Thursday, December 31, 2020

Anticipation Or Trepidation?

"For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness."
Psalm 107:9 (NKJV)

Have you ever had to go someplace that you didn't really want to go?  Maybe it was a visit to the dentist, or going somewhere that involved seeing someone you did not want to see.  But, on the other hand, have you ever had someplace to go that you could hardly wait until you got there?  Maybe you had been planning a great vacation and you were excited about the trip long before you took it and you were filled with anticipation, rather than anxiety and trepidation as in the first situation.

Every year as we go from December to January and another calendar year approaches, some people eagerly look forward to a "New Year" with anticipation while others have a sense of dread and only feel trepidation.  Some people view the future through the experiences of the past and they are not looking forward to what may come next.  But no matter what the past has been like, we need to remember that God is on our side, His Word is true, Jesus is still our Lord and Savior, and with God our future is always bright!

While there are problems and challenges in life, none of that changes God and His Word!  We need to anticipate that good things will come to us this next year.  God is ready and willing to satisfy the longing in our soul of better days ahead and good things coming to us.  No matter what we have had in the past and what has happened this last year, we can still expect the best with God in the next year!  It is up to us how we face the future, and I choose to have an expectation that God is good and the best is yet to come!  How about you?

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Simple Math

"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)

Of all the subjects I had in school, my favorite was history and math was my least favorite subject.  But even though I did not do as well in math as I did in history, I still know some simple, basic principles of math.  Two plus two equals four, and four is a greater amount than two.  Those are some very simple mathematical concepts.  No one could just say that in their opinion, sometimes two plus two is two, or that two is greater than four, those statements are simply wrong.

James 1 talks about saving the soul through receiving God's Word.  James wrote his letter to believers, not trying to get them born again, but to help them understand that God's Word would make a difference in their mind and in their life.  While it is really not possible to spend a greater amount of time each day in God's Word than we do with everything else, we do need to have a regular time of reading and studying the Bible to add God's Word to our life, so that our thoughts and ideas are in line with God's.

There are a lot of thoughts that may go through our mind, so we need to be sure that we are filling our mind with God's thoughts from His Word.  If someone reads the Bible for five minutes a day, but spends an hour on social media or watching television, are they renewing their mind and saving their soul?  Spending more time with things that are contrary to God's Word than we do with God's Word will not help us renew our mind, that just does not add up right, it's just simple math.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Part Of The Process

"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase."
1 Corinthians 3:5-7 (NKJV)

Over a period of several months in Germany, I watched the process of a building being built.  First, workers came to clear the ground and to prepare for the foundation.  Then, workers arrived to set the foundation for the building, and other workers came to build the walls, the roof, and so on.  The question is, who built that building?  The answer is that every worker who was a part of the process built it.  It was not something that just one person did, there were many people involved in the process. 

The church in Corinth had a problem where some people were focused on their favorite minister, like Paul and Apollos.  Paul wrote to them about how doing this was wrong, because while he had one part to play and Apollos had another, God giving the increase was the most important thing.  Without someone planting, there is no watering, and if someone planted but no one watered, the planting would be useless.  But, without God being involved, none of it would matter; each person has a part in God's process of building the Church.

Today, we all have some people that we identify with and receive from more than others, but each one is just a part of the building process.  The same is true with every believer in the Body of Christ.  Each member of the Body is important and has a part to play in the process of building the Church.  We all need to recognize our part of the process and get involved, and we also need to remember that the most important thing is that we are a part of God's building process, not our own, and God causes it to grow and increase, not us.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Dead Or Alive?

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) 

There are two basic conditions a person could be in, dead or alive.  That may sound strange, but it is a fact that a person is either dead or alive, you cannot be both at the same time.  Someone may be in a coma or a serious physical condition because of a medical issue, but that person is still alive.  Someone is considered dead who has stopped breathing, their heart has stopped beating, and there is no more brain function.  No one could be seen as being both alive and dead, it is one or the other.

One advantage that Christians have over other religious beliefs is that we have the Word of God available to us.  Some religions follow the teachings of some great leader, and some groups have things that they say come from their god, but it is different for those who believe in God the Father and Jesus Christ, or at least it should be.  Christians talk about the Bible as having come from God, but unfortunately the Bible is not the final authority for many and it is not a living reality in their lives.

We either take the Bible as the living Word of God or not, the Bible either came from the Creator of the universe or it did not.  If the Bible is not alive to us, if we do not acknowledge the Bible as God's Word, then what is it and why pay attention to it?  As Hebrews 4:12 tells us, God's Word is alive!  The Bible is God's Word, not some dead book of historical facts and stories that are nice to hear.  We need to take God's Word for what it is, realize it has extreme importance for our lives today, and do all we can to learn and understand it

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Information, Misinformation, Disinformation

"Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,
and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.  For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and 'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "It is written again, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"
Matthew 4:5-7 (NKJV)

There are many ways that people get information and find out about what is happening in the world.  However, not all of the information we receive today is accurate and factual.  Some of what is presented as information (facts, knowledge, and data), is really misinformation (incorrect or misleading information), and even disinformation (false information deliberately spread to conceal the truth).  The question then is, how can we tell what is accurate information and what is not? 

The answer to what is information, misinformation, or disinformation depends on the topic.  For example, if I want to have accurate information about my computer, I should go back to the owner's manual from the computer company and not just ask the first person I see on the street.  For Christians, we have to go back to our best source of information, the Bible, to see what is true and accurate for us; this of course means we need to spend time in God's Word to know what it says.

When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, the devil presented Jesus with misinformation.  The devil quoted most of Psalm 91:11-12, but the devil presented what was said in a misleading way.  Jesus was very familiar with God's Word and His response was to bring accurate information from Deuteronomy 6:16 to refute what the devil had said.  This is the way we must also respond, with God's Word.  We need to know the facts of God's Word for ourselves to avoid and recognize whatever misinformation or disinformation the devil and the world present to us.