Saturday, September 22, 2018

Learning from the past...

"Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did." -- 1 Corinthians 10:6
It has been said that the only thing we learn from history is... that we don't learn anything from history. Could this be true? Is it possible that some people never learn from the past? While in high school drivers education I remember being shown pictures of auto collisions caused by careless drivers. That same year one of my classmates died from the same kind of careless driving. Some lessons from the past are never learned.
As Paul wrote to believers who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, he was confident that they could learn from history. While the unbeliever is lost in their sin-bound condition, every believer has the freedom and power to learn from the past, avoid evil and live rightly. Examples are recorded in the pages of Scripture as lessons to keep us from careless living. Lessons from the past are given to be learned.
Do you regularly read the Scriptures from Old Testament through the New Testament? Have you considered the positive lessons to follow as well as the examples of evil to avoid? Don't be like my friend who ignored tragic examples of the past. "... if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (verse12)

Friday, September 21, 2018

No limitations...

"He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac." -- Psalm 105:7-9
Have you noticed the limitations of your warranty for that appliance you just purchased? The time limit may be a year or less with restrictions in various states. A lifetime warranty is most often reserved for a few special items and most often limited to the original buyer. Forever commitments are constantly swallowed up by unending limitations.
As the Psalmist walks the reader through the historic working of God, the covenant the Lord made with Abraham stands out without limitations. When God makes a promise, he will keep his word "for a thousand generations". This is the nature of God and can be seen throughout all the pages of Scripture. We can depend on God's commitments because they swallow up unending limitations.
If you will take time to journey through the Old Testament you will come face to face with the God of all faithfulness. Look closely my friend and be encouraged in the Lord's remembering his covenant forever. As you consider this great fact be assured that the Lord will never fail to fulfill his promises to you. His commitments to his children will always swallow up every limitation.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Win as many as possible...

"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible... I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." -- 1 Corinthians 9:19, 22
They call us at dinner on a daily basis. They send us brochures in duplicates. They come knocking at our doors on a regular basis. Who are these nefarious schemers that seek our attention with such determination? They are sales people! They strive to win us over to buy their product or service and they won't take no for an answer. They will do whatever is necessary to win as many as possible.
While you will readily relate to the above experiences, do you believe that there might be a greater reason for which to win people? Don't you think that a heavenly home is more valuable than new siding for your earthly one? Sales people are seeking the big paycheck, but Paul was seeking the big blessing of souls saved. He was willing to do whatever was necessary to win as many as possible. 
Are you afraid of offending people with your witness for Christ? Paul said earlier in chapter one, verse eighteen, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." A soul is worth far more than a paycheck, so never give up. Do whatever is necessary to win as many as possible!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Known by God...

"Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God." -- 1 Corinthians 8:1-3
The world is full of scholars and experts in their various fields. They know that they know, and know how to inform others about that knowledge. There are very few who have the capacity to exercise their knowledge graciously to benefit others. These are those who are moved with love and compassion to use their knowledge to build up, not criticize and tear down. Such individuals are often well known by the world.
In the church there are also those who are scholars and experts in Biblical matters. They know the right and wrong as well as all the implications of both. But it takes a special love from God to exercise such knowledge with care and understanding. These brethren care little about what they know, but care very much about how they love. Such individuals are always well known by God.
Which one are you my friend? Do you know that you know, or do you know that you might love with such knowledge? As Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:15 "...speaking the truth in love... we will in all things grow up". When we love God and his church with all that we know, we will always be known by Him with love.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What really matters?

"What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away." -- 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
I have lived through the years that moved from "Laugh-In" to "Saturday Night Live". These years were filled with the hopes of a four day work week and tons of fun on the other three days. The bumper sticker said it all with these words: "He that dies with the most toys wins". In the light of this present world passing away, when will we ever get serious about what really matters?
Since Paul had been very clear about marital commitments in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3, I am sure that his comments here were about the balance of life in light of eternity. He counseled the believers to deal with "the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them." Rather than laughing away our grief and finding ways to be entertained with new gadgets, Paul reminds us "that the time is short". When will we ever get serious about what really matters?
When was the last time you took inventory of your life my friend? On what do you spend your time and money? Are you of the misguided persuasion that you will always have tomorrow to live for God? Have you been duped by the world to "eat, drink and be merry" and "you only live once, so get all the gusto you can"? One thing is true; you do only live once, but only what is done for Christ will last. When will you ever get serious about what really matters?

Monday, September 17, 2018

We're not our own!

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." -- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
From our previous church family, we had one young man serving in Iraq as a Ranger Officer and two other young men at sea in naval vessels. As many of us have experienced, these young men were bought and paid for as military property. As a result, they were to honor their country in every way possible. Until they were discharged, they were not their own.
While we might resist the thought, as believers, we have also been bought and paid for as God's property. The price was higher than we could possibly comprehend. We were purchased by the blood of Jesus and sealed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The only thing left for us to do is honor God with our body. Now and forever, we are not our own.
Why do we think that we are free to live any way that we choose? We come to Christ and receive his marvelous gift of salvation, but we refuse to wear the uniform of the day? Those that try to live this way in the military are most often tried as deserters. While military personnel have personal freedoms, they always live within certain perimeters. So it is with us: Christian liberty should always be lived within the perimeters of being a temple of the Holy Spirit, owned by God. Be sure to honor Him today my friend!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Most Wonderful Creator...

"How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." -- Psalm 104:24
A friend of ours recently returned from a trip to Europe. In his travels he had the opportunity visit the Louvre. He saw the wonderful artistic and creative works of men long gone. Such displays are exciting to view and marvel over, and the earth is full of such achievements. Yet, while we might compare them one to another, they can never be compared to works of the Lord.
As the Psalmist moves through the display of all creation, he speaks of that which can be seen by everyone in the world. There's no need to travel far to view God's wise and diverse works. While men's works may be beautiful, they are lifeless. When the Lord creates, he produces the miracle of life that looks to him for daily sustenance which he faithfully supplies. Nothing compares to our Creator and Sustainer.
You are a wonderful work of God my friend. As Paul spoke in Acts 17:28 "For in him we live and move and have our being". So, are you as wise as the Lions who "seek their food from God" (verse 21)? Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:11 to pray "Give us today our daily bread". May we daily rejoice and rest in our wonderful Creator and Sustainer, who is wise in all that he does?