Thursday, July 29, 2021

Listening, Watching, Waiting

"Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it.
Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors."
Proverbs 8:33-34 (NKJV)

For most of us, when we were children and December started, we could hardly wait for Christmas.  We awaited the day that we anticipated receiving our presents.  As adults, when you are waiting for someone you needed to see, you do everything you can to watch for them while you are waiting.  You certainly would not leave the place you were planning to meet them until they arrived, and you would put away every distraction to be sure you heard anything that signaled their arrival.

In the Bible, there are several places it encourages people who have ears to "let them hear".  This may seem strange since normally people have ears.  But that is similar to what we see in Proverbs 8 about wisdom, and how we need to listen, watch, and wait for wisdom.  Everyone needs wisdom and there are times we need more wisdom than at other times.  The question is, are we actively listening, watching, and waiting for wisdom?  Are we listening, watching, and waiting for wisdom as much as we do for other things?

God's wisdom is available to us in His Word and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.  But are we actively searching God's Word on a regular basis listening, watching, and waiting to receive the wisdom that God has for us, or do we just look for help in an emergency situation?   Are our prayers simply a monologue with God, or is it a time of our talking to Him as well as listening, watching, and waiting for what God has to say to us?  We all need to listen, watch, and wait for godly wisdom on a daily basis.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

After The Fireworks

"Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord."  And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rock in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;
and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."
1 Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV)

Every year on the Fourth of July in the USA there are fireworks.  In Germany, people shoot off fireworks at midnight on New Year's Eve, and I am sure that other countries have similar celebrations.  But no matter what nation you might be in, or what event is being celebrated, there is one thing that is certain, the fireworks will eventually end and everyone will go home.  Everyone likes the fireworks, but in your normal, everyday life, you don't have fireworks going off all of the time.

Some people would like to have a spectacular event happen every day, but that is not how we live our life.  For Christians, seminars and special services are good, and sometimes we might even say spectacular.  But no matter how amazing the seminar or service was, everyone eventually has to go home.  This is like the fireworks; you don't have fireworks happen every day of your life and you don't have something spectacular happen every day in your life as a believer either.

The Bible is filled with examples of miraculous things that happened in the lives of God's people, but those things did not happen on a daily basis.  Walking in love, spiritual growth, serving God, and living a good and holy life may not be as amazing as the parting of the Red Sea, Lazarus being raised from the dead, or Jesus calming a storm; but they are all things that need to be a part of our walk with God.  Don't make the mistake of being focused on, or seeking, the spectacular and missing out on the things that make up a satisfying and successful Christian life.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

What's Inside The Package?

"Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord.
So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them."
Joshua 9:14-15 (NKJV)

In my family, sometimes when giving Christmas gifts, someone buys a gift, but rather than leave the gift in the box that it came in, the person puts the gift into another box.  So, when the person receiving the gift takes off the wrapping paper, they see the outside of a box that may not actually represent what is inside.  Everyone in my family knows that they have to open the box to see what is really inside of it.  No matter what the package looks like on the outside, it does not tell you what is really on the inside.

Before Israel entered the Promised Land, God cautioned them about the people who were living there, because those people worshiped false gods, and even sacrificed their children to their false gods.  But there was one group of people that fooled the leaders of Israel.  The people of Gibeon came pretending to be from a distant land.  Rather than finding out what God had to say about those people, Israel looked at what the people had and made a covenant with them; this was a mistake that caused Israel problems.

Too many people today look at the outside of something, the packaging, or the style of a thing and accept it on that basis, rather than checking into it and finding out what is really inside and, more importantly, seeing what God has to say about it.  We should never value the style or look of something over the actual content or quality of the thing.  We need to listen to God's direction and use the godly principles we find in God's Word to determine if something is really acceptable or not, instead of just accepting something at face value. 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

An Important, Unimportant Thing

"But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
1 Corinthians 12:20-22 (NKJV)

If you looked at a sports or business team, you might rank who is the most important person on that team.  Or if you asked people what is the most important part on a car, you would probably have a few different answers based on what people think is necessary to make a car function.  While in a sense there may be a more important person or a more important part on a car, without the other people on the team, or the other parts in the car, nothing is going to work right.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul makes a comparison between the Body of Christ and the human body.  In the human body, everyone would agree that the heart is extremely important, but without the lungs the heart would not matter.  No rational person would say that there are unimportant parts of their body and, in the same way, no discerning believer would say that there are unimportant parts in the Body of Christ.  Every part of the human body is necessary and every part of the Body of Christ is also necessary.

Everyone knows that a pastor is important to a local church, but the person who cleans the church, works in the children's ministry, or serves as an usher is just as important and called by God as the pastor.  No matter how unimportant what you are doing may seem to be, it really is important to God and to the Body of Christ.  We all need to do our part and take our place in God's Family.  No matter who you are, and how unimportant what you do seems to be, you have an important part to play in the Body of Christ!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

As Advertised

"For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us."
2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV)

One of the worst things that a person or a company can do is to advertise or promise more than they can actually deliver.  If someone told you that they could help repair your computer, but then did not even know the basics of how a computer operates, it would be bad.  If a company advertised that a product could do a certain thing, but the product could not do half of what they said, they had then over-promised something.  In either case, the person or the company were shown to be untrustworthy.

It is a sad but true fact that sometimes people and companies promise things that they cannot deliver, but it is a wonderful and true fact that this is not the case with God!  What God has said and promised to us in His Word is something we can count on.  If there is something God has shown us in His Word, we can be assured that it is a statement of truth and we can act in confidence on what God has said.  The question is not if God will be true to His Word, the question is if we really believe it.

Too often people and companies over-promise on something, and we sometimes attribute these same qualities in people and companies to God.  We can easily become conditioned to think that there are no guaranties, and things are never quite what they are advertised as being.  But God's Word is not "Yes, no, or maybe", God's promises are Yes and Amen in Jesus!  God's promises are as advertised, everything God has promised in His Word is something He will do!