Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Start Is Just The Beginning

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"
Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)

When I was in High School, I was involved in various running sports and we would compete against other schools.  Sometimes we would have to travel to another school for the competition; sometimes the trip was short, and sometimes the trip was long and took more time.  Then, after we arrived, we got ourselves ready for the race, but we still had to run the race, which had not yet even started.  The traveling and the preparations we did were just the beginning and the race still had to be run.

In the Bible, the Christian life is compared to several things, including a race, as we see in Hebrews 12.  The point is to run our race, which is to fulfill God's plan for our life.  But there are a lot of people who come to know Jesus and then somehow think that is the end.  Salvation and being born again is not the goal, it is just the beginning, it is just the start of the race that God has called us to run.  Our race has only begun and there is so much more that God wants us to do.

There are some things we have done to get to the point we are at now, but that does not mean we now just sit on the sidelines as though the race is over.  We should never get to the place of spiritual contentment, thinking we have arrived and now we are just living our life waiting to go to heaven.  We need to keep on running our race, laying aside anything that would hinder us, doing what God has instructed us to do in His Word and by the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Going Through The Wilderness

"Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
being tempted for forty days by the devil.  And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region."
Luke 4:1-2, 13-14 (NKJV)

Over the years, I have driven through a lot of places.  There were times I traveled through some very nice places with some great scenery.  Other times, I went through places I would have avoided altogether if it was possible to do so.  But, since I did not build the roads or create the routes themselves, all I could do was go from one place to another, no matter what things looked like.  And besides, the views I had were not as important as getting to where I needed to go was.

Luke 4 shows us the story of Jesus going through the wilderness and His being tempted by the devil.  When Jesus started His journey into and through the wilderness, He was led by the Spirit as to where He went, He spoke God's Word to the devil in every temptation, and Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.  Jesus successfully went through the wilderness.  It even says that Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit, not that His life was ruined or He needed therapy after what He went through.

Everyone likes great experiences with God, but there are times we will go through a wilderness type situation as we move forward in God's plan for our life.  We need to learn from Jesus and have the same kind of wilderness experience that He had, a successful one.  No matter what is going on in your life today, be determined to continue following the leading of the Holy Spirit and continue to focus on and speak God's Word.  That is how we successfully go through the wilderness and come out even stronger on the other side of the journey.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Second Hand Information?

"And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did."
So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.
And many more believed because of His own word.
Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."
John 4:39-42 (NKJV)

There are many people who simply believe what others tell them.  This is not information that a person received directly; it could be called second hand information.  This can be good, or bad, depending on who is sharing the information, but it is always better if we can have a direct source for what we learn, and not just base what we know on what we heard from someone else, relying on the things they say.  We need to go from second hand information to personal information.

In John 4, there is the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well.  The woman comes to see that Jesus is the Messiah and she goes to tell others, who then believe her testimony.  But what happens next is something that we all need to take note of.  The people who believed the testimony of the woman then came to Jesus for themselves.  And, because of what they heard for themselves, they came to a personal belief that Jesus is the Messiah.  Not just because of what the woman said, but because of what they had learned for themselves.

There are many people who base what they believe about God and His Word, and many other things, just on what they know from other people.  It is not enough for us to believe something and accept it as truth because we heard it from someone else, even if that person could be considered a reliable source.  We need to go from second hand information to personal knowledge and understanding of God, our relationship with Jesus, and all that God's Word tells us.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Family Tree

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe in His name:"
John 1:12 (NKJV)

Some people like to study their genealogy, their family tree.  There are many resources available today that can help people trace their family background.  Some people do not have much interest in tracing their family history and finding out who is in their family tree, because their family was not so good.  Other people are very proud to talk about their family history and who they are related to.  But in either case, you don't pick your family, you are simply born into it.

Even in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, you can see how people's family background and history was recorded and how it played an important part in what those people were sometimes able to do.  When the people of Israel returned from captivity, those who could not show their family history had some difficulties, because who you were related to was so important, and we even see this in Matthew and Luke where some of the family history of Jesus is listed.

But no matter who we have in our natural family background, or how many good or bad people might be a part of our family tree, as Christians we are children of God.  Naturally, you may come from a good or a bad family, but the best family to be a part of is God's Family!  Thank God for good families, but today it is easy for us to trace our family history, God is our Father and we are His children.  We did not do anything to earn it, but because of Jesus, we have been born again into the best of all families!