These blog articles are meant to get one to think about the word of God and how we can use it today in our lives as well as look at the world today and see where they have gone astray. The thoughts are constructed using the word of God as the measure and are put together to inspire consideration of His word and His will.
Paul wrote to the Phillipian church while under house arrest in Rome in the early A.D. 60's, this condition alone makes the passage in Phil. 4:11 all the more impressive. Paul wrote there "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:" This should help the Christian put their own lives in perspective. We suffer a lot in this life that is minor to say the least. We get frustrated when we are not heard; we get discouraged when little problems seem to mount up; we struggle getting people to hear the instruction we are giving at our places of employment. Paul was in prison in Rome and was content. To be content is to be in a state of peaceful happiness(New Oxford American Dictionary). That is to say that Paul was not fretting and the reason for that is stated in Phil. 4:12-13: "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Paul leaned on God in every situation in life so that no matter what was the case for him he knew that God would care for him. I am not trying to dismiss the daily frustrations of this life, they are real and can be greatly annoying. If we will lean on God more we will find that we will have less stress in our lives. I am not trying to say that it is a simple flip of a switch, it is a committment to living as He would have us live and accepting the peace that He affords us because of our service to Him. That committment is one that we made when we were baptized for the remission of sins. There is no question that Satan challenges us daily and when his efforts get him what he wants he will bring those same challenges up for us again and again. We must lean on God and allow for him to deliver us from the temptation as He has said can happen. Paulwrote about this in 1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." Paul had accepted this truism in his own life and we need to likewise.We need to also accept that we are capable of great things because of our relationship with Christ and the Father. Realizing that capablilty will help us learn to be content wherever we are in this life.This allows us to live like Paul did, in peace with God not worrying about the cares of this life. In doing so we know that God will bless us as he sees fit and will guide us and guard us from the wiles of the devil just as He did for Paul. Let us let God do this for us and may He guide us daily to the feeling of contentment that only He can provide. God bless us all in our daily walk in this life.
We live in a society today that, in many areas, has taken away the proper structure of interaction between manager and subordinate. It used to be that managers were left to manage their employees and upper management would stay out of the way as long as the desired results came through. Throughout the last 10-15 years, and frankly it may be longer that that, we have seen the inmates take over the asylum, so to speak. employees have much more latitude to do less and get more than in previous generations. These are catered to because we do not want a fuss or hassle over anything at all. We are starting to see this enter into the education world where teachers are having to fight their students just to learn basic lessons these children will need to succeed in life. It is a dangerous world where people are not allowed to teach. Teaching happens everywhere in society. In everyday business some teaching happens. As we think about teaching happening daily in the real world that brings us to the teaching of the word of God. Are we to stop teaching the word because people do not want to listen? Certainly not! Paul wrote to Timothy, in his second letter, that Timothy was to "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."(2 Tim. 4:2-4) The thoughts of this passage bring to our minds a fervency and urgency to share the word always to those around us. As we have already stated this can be a challenge to us today due to the deaf ears many are turning to any type of teaching. What an arrogant generation that thinks at age 15 they know all they need to know and they have no need of a teacher.This makes the job difficult without a doubt, however we need to maintain our efforts to evangelize the area we live in so that it cannot be said of us "You never mentioned Him to me". We must take courage to know that God will be with us in our effrots to teach the truth to a lost and dying world. May God help us all in our efforts to teach His word to this world both in our actions and our words.
The other day on a talk show a man's faith was mocked by one of the commentators on the show. Normally this would not have made the news, however this did because the man is the Vice President of the United States of America. I do not know Mr. Pence anymore than to say I can put a picture with the name. I know he has professed a faith in Jesus Christ and that is certainly wonderful to hear for one who has named the name of Christ. Besides these things, I do not know where Mr. Pence worships and who he worships with. It is said of Mr. Pence by some who used to work in the White House that he speaks to Jesus and Jesus says things to him. Upon stating this on the talk show the other day one commentator claimed it is mental illness when Jesus talks to you. I have a question to pose to that argument, or statement. What is it when I read the word of God and hear His commands? When one is a dilligent reader of the word of God it feels as though God, or His Son, are talking to us. I realize that the Son of God does not walk physically among us today, but His words are given to us and the revealed will of the Father in heaven in given to us in what we call the Bible. This word speaks God's commands to us today and we are to hear them as though they are spoken to us. What I would tell this commentator is that if one "hears the word of God" that is not mental illness. One who openly mocks faith in God is the one who has mental illness. It is shameful that television programming is where it is today. May God give us the strength and wisdom to discern what to use as entertainment and help us as we strive to shine our light to those of the world.
There is a phrase used 7 times in the book of Revelation. That phrase is "he who has an ear, let him hear" A similar version of the phrase appears in Rev. 13:9 "if anyone has an ear, let him hear". The idea behind this phrase is that if one has the ability to comprehend then one needs to hear the truth of the words just spoken. What Christ was trying to accomplish in chapters 2 and 3 in Revelation is to remind the churches of what they needed to be and for these to correct their errors as needed. There is a need today for both saint and sinner to "have an ear" for God's word. The sinner needs forgiveness and it can only come through Christ and an understanding of the written word of God. The saint needs to continue to "have an ear" for the written word of God and mold their lives to it and do our best to teach the next generation about the gospel and what needs to be done to be pleasing to God. To serve a loving God is a wonderful thing. To be saved from our sins by a loving God is a wonderful thing. Lete us all have ears to hear the word of God and share it with those who need to hear it. God bless us in this effort!
On Sunday February 11th, the Lord willing, we will be discussing in our morning lesson the question "What is 'the faith'?" Faith is an intersting word as it has two uses in the New Testament. It is used to describe one's personal conviction as well as to describe what doctrine one follows. We need to be people of faith. The Greek word used for faith most commonly is PISTIS. This faith should develop strength as we study His word. What God wants for His children is for them to grow in their belief in Him ans His abilities. He has planned to save us from the dawn of time and executed that plan in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. If we accept that then we must accept His offer of salvation. We must accept it, though, on His terms. When we decide to do that our faith develops real strength and real depth. It is that strong faith that will lead us to live for Christ and actually be able to say as Paul did in Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;..." This is the feeling that we want to develop. We also want to develop a confidence that comes from that faith. Not an arrogance, rather the confidence that Paul exuded in 2 Tim. 4:7-8 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." That strength will lead us to have that home in heaven that is promised to us. That faith will only develop, though, through constant exposure to God. We accomplish that in the reading and study of His word. Paul encouraged this in Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:15. We want to be that same type of student realizing that it will lead to a strong faith in God and an active faith in God. God bless us in our efforts to grow in strength and faith in Him.