time you feel surprised, remember that God is never surprised and He is ready and able to help!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Spending Time With It

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life."
1 John 1:1 (NKJV)

Several years ago, there was a commercial about the upcoming World Cup.  People were seen using a soccer ball and then passing it to other people.  These people kicked the ball with their feet, they bounced it off of their knees and their head, and sometimes did little tricks with the ball, it was amazing to watch.  If you saw that ad you may have been like me and wondered how those people could use the ball so well.  The answer is that they could do those things because they had spent so much time with it. 

In 1 John 1:1, John wrote about "the Word of life".  Most people agree that John is referring to Jesus, the living Word of God, and this could also apply to the message of the Word of life, the Gospel.  John did not just state a fact about something that has been around since the beginning, or even that he had just heard about it.  John says that he saw it, and looked upon it, and handled it.  Not only did he hear about it, but he did something with it.  Not only did John see it, but he spent time looking at it. 

John is telling us about something that he had a personal experience with.  Too often people have a merely casual relationship to God and His Word, but we need to be like John and have a deep relationship.  This takes time to develop, and we can only develop in it by spending time with the living and written Word of God.  John had an intimate, personal experience with Jesus the living Word as well as with God's written Word, and that is what we should have too.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Follow Through

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 
But be ye doers of the word, and not hears only, deceiving yourselves."
James 1:21-22 (NKJV)

There are several sports that use a ball, such as tennis and golf.  One thing that these sports have in common is that there needs to be a follow through of the swing made to hit the ball.  If you would only hit the ball and then somehow stop your swing, then you are not hitting the ball correctly and you will not have the best and maximum result from what you are doing.  Having a proper follow through is necessary to correctly hitting the ball the way that you need to.

In the same way that there needs to be a follow through when hitting a ball, as Christians, there needs to be a "follow through" of what we learn from God's Word, the Bible.  In James 1:21, we see how we need to receive God's Word, and James 1:22 shows us the "follow through" of then doing what we learn from the Word.  We need to receive God's Word, which then of course means we need to spend time with God's Word, in order to then become a doer of the Word.

If we are only hearing the Word and not doing the Word, we are deceiving ourselves and denying ourselves the positive benefits that come through the obedience of putting God's Word into practice in our life.  It is one thing to hear God's Word, to memorize what we have heard, tell others about what we have heard, and even get excited about it; but that does not mean we are actually putting the Word into practice in our life.  We need to hear God's Word, receive the Word, and do what the Word says.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Getting Into The Ministry

"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them; if prophecy, let us prophecy in proportion to our faith;
or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."
Romans 12:6-8 

When I first moved to Germany, I remember thinking how the driving methods there were so different than in the USA. While the basics of driving are the same in both nations, there were some things that seemed confusing to me, and because of that I was not too eager to drive.  But, when I started to actually do some driving, I realized that it was not really so hard to do, once I started to do it. Some of the original ideas I had were proven wrong, once I understood things and started to take some action.

When people think about “ministry”, they often have ideas about what ministry is that are not based on what the Bible actually teaches.  When we see the word “ministry” in the Bible, it is basically just talking about serving.  Every believer has been called to serve, to minister, but people don’t always understand that.  In Romans 12, it talks about different gifts, different graces that people may have.  What people often focus on with ministry and serving is the part about teaching and leading.  But there are more things listed in Romans 12 than just those two things.

What is interesting about the list in Romans 12, is that there are things given there that almost anyone can do, right now.  You don’t have to have a special assignment from God to serve others, to encourage someone, to give, or to show mercy.  In fact, when people ask about getting into the ministry, I suggest that they start doing some of these things.  Anyone can serve, encourage, give, and show mercy.  Then, as we do some of these things, we may find that it really is something we are gifted, graced, to do.  We can all get into the ministry and serve right where we are today, it is not that hard, once we actually start doing it.