Thursday, September 30, 2021

Unnecessary Information

"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,"
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Today it is easier than ever before to see what is being reported in the news, to see what people are doing, and to communicate with others.  In one way this is good, but in another way, it is not so good.  We have so much information available and being presented to us now, about so many things, that it can be overwhelming.  The problem we have is not finding a way to be informed about different things, but it is sorting through all of the information we have available to us.

Today, we are very blessed to have God's Word available to us in more ways than ever before.  As Christians, the Bible needs to be our main source of information, but this does not mean we should ignore or refuse any other kind of information.  While there is a lot of information presented to us that is unnecessary information, we do not want to be completely ignorant of what is happening in the world around us, but we do need to determine what is good or bad.

There is some necessary information that we need to know, it is the information that God gives us in His Word to help us run the race He has called us to run.  We need to put aside all of the information and things that are not really necessary for us to do what God has called us to do, and we need to focus on Jesus and the necessary information we have in God's Word.  By ignoring the unnecessary information and focusing on what is truly necessary, we can do everything that God is calling us to do.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Keep Looking Forward

"Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you."
Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
Do not turn to the right hand or the left; remove your foot from evil."
Proverbs 4:25-27 (NKJV)

One thing that I remember from the running sports I was involved in during High School is how the coaches would tell us again and again to keep looking forward and not to turn our heads as we ran.  The reason is that if you turn your head to the side, or you look behind you as you run, that this will slow you down, and you might even trip over something.  I remember once when someone was running a race, and as they turned their head for some reason, another person passed them and finished ahead of them.

There are a lot of things today that can distract us and cause us to lose our focus and look to the side or behind us, so to speak, and cause us to slow down or even get off of the course we are supposed to be on.  Hebrews 12:1 compares the Christian life to a race, and in 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul talked about having finished his race.  We will not run our race for God the way we should if we do not keep looking forward and we allow ourselves to be distracted from doing what God wants us to do.

It seems that anytime some crisis happens in the world, or even when things don't go the way that we planned, that we start looking away from God's Word and the direction that the Holy Spirit is leading us.  If we stop paying attention to what God has said, if we are not focused on the path He has laid out for us, and if we start looking to our right and left in life, it will be hard for us to complete the race God has given to us.  Keep looking forward, no matter what is happening around you, and keep doing the will of God.  That is how we need to run our race for God.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Ice Cream For Every Meal?

"For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God,"
Acts 20:27 (NKJV)

If you asked a child what they wanted to eat, they might say that they want something like ice cream.  In fact, some children would have ice cream for every meal of the day, if they were allowed to have it, and some adults would too.  But most people know that you can't just eat ice cream for every meal, you have to have a proper, balanced diet that includes a variety of things.  If you only ate ice cream, but no vegetables or fruits, it would not be long before you became weak and sick because of your unhealthy diet.

If you asked Christians what they want to hear about in a church service, they might give you some answers based on what sounds interesting or exciting to them.  But while those topics may be popular, they may not be very beneficial to someone living a godly life.  This is like the child with the ice cream, we sometimes naturally and spiritually want things that seem more enjoyable to us, instead of the things that are needed.  Just like we need to eat our vegetables naturally, we need to have a good spiritual diet of the whole Word of God that will help us grow and develop spiritually

In Acts 20, Paul talked about how he taught "the whole counsel of God"; Paul was careful to be sure that his teaching covered all of the Gospel and not just the parts that people considered to be exciting.  Too often teaching and preaching is about things people want to hear that seem to excite them, but those things don't necessarily help people to grow and develop spiritually.  We need to be sure that we are feeding ourselves with the whole counsel of God and not just with spiritual ice cream.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Where Are You, Now?

"He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,"
Colossians 1:13 (NKJV)

"No matter where you go, there you are", is a sort of funny way to explain where you are located, but there is some truth in the statement.  When you go somewhere, you are then in that place and not where you were before.  If you were in one place, but all you talked about was the last place you were at, it would be a bit strange and, in some cases, rude.  No one is really happy with someone who moved to their present location who is always talking about where they used to be and what that place was like.

Before we were born again, we were living in spiritual darkness and we were spiritually separated from God.  Once we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were transferred into the Kingdom of God, we are now a part of the Body of Christ.  But, if you listen to a lot of Christians talk, you would think those people are still living in the devil's kingdom and not in God's Kingdom.  They seem to identify more with where they used to be than where they are now

Many believers do not really know who they are in Christ, so they are always talking about where they used to live, spiritually.  Where we are, now, spiritually, is what we need to talk about.  It is a bit strange, and a bit rude to God and all that He has done for us, to keep saying all kinds of things that are more connected to where we were in the past than where we are now.  Find out who you are in Christ, what God has done for you in Christ, and all that God wants to do in and through you and talk about that, that is where you are, right now! 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

The Real Battle

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

History has always been my favorite subject, and I recently read a couple of books about the American Civil War. In every war, and in every battle, tactics and strategy are important, as is understanding the objectives necessary to win.  But what if some military commander went to fight a battle in one place, but the actual fighting was in a completely different place?   That commander would end up taking his troops and equipment to fight a battle that really did not matter, while the actual objective was neglected.

As Paul wrote in Ephesians 6, we do have an enemy and there is a battle to fight.  Paul also talked about fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).  Both of these verses show us that while we do have a fight today, our fight is a faith fight and not a natural fight against physical enemies.  Today many people are getting themselves caught up in so many issues and natural things that, while they need our attention to a degree, are not where our real battle lies

Our battle is not with people or issues in society, our battle is with the devil and his forces that are working to create these problems through people who are in spiritual darkness and who do not know the truth.  We need to be careful that we do not see other people as our enemies, but realize who our real enemy is.  Our goal should be to do what we can to be a godly influence in the things that are happening in the world around us, pray for our leaders, and preach the Gospel to get people out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light.  That is the real battle.