Thursday, June 30, 2022

Fighting In Faith

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)

To be successful in doing something, you have to do it the right way.  If someone wants to play basketball, he can't play by the rules of football and succeed.  In fact, that person would have all kinds of problems trying to play one sport by the rules of another.  If someone wants to be a better swimmer, but they spend all their time learning about racing cars, and they never get into the pool, that person will never succeed in swimming.  To succeed, to win, the right methods are necessary in whatever we do.

Whether they know it or not, Christians are called to fight.  But what and how do we fight?  The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8-9 that we have an enemy, the devil, who walks around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Peter says that we must resist the devil, which literally means "to stand against", or "to oppose".  We have an enemy, so what do we do?  Peter gives us the same answer that Paul gave; we resist, we stand against the devil, in faith, this is the fight of faith. 

But, how do we resist the devil and fight in faith?  We fight the faith fight by taking a stand on God's Word.  We hold on to the truths about what God has done for us through Jesus, and when the devil comes against us, we speak, and act on, God's Word; that is how we exercise our faith and fight the faith fight.  Jesus has already defeated the devil, but we must resist the attacks the devil makes against us, through faith in God and His Word, this is the fight of faith.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Successful Direction

"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
nd there was great joy in that city.
Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."  This is desert
Acts 8:5, 8, 26 (NKJV)

Usually when we are traveling to some place, we look for the fastest route, which is usually the shortest route.  But often there are other routes that can be taken to get to the same destination. However, sometimes you may not want to take the more direct route, because you want, or need, to see or do something along the way to your destination.  The shortest route may not always be the best route to get you to the place you are going to.

Philip went to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to the people there; his time in Samaria was successful, and there was great joy in the city.  But the next thing we see is that Philip is instructed to take the road the goes from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is a desert area.  If we would look at this like many people do, we might think that Philip was doing something wrong, because he goes from a meeting that touched an entire city into the desert where he meets just one man.

But, while the route that Philip took may seem strange to us, we can't look at this, or any direction we or others have from God, based on what we see and what we know.  There are times that God will lead us in a direction that does not seem to make sense to us, but we must trust God and His leading, because He will always lead us in the best way to go.  To have successful direction, we must follow God's plan to go where He leads us, no matter how it may look to ourselves or to others.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Finding, Or Having, The Answer

"And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him.
Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"'.

Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared, there make ready for us
Mark 14:13-15 (NKJV)

When there is a problem, or you have a question, you need an answer.  Knowing where to get the answer is always helpful, but what if your problem is concerning something you know about, and you already have the answer?  For example, if I have a problem or question about a car, I will ask one of my brothers who know a lot about cars.  I go to them with my problem or questions, but they don't ask me about car problems, because they usually already have those answers.

In Mark 14, we see Jesus sending two of His disciples to a city, and Jesus told them that they would meet a man with a pitcher of water who would take them to the place where they could prepare for the Passover.  The place already existed, they just had to find that place, it was the answer that they needed.  We know about Jesus and His disciples, but there are other people in the story: the man with the pitcher and the man in the house.  They already knew about the house, they already had that answer.

So often in our lives, we only focus on finding answers rather than doing what is necessary so that we are the person who has the answer.  We need to learn about everything that God has provided for us through Jesus, so that we will have answers for ourselves and answers to give to others.  Rather than always just looking to find the answer we need, we can have the answer that someone needs.  God can, and will, use us to help others, but first we have to have answers to give to them.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

You Can't Figure It Out

"So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey.
Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey.
Numbers 9:21-22 (NKJV)

There are some businesses and government organizations that function as think tanks.  A think tank is defined as a group of people who come together to study a particular thing to provide information, ideas, and advice to others about that topic.  Something similar to this is what people call brain storming, where people discuss something to come up with ideas and solutions concerning that thing.  Think tanks and brainstorming can be very helpful in some, but not all, situations.

The Old Testament gives us examples of how God led His people.  These examples can help us understand how God leads us today by the Holy Spirit.  When Israel traveled to the Promised Land, they had the pillar of cloud in the daytime and the pillar of fire at night.  When the pillar moved, it showed Israel that it was time for them to move, and when the pillar stayed in one place, the people did not move.  No matter when the pillar of cloud moved, Israel had to follow it to be sure they were following God's direction.

Only God knew when the pillar would move.  Israel could have formed a think tank or done some brainstorming to try and figure out why the pillar of cloud moved the way it did, but that would not have worked.  Today, believers sometimes try to figure out what God wants them to do based on their circumstances, by positive and negative aspects of things, or by getting other people's opinions.  We need to allow God to lead and direct us by the Holy Spirit, without trying to reason it out.  We may not always completely understand God's plan, but we certainly won't be able to just figure it out in our mind either.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Do The Pieces Fit?

"The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endure forever."
Psalm 119:160 (NKJV)

If you are putting a puzzle together, you will need all of the pieces to complete the puzzle and see the result of the complete picture.  But what if you were missing a piece, or you used a piece from another puzzle, would you be able to complete the correct picture?  You need all of the puzzle pieces from the puzzle you are working on to complete that picture.  You may have a piece from another puzzle that you like, but it does not belong and it may not fit with the puzzle you are working on.

The Bible is God's Word, and God gave us His Word to help us.  God did not give us bullet points or a top ten list of important things, He gave us the entire Bible containing what we refer to as sixty-six books.  These writings tell us things we need to know, and give us some great examples of how we can apply Bible truth in our life.  But if we only use our ten favorite verses, or even our ten favorite books of the Bible, are we sure we have the whole truth of God's Word on any given subject?

While we cannot build any doctrine or belief on one verse of Scripture, we also cannot ignore one verse of Scripture, it all must fit together.  Often, I have heard people share something that they believe, but while they may even use Bible verses to prove their point, I find that they are ignoring other verses.  We need a view of Scripture based on the entire Word of God, or it is like we are missing pieces in a puzzle.  We need all of Scripture to have a correct view of every Bible topic.