Thursday, April 27, 2023

All Shook Up?

"Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,
not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (NKJV)

While there are some things that need to be shaken to be effective, most things and people do not do well if they are shaken up.  Shaking someone, as in an earthquake, rocking them back and forth in a violent manner, or forcing them up and down repeatedly, will have a negative effect on them.  If something or someone has been shaken too much, then something needs to be done to stabilize that thing or person.  We all need physical stability and security, without that, there can be a multitude of problems.

When he wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul let them know that he did not want those people to be shaken or troubled in any way.  It seems that somehow some wrong teaching had come to the Thessalonian believers, and the results were not good.  When there is wrong teaching, there will be instability, and people can become shaken and troubled.  Paul did not want them to remain in this position but to be stable, and he wanted to stop the shaking, so to speak, by giving them some right teaching.

Although Paul was specifically writing to the Thessalonians and encouraging them to not be shaken or troubled concerning the return of Jesus, this same thing happens in other areas too.  When Christians are not sure what is right and wrong, they can be shaken, and they are then not doing the things that they should be doing.  The solution is to give people correct teaching of Bible truths to counter the wrong teaching that has caused the shaking and the trouble.  We should not be shaken, but we need to be stable, solid Christians who do God's will.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Well Pleasing In His Sight?

"make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:21 (NKJV)

Were you ever with a group of people who were trying to decide on something, and there did not seem to be any agreement about that thing?  Often in these situations there are differences of opinion, because each person has their own ideas and their own desires about what they want to do.  The only way anything gets accomplished is if some people yield to the desires of someone else rather than insisting on doing what pleases them; they do what someone else wants instead of what they might want.

In Hebrews 13, there is what might be called a prayer, or a benediction, where it talks about God making someone complete (meaning equipped) in every good work to do God's will, and working in them what is well pleasing in His sight.  This is something that every Christian should want to do, to live a life that pleases God and fulfills His will.  Other places in the New Testament talk about living a life that fully pleases God (Colossians 1:10) and that our goal should be to please God (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Our goal as Christians should be to live a life that is well pleasing to God, but it is easy to see that some believers have a greater interest in living a life that is well pleasing to themselves.  While God does not want us to be unhappy and live like we are His slaves, with no will or desires of our own, living a life that is well pleasing to God means that we must make His will our will, no matter what that means for our plans and desires.  If our goal is to please God, it can mean that there will be times we must yield to His will instead of ours.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Not Just A Part, But All Of It

"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood
Acts 20:26-28 (NKJV)

If you bought a car, would you be satisfied if the car dealer only gave you the vehicle body without the engine or tires?  Or if you were ordering food in a restaurant, would you be happy if they only brought you a part of the order?  The obvious answer to both of these questions is no.  It would be foolish for someone to say that they only wanted to have a part of a good thing and not all of it.  We don't just want a part of something, we want to have all of it, because if we don't get all of it, we are missing something.

Paul made an interesting and enlightening comment in Acts 20:27, where Paul talked about how he had declared the whole counsel of God; he had not withheld telling the people anything.  Paul did not say he just gave people Gospel highlights or he focused on his favorite topic or two, but Paul was diligent to teach people all of what God's Word has to say, and not just a part of it.  It can be easy to focus on one or two things that we like, but we need the whole counsel of God, we need everything God's Word has to say.

Often people will focus on their favorite Bible topics and stay with that.  Pastors, teachers, and others who share God's Word can be guilty of this in their teaching and preaching, and individual believers can have problems because they become focused on what they consider to be the most important thing in their life at the moment, and neglect other important Bible topics.  God has given us so much in His Word and it is our responsibility to learn, teach, and live the whole counsel of God.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Warning Signs

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.

Proverbs 4:23-24 (NKJV)

Have you ever seen a sign that warned you about a possibly dangerous situation?  Maybe it was just a sign in a store warning you that the floor was wet, or maybe it was a traffic sign telling you about a lane closure ahead, or some construction that was taking place.  In each situation, you needed to be aware of what was going on and be sure to avoid anything that might be potentially dangerous.  It is good to have a warning sign if there is a possibility of something being a problem so that more caution can be taken and the problem can be avoided.

In Proverbs 4, we are told to "keep our heart with all diligence", or in other words, we need to be sure to guard our heart.  It is interesting to see that the first thing that is mentioned in guarding our hearts, the first warning sign is to avoid the wrong kind of talk, wrong words.  While it is not possible to avoid every wrong word that might be said, because we live in a world filled with the wrong kinds of words, as much as we are able, we need to be sure that we avoid the wrong kinds of words that will hinder us spiritually and set us on the wrong course in life.

Proverbs 4:24 tells us to get away from a deceitful mouth and perverse lips.  In 2 Timothy 2:16, Paul wrote to Timothy to "shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness", and in Titus 3:9 Paul told Titus to "avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless".  These are all warning signs that show us the importance of the words we hear and the danger of listening to the wrong things. Right words are a blessing that will build us up, while wrong words will have a negative impact on our life.