Thursday, February 23, 2023

Keep An Eye On That

"And say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it:"
Colossians 4:17 (NKJV)

Have you ever had someone tell you to keep an eye on something, or have you ever told someone that?  The reason for saying this is that you or another person wants to make sure that a certain thing stays where it is, or because there is something that has to be monitored for some reason.  No one would tell you to keep an eye on something that is unchangeable, but rather the thing in question needs someone to pay attention to it so that everything is the way that it should be.

In Colossians 4:17 Paul tells Archippus to, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it".  The words "take heed" mean to "keep an eye on", or "to look at".  This shows us that it is also possible to not keep an eye on or look at something.  The reason Paul gives for this attention is so that Archippus could fulfill the ministry he received from the Lord.  An interesting question here would be that if Archippus had not kept an eye on the ministry he received from God, would he have fulfilled it?

Paul says that Archippus received something from God, but that Archippus had to keep an eye on it for it to be fulfilled.  Is it possible that without some attention given by Archippus, God's plan and purpose for his life would not have been fulfilled or completed, and is that same thing possible in our lives?  Even though God has a wonderful plan for us, if we are not keeping an eye on things, we may not receive or do everything that God intended.  We need to be sure to properly pay attention to everything that God has given us in our lives.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

What And How You Hear

"If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.
Then He said to them, "Take heed what you hear.  With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.

For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
Mark 4:23-25 (NKJV)

One thing that I notice, on almost every flight I take, is that when the safety instructions are given, most people don't pay attention.  Normally, I will pay attention to the flight attendants during this time, if for no other reason than to be respectful and polite while they do their job.  The flight safety instructions are for the benefit of those of us on the airplane, and it is important information that is being given, which could actually mean the difference between life or death in some situations, so it is good to pay attention to what is being said.

When we read about Jesus and His ministry in the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we see that Jesus did a lot of teaching.  There were a lot of people who heard what Jesus said, but not everyone benefited from His teaching, a prime example of this would be the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  Because these people heard, but were not really listening to what was said, they did not get what they should have from Jesus' teaching.  What they heard was right, but how they heard was not so good.

What we hear and how we hear is important.  We need to pay attention to God's Word when we hear it, and be careful that we don't make the mistake of looking at the Word like it is trivial, because we have heard it before, we think we already know it, or we think that what we are hearing does not really apply to us.  When we have the opportunity to hear God's Word, whether we are reading it for ourselves or we are in church or some other meeting, we need to have open, and receptive, ears to hear the Word and receive the Word.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

When The Rooster Crowed

"Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this Man of whom you speak!"
A second time the rooster crowed.  Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times."  And when he thought about it, he wept."
Mark 14:71-72 (NKJV)

For most people, when they do something wrong, whether it is intentional, or even unintentional, it is when they recognize what is wrong that they regret what they did and wish they had not done it.  But the thing is, while everyone makes mistakes and does things wrong, the real difference is what people do next.  To do something wrong and regret it is one thing, but to turn away from that wrong and not just stay in the place of regret is another thing all together.

Peter was someone who walked with Jesus, heard Jesus teach, saw the miracles and healings that were done through Jesus, and Peter still denied Jesus.  We can sit back and read about Peter's denial and say we would never do such a thing, but the truth is that we have all done things we should not have done.  This is when we need to understand that God still loves us, although He does not approve of what we have done, but God wants us to turn from our mistakes and come back into right fellowship with Him.

Just like when Peter heard the rooster crow, where he realized and regretted his mistake, we too will find ourselves in situations where we realize a mistake was made and we feel terrible about it.  In the same way that the angel at the tomb specifically mentioned that Peter needed to be where Jesus would be, we need to realize that God is calling us to return to the relationship we once had with Him.  Next time you make a mistake, don't just regret it and condemn yourself, turn from the problem and realize that God's love never changes, and the best place for us to be is in a close relationship with Him.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Seasonal Work

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:"
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

Even though I grew up in Wisconsin, I never shoveled snow in July.  During the months of November, December, and January I usually did some snow shoveling, but I never cut the grass during that time.  Unless there are some strange weather patterns taking place, snow shoveling is done in the winter and people cut grass in the summertime.  Each season of the year has some different things that are usually associated with it, and that is fine, because we understand that there are different seasons.

Just like there are different seasons during the year, there are different seasons in our life, naturally and spiritually, and the things we do and how we do them will differ.  If we do not understand the different seasons we go through, naturally and spiritually, we may have some problems.  In the same way that we grow and develop naturally from childhood to being an adult, where what we do and how we do those things change, the same is true spiritually as we grow from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity.

As the Bible tells us, there is a time and season for everything, but we are not always in the same season.  And while there should be development and improvement with what we do in our life and our relationship with God, and how we do those things, just because there is a change does not mean we are missing something.  Even though things in our relationship with God and what we do to serve Him changes, it does not mean that something is wrong, we may just be in a different season than we were before.