Thursday, February 29, 2024

Peace On The Path

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

Normally when you are driving from one place to another, you have an idea of where you are going.  You may have checked a map to see the route you need to take, and you might use some GPS type system to help guide you along your way.  But once you do that, there is no question of if the place you are traveling to exists and, unless something unusual is going on, you would not be concerned if you are going to make it to your destination, because once your course is set you are no longer concerned about the trip, you are just traveling to your destination.

Christians are often not sure what God's will is for their life in general, and sometimes they have specific questions about some certain direction in their life, or how to do something.  That is one part of the process of being led by the Holy Spirit and doing the will of God.  But there is another element in this that many Christians struggle with, and that is having peace on the path they are on in the will of God.  We can have confidence as we trust God to direct us, and we never have to worry that God will let us down as we follow Him. 

As Psalm 119:105 tells us, God's Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.  We can always find the general will of God for our life in God's Word, and the Holy Spirit will also lead us into the will God for our life.  But once we know the direction God wants us to go, we need to stop being anxious about what to do and just do it.  When we know the will of God for our life, we can have peace knowing that God is with us and that He will help us on our way.  God wants us to have peace on our path in life and in doing His will.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

What Will Your Response Be?

"And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it.  When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again."  And His disciples heard it.
Mark 11:13-14 (NKJV)

Normally when you are in a conversation with someone, you and the other person will be talking back and forth, with one of you speaking and then the other person responding.  It would not be a conversation if only one person spoke, and it would be strange for someone to speak to another person and the second person never said anything.  Usually, when someone talks to you, you then give a response.  In fact, if you did not respond to something that was said, then it could be implied that you agree with what was said.

Many Christians know the story of Jesus and the fig tree and how Jesus came to the fig tree but did not find any figs.  The fig tree had leaves, which would normally indicate that there were also figs on the tree, but there were no figs.  As it says in Mark 11:14, Jesus responded to the fig tree and He said something.  The word used here for respond is translated as answer in other translations of the Bible, and this word can mean to answer a question or to speak after something else is said.

In Mark 11, Jesus came to the fig tree that had leaves but no figs.  You could say it this way, the tree spoke by having leaves but no figs, and Jesus responded by cursing the tree.  In our everyday life, things are speaking to us.  Our body can speak to us, our finances can speak to us, other people, and different situations can speak to us.  The question is, how are we going to respond?  The way we respond, what we say, is very important.  No matter what situation we face, we need to respond in faith with God's Word, and not with our feelings, opinions, or other ideas.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

A Bible Usage Report?

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)

Every week, my phone and my tablet produce a usage report telling me what apps I used the most in the past week.  From this usage report, I can see where I have been spending time while I was using my phone and my tablet.  Most of the time, I am not surprised with the app usage, because I know what I had been doing for the past week with my phone and tablet.  But sometimes I am a bit surprised that I have used an app as much as I did, and sometimes the usage report shows me that I used an app less than I thought I had.

When Joshua became the leader of Israel, God told Joshua how to be successful.  God told Joshua to keep the Law in his mouth and meditate in it day and night.  In terms of New Testament believers, we would say that it is necessary to meditate on and speak God's Word, think about it, and make it a part of our life, every day.  But, while this is God's plan for success in everything He directs us to do, the real question is if we are actually doing this, day and night, or if it is just an occasional thing?

Just like God told Joshua, God's Word needs to be a part of our life, every day, and every night, all of the time.  For some Christians, God's Word is a part of their life on Sunday, or in an emergency.  The quantity of time we spend with God's Word is not the point, but we all need to have a regular time in God's Word, every day, and make it a vital part of our life.  If we had some kind of a Bible usage report that we saw every week, would we be pleasantly surprised at how much time we devoted to God's Word, or shocked at how little it is a part of our life?

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Praying For Our Leaders

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,
for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)

One thing I have noticed is that it is very easy to get people to do what they are already interested in doing.  While that is a fairly obvious statement, there is a deeper issue that it highlights: people will do what they really want to do, even if it is not the best thing to do.  It is easy for people to be interested in doing things they like, and dislike what they are not in favor of.  Again, this is quite obvious.  But the real issue is that we need to be willing to do what is right and good, whether we like it or not and whether we are interested in it or not.

The Apostle Paul wrote many things by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help believers live the life that God has called us to live.  While there are many things that are very simple and easy for believers to focus on doing, there are some things that Christians do not get too excited about; one of these things is praying for our leaders.  In 1 Timothy 2, Paul said that we need to pray for our leaders so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.  If we are not praying for our leaders, then we have a problem.

If we pray for our leaders, as Paul talked about in 1 Timothy 2, then we are following scriptural guidelines.  Paul did not say to only pray for our leaders if we like them and agree with them, or complain about our leaders if they do not do what we want; Paul said that praying for our leaders was what we need to do.  One thing we can pray about for our leaders is for them to make good decisions that promote righteousness and the preaching of the Gospel.  We all need to pray for our natural and spiritual leaders, it is the guidance we receive from God's Word, and it is the right thing to do.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Knowing The Details

"But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,
persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra - what persecutions I endured.  And out of them all the Lord delivered me
2 Timothy 3:10-11 (NKJV)

When we learn about something, a place, an event, or even a person, there can be a lot of details to learn about it.  We might know that Berlin is a city in Germany, but there are a lot more things than that to learn about Berlin.  We might know about a man landing on the moon, but do we know when it happened or who was involved?  We might know about a person, a personal friend or a public figure, but how much do we really know about them?  If we really want to have a good understanding of something, we need to know all the details.

The majority of Christians know who the Apostle Paul is.  They might know he was formerly a Pharisee who converted to Christianity and that Paul started churches and wrote many letters.  But there are many more things we can learn about the Apostle Paul than just those few facts.  There were several people who traveled with Paul and spent time with him, including Timothy, Titus, and Luke.  How well did these people know Paul?  We can see that Paul lived a life that allowed others to get to know him and how he lived.

In 2 Timothy 3:10-11, Paul said Timothy had carefully followed Paul's doctrine, manner of life, purpose. faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, and afflictions.  These were not things that Timothy had only heard about; Timothy knew all the details himself.  Paul was not living a secluded life where no one really knew him or what he was doing.  Paul worked alongside other people and gave them a living example of a godly life and how to serve God.  We too need to give a detailed living example of a godly life that others can learn from.