Monday, August 29, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
From Matthew 6:25-34
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on, I not life more than food, and the body more that clothing?
Most Christians live and look much like the world around them. Honestly, what do you go to work for? Is it to pay the bills, to invest for your future, to put food on the table. It was never intended for us to settle for such drudgery. If we were to look back at Adam and Eve the design was for them to have absolutely everything that they needed and more and to "tend the garden". Not for needs of the flesh but for personal value!
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
It is a known fact that worrying actually decreases the hours of our lives. The deal with worry is it is a direct indication of how much we believe our God!
why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow and is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?
You of little faith!
So there it is in a nutshell. We have too little faith. The difficult thing about this diagnosis, however, is that the littleness of our faith can only be fixed by pushing through the false fears that our enemy places before us. Fearful? Do it anyway!
Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is the real deadly issue. We worry about "tomorrow" most of all. And you know most of what we worry about will never happen anyway. Beyond that, even the things that do happen are never made easier by our worry.
Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands. Psalm 119:90
He is trustworthy! He never plays games with us! He never deserts us! He never leaves us nor will He forsake us! Trust the ultimate in trustworthiness! You will not be disappointed.
Monday, August 15, 2011
So how is your faith? Is it the backbone of your life or an appendage?
Jesus made a statement to a group of religious people one day about faith:
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? John 5:44
Most of us have the tendency of flowing with the tide. We take our lead from the people around us and adapt our behavior to our perceived expectation of these people. This is not a bad thing for the world's values but God has designed a life far higher for His people.
The roller-coaster existence of adapting to people's expectations has become almost natural due to years of practice under this system.
Jesus asked, "How can you believe?" when you live like this!
It is a scary thing to live by faith. It requires that we break from our "normal" and comfortable and accept the unknown. We simply cannot perceive all of the things that God has in store for us when we take the bold step of living by faith.
We will know we have begun to move toward living by faith when we adjust from seeking approval from others to seeking approval from our God!
The Kingdom is wide open for those who will choose to live by faith!
Monday, August 8, 2011
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
Did you get that last few words? Real life deals in the truth that God has given us the resources that we have to share with others. Maybe that is why the church today is devoid of joy, peace, contentment, and true love! Instead of sharing our resources we hoard them in new clothes, bigger houses, 401-k's, new cars, entertainment and on and on! Life is calling!
The final words of a mentor to his child in the faith, Timothy are those that are close to the heart of the mentor, Paul. Before he concludes his letter he desires to give a final piece of advice. The last advice has the best chance of being remembered so Paul was strategic in in final words:
O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. 1 Timothy 6:17-20
This world is comfortable with empty chatter. Chatter about other people, chatter about sports, chatter about the weather but avoiding at all-costs any discussion about anything of value. Try to bring up something of substance and you will discover how unprepared most people are.
Paul had personal experience with people at all levels and wanted to prepare his friend and child in the faith. Opposing arguments and worldly knowledge are a defense against truth and difficult life giving discussions. These lead away from the very things that they are defensive about, truth and understanding.. It is important for us to understand that we, as His witnesses, are not sent to debate or argue with people. The only thing that our efforts accomplish is driving them further into their "knowledge".
Why is earthly knowledge called false? Wisdom is God's gift to mankind and knowledge is the world's imitation. Proverbs states that the "fear of God is the beginning of wisdom"! Without an understanding and a faith in God mankind has no hope of discussing truth!
We are left to a couple of choices when we encounter individuals who chatters incessantly, we can smile and listen thereby supporting the person or we can begin to bend the discussion toward truthful things. Understand that you are never alone in turning a discussion from the inane toward truth. The Holy Spirit partners with you as you take the first step.
Paul said to avoid the empty chatter because it is worthless are best and destructive to our witness at the worst! As you bend the discussion, the Holy Spirit will make you aware when the discussion slips into a discussion of "false knowledge". It is at this point it is best for us to walk away on good terms and leave future encounters and results to the Holy Spirit! Remember God cares far more about the lost than we could ever care!
Monday, August 1, 2011
Do you wonder what life is really all about? Routine after routine, day after day suddenly you look up and realize that the month or the year is disappearing and you wonder where it has gone?
We've all had big dreams, some bigger than others. What has happened to those dreams?
Let's take a quick look at what Jesus said about life:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Let's start at the core of things. Where is your heart?
Be careful with this one. Scripture tells us that the heart is deceitful above all other things! We can easily be fooled thinking our heart is okay. Jesus invites us to examine our hearts by evaluating our possessions.
Where does your security lie, where does your joy come from, what is the reason that you do what you do everyday?
Here is the really tough issue: Is what you are today a sum total of your efforts to be your idea of a good person?
This is not a bad thing for the world but is far below what God designed for His people.
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Matthew 6:19-21,24
See the problem? It is an impossibility to serve more than one master! It simply can't be done yet we have been trying to to just that!
This is precisely why we often wonder what is this life all about.
The Apostle Paul knew about our struggles in this area and encourages us to reconsider our thinking:
Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3:22-24
I was first going to include the last part of this passage to make the point of this message. So let's start there. The strong term "whatever you do" is all inclusive isn't it? Do you work a job or career? Do you parent? So you live with your spouse? Do you mow the lawn, do the laundry, wash the car, cook the meals.....?
How would these activities and responsibilities be different for you if Jesus were to object of the tasks?
Let's no move on too fast here. Sure we can pretend that it is Jesus that we are doing what we do for but pretending isn't effective; it just doesn't last. Paul tells us that it is not a make-believe thing but and actual thing. Jesus sees that what we do for others we have done for Him! Don't miss this point; it is critical!
Finally, the first part of the previous package address "slaves" and their situation. Paul gave them no room for excuse. It is not out of hardness that Paul addresses this issue to slaves. No, anyone can be bitter or angry or resentful. What Paul was saying to the slaves and now to us is that God has such a higher plane for us to live on and the normal patterns of life are anchors holding us down.
The world has no choice in how they will live every day. God has given us a clear and free choice to live the adventure that He has designed for us or for us to continue to follow the worlds standards and practices and get their results.
It remains your choice. Choose wisely!