Thursday, March 28, 2024

Success Comes From Following Directions

"For there were about five thousand men.  Then He said to His disciples, "Make them sit down in groups of fifty."
And they did so, and made them all sit down
Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.

So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.
Luke 9:14-17 (NKJV)

Not following directions is something that is fairly common with many people.  Not in the sense that someone will not listen to reason, but very often people will ignore instructions on how to build or operate something that they have purchased, because they believe they already know how to do what needs to be done.  While it is true that sometimes we can figure things out for ourselves, to be sure we successfully do what needs to be done, we should always follow directions.

In Luke 9, we read about the feeding of the 5,000, and we can see that Jesus took what was available, what the disciples had, and Jesus used that to meet the need and feed the people.  We can see that Jesus cared about helping the people, and how the need was met with everyone not only eating but being filled.  But there is something in the story that we may not recognize as one of the keys to a successful outcome; the disciples precisely followed the directions of Jesus.

When Jesus fed the 5,000, as we see in Luke 9, Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups of 50.  But what if they thought they had a better idea and they said that groups of 25 or 30 are fine, would they have been successful?  While there is no way to know for certain, and there are times the direction God gives us may seem unimportant, we do know that to be successful we need to follow the directions that God gives us through His Word and by the Holy Spirit.  We need to listen to God and follow His directions to have success in whatever we do.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Look At This, But Not At That

"Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel.  And Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these.".
And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all the young men here?"  Then he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep."  And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him.  For we will not sit down till he comes here."
1 Samuel 16:10-11 (NKJV)

Every day we are bombarded with information; some of it is information that we are looking for and some of it comes to us without our directly seeking it.  For example, we may be watching a television show, and then a commercial comes on.  We wanted to see the television show, but not necessarily what was on the commercial.  This same thing happens in social media, movies, television shows, and the news that we see.  There are things some people want us to see and hear, and other things that they do not.

God told Samuel to go to Jesse's house in Bethlehem to find the next king of Israel, but God did not tell Samuel specifically who the next king was going to be.  When Samuel arrived, he saw the oldest son Eliab and Samuel thought Eliab was the perfect choice, but Eliab was not God's choice.  What happened next is that Jesse brought out seven of his sons for Samuel to look at, but Jesse left out his youngest son, David, who was to be the next king.  Jesse wanted Samuel to look at some of his sons, but not all of them.

When Samuel arrived at Jessie's house to find the new king, Jesse only presented seven of his eight sons for Samuel to consider to be the king.  This same kind of thing still happens today; society, other people, and even the devil have things they want us to see and look at.  Just because the world or other people tell us to "look at this," and do something only based on what we have been shown, we need to listen to God to help us see what is right and to base what we do and believe on God's guidance, not just on what people have shown us.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Can You Prove That?

"And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
Mark 16:15-16 (NKJV)

Often when people are trying to make a point about something, they will cite facts to try and prove to whoever they are talking to that what they are saying is true.  Many people will spend time debating about things, using different facts or personal experience in an attempt to prove their point.  Usually this is done with good intentions, where one person or group is trying to help someone understand that what has been said is true, based on the facts that were given.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He told His disciples to take the message of His triumph over sin and death to the whole world.  The Gospel, which means good news, is something that everyone should hear.  We should make a good presentation of the Gospel, and share the truth in a way that will persuade people to receive Jesus.  But once someone hears the Gospel, that person needs to take a step of faith and believe the message about Jesus, and receive Him as their personal Savior and Lord.

While Jesus said we need to preach the Gospel so that people would believe, Jesus never said that our job was to prove that the message is true.  It does not say that just because someone has seen a lot of evidence that this person would be saved; and this same principle applies to everything in the Bible.  It is one thing to hear the truth, but once we hear the truth, we must accept it, believe it, and act on it.  The key is that we believe and act on what we have heard, not just that someone has proven something to us.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Just Like He Said

"saying, "Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat.  Loose it and bring it here.
And if anyone asks you, 'Why are you loosing it?' thus you shall say to him, 'Because the Lord has need of it.'"

So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.
Luke 19:30-32 (NKJV)

It is good when you know someone you can trust, and when they tell you something, you have confidence in what they said being accurate and trustworthy.  But it is unfortunate that there are some people you cannot rely on and you cannot always trust what they say.  If someone you did not trust told you something, you might be hesitant to act on what they said.  But when you really trust someone, and you know you can rely on what they say, then it is easy to do things based on what that person told you.

Luke 19 tells the story of Jesus instructing His disciples to go and get the donkey's colt that He then used to ride into Jerusalem.  What Jesus said was a bit unusual, but the disciples knew that Jesus could be trusted, so they acted on what He said, and everything worked out according to what Jesus had told them.  These verses in Luke 19 are great verses about following God and also how He will provide for us.  We can always trust God's guidance and know for certain that things will work out for us just as He said.

When we follow God's direction, it will always be just as God said it would be.  If God said we need to do something or go somewhere, we can be sure that everything is going to work out for us just the way that God said it would.  For provision in our life, for direction, for healing, and anything else that God has said in His Word, we can always be confident that it will be just as God said it would be.  Whatever God has said is true and reliable, and we can do what He says, knowing that things will always be as He said they would be.