Thursday, January 26, 2023

And You ...

"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Colossians 2:5-7 (NKJV)

The word "and", is used as a conjunction, which means it is a way to connect two words.  A person could say that they did something, but by adding the word "and", along with another person, there is then the indication that both people were involved in that thing.  For example, someone could say, "I had a great day today", or they could say "I had a great day today, and so did Jim".  This second sentence shows that both of the people shared in the same experience and it was not something limited to the one person.

Christians know that Jesus died on the cross and that He rose from the dead, this is something that is a basic part of Christianity.  But what Christians don't always seem to understand is that how everything Jesus did, He did for us.  Jesus did not need to go to the cross for His own sin, Jesus bore the sin of the world.  Yes, Jesus conquered sin, rose from the dead, and defeated the devil, but as the Bible clearly shows us, we were included in everything Jesus did.

As Colossians 2:6 tells us, Jesus was raised from the dead, and you were too!  Jesus defeated the devil and sin, and you did too!  Everything Jesus did was credited to us, because Jesus suffered and died in our place, and by our faith in what Jesus did, we too partake of those benefits.  This is in no way trying to diminish Jesus and what He did, but this is to help us understand that we too were raised to a new life in Christ.  So, when you read about all of the great things that Jesus did, remember it is credited to you too!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Ready, Set, ... Wait

"Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Acts 13:1-2 (NKJV)

When I was involved in running sports in high school, normally, before the race began, we knew about the course we were to run and we did everything that we could to prepare ourselves.  But even after we got ready and lined up at the starting point, we still had to wait for the race to officially begin.  Usually there was some official who would signal the beginning of the race, but until they let us know it was time to start, we were not allowed to begin the race, and if we did, it was called a false start and we had to line up again.

In Acts 13, we see the beginning of the ministry of Barnabas and Paul, who was then known as Saul.  In Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."  We can learn several things from this.  We see that there was something that Barnabas and Paul were already called to do, by God, but it was not until this point that the Holy Spirit gave them the go ahead to be separated to the work they were called to.

Barnabas and Paul were already called to do something, but it was not until the Holy Spirit gave them the signal to start that they began.  Sometimes with what God has called us to do, it is a case of, ready, set, ... wait.  Spending time with God, through His Word and in prayer, we learn what to do, when to do it, and how it needs to be done, we don't just decide for ourselves.  Even if we know what to do, without God's timing and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will not have the success we should, and we may not even accomplish what God is calling us to do.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Trash Or Treasure?

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls."
James 1:21 (NKJV)

To determine what something is worth, there has to be some way to evaluate it.  It has been said that one person's trash is another person's treasure, in the sense while one person may not consider something to be valuable, another person sees a value in that thing.  But this idea is very subjective and based on personal opinion.  The only way to really know if something should be considered trash or treasure is if there is some objective way to evaluate it, by taking personal opinion and preference out of the situation.

There are many standards that could be used to evaluate something, but those standards are often just based on current trends or popular opinion.  The only way to know what is truly valuable, what is good or bad, and what is right or wrong is if there is some objective standard to look at.  Fortunately, there is such a standard, we have the Bible to show us what is true and false, what is good or bad, and what really is trash or treasure.  God's Word has stood the test of time as an accurate standard that can be used to determine what is right and wrong.

So many times, people, even Christians, try to use something other than the Bible as their standard for evaluation, but this is a dangerous thing to do.  As James says, we need to "lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word".  Without the standard of God's Word, how will we know what is filthy and wicked, or clean and good?  The Bible, God's Word, is the standard for Christians, or it at least should be, and God's Word will show us what is good or bad, trash or treasure.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Are You Really Ready?

"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?  And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?"
Jeremiah 12:5 (NKJV)

The phrase, "I can do that myself" is something that children will sometimes say when an adult tries to help them with something that the child thinks they are able to do on their own.  But what often happens is that when the child tries to do the thing they were so confident about doing, the child is not really ready to actually do that thing successfully.  While children do grow up and take on responsibilities of their own, they first have to learn and develop in how to do those things by themselves.

Spiritual growth and development are something that should be normal for a Christian; if that is not taking place, then something is wrong.  But what can happen with natural children can also happen with spiritual children.  Sometimes a Christian senses God leading them into some type of ministry work, and that Christian does everything that they can to take a step into doing that thing right away, only to find out that they are not yet at the necessary point of spiritual development actually needed to do that thing.

We all need spiritual growth and development, and what God is giving us to do today will actually prepare us for the tomorrow that He has planned.  If we are not faithfully and successfully doing what we have at hand to do today, how will we do the "bigger" things that God has planned for us in the future? Our biggest question should not be about what bright future does God have planned for me, but what opportunities has God given me now that I can be faithful in, because these things will prepare us for our bright future with God.