Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Thankful Choice

"And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!"
Gideon said to Him, " O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?  And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?'  But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."
Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.  Have I not sent you?"
Judges 6:12-14 (NKJV)

What if someone presented you with a stone and told you that you could keep the stone or you could have a piece of chocolate instead?  Unless you did not like chocolate, you would probably get rid of the stone and take the chocolate.  Would it be logical to just feel bad and complain about having a stone when you could have the chocolate?  Maybe you would rather have something else instead of the chocolate, but wouldn't it be better to focus on what you do have than what you don't? 

In Judges 6 we read about Gideon.  Gideon was an Israelite who lived during a time when Israel was being dominated by their enemies.  The good thing was that God wanted to use Gideon to defeat Israel's enemies.  But, when the Angel of the Lord came to tell Gideon the good news, all Gideon could do was focus on his problems and questions about why things were not better than they were.  As Gideon was being presented with the answer to his problems, all Gideon could do at first was to complain about the situation.

So often we are like Gideon, we spend time looking at the negative aspects of the situation we are in, rather than consider the positive things.  Gideon could have made the choice to be thankful that God was ready to deliver Israel, or that God was going to use him, rather than wonder why he did not see some things the way he thought he should.  What about us, are we going to be thankful about the positive things that are going on, or will we complain about the negative things?  We need to make the thankful choice and give thanks for the things we can, and not just complain about the bad things in life.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Our Defense

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence."
He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler."
Psalm 91:1-4 (NKJV)

One thing that has always been important for soldiers is protection and defense.  In ancient times, one of the best defenses and protections a soldier could have was a shield.  There were different types of shields, some were large and some were small.  Small shields were called a buckler, and they were used for close-quarters combat.  But, no matter what the size, soldiers wanted to have a shield; without a shield a soldier was defenseless and an easy target for the enemy. 

The Bible tells us that we have an enemy, the devil.  We need to be sure we are taking advantage of the spiritual armor that God has provided for us, as Paul talked about in Ephesians 6:11-18, to be able to defend ourselves against any attack from the devil.  One part of our spiritual armor that is very important is the shield of faith.  But what is the shield of faith all about?  Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, so the shield of faith has to do with God's Word.

God's Word is what is used as our defense against any and every attack of the enemy.  As we look at what Psalm 91 shows us about God's protection, we see in verse four that "His truth will be your shield and buckler".  If God's Word is our shield and buckler, then without God's Word we are defenseless.  We need to fill ourselves with the Word of God to have a shield that is strong enough to withstand any attack that the enemy brings.  Build up your defense today through God's Word, don't let yourself be defenseless.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Airplane Windows

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

One thing that has always puzzled me is how often people open the shades to look out the airplane windows on international flights.  On international flights I have taken, from the USA to Europe or from Europe to the USA, most of the flying time the aircraft is over the ocean, as well as up in the clouds, so there is really nothing to see.  Still, people will repeatedly open the window to look outside, and pretty much all they ever see is clouds.  It would be better to just sit back and do your best to enjoy the flight.

Faith is a key element in the Christian life.  We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), without faith we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6), the just shall live by faith (Galatians 3:11), and we walk by faith not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  All of this talks about faith, which comes from God's Word (Romans 10:17) and is not based on what we see (Hebrews 11:1).  From this we learn that we are saved, we please God, and we live by God's Word and not by what we see.

Too often, instead of taking a stand in faith on what God has said in His Word, we are looking around for some natural evidence that will help us locate ourselves in what we dealing with.  But, with anything we are facing in life, from the point of our salvation onward, we need to put our confidence and trust in God and relax in our faith knowing that God's Word is true and He is faithful to do what He has said He will do.  Take your stand in faith on God's Word and don't bother "looking out the windows", there is nothing we need to see out there.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

How Do You Take It?

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:11 (NKJV)

Many people like coffee and there are a variety of ways that people take their coffee.  When I am on an airplane, for example, and I ask for coffee, they always ask if I take it with cream and sugar.  How I take my coffee will make a difference in how it will taste to me.  If I add a lot of cream or a lot of sugar to the coffee, it will have a big impact on the taste of the coffee.  But one thing is for sure, you have to start with coffee because that is the basic ingredient of the drink.

The people in the city of Berea were people who "received the Word with all readiness of mind".  The Bereans were people who had the right attitude about God's Word and they received the Word, they took the Word, in the right way; they were eager to hear and receive the Word.  Just like you could add a lot of cream or sugar to your coffee to make it so that the taste of the coffee is dramatically altered, you can take God's Word in a way that will dramatically alter the "taste" you have of the Word of God.

If we read and study God's Word with the wrong attitude, we are taking it the wrong way and we will miss the benefits of it.  As James 1:21 tells us, we need to receive the Word with meekness, which is talking about humility and a mild attitude rather than a combative and resisting attitude.  How we take God's Word will have a major impact on our spiritual growth and development, as well as our ability to work with and help other people.  We all need to have the right attitude about receiving God's Word.