Friday, January 14, 2011

One Leg at a Time

Romans 12:16

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.

Did you know that everyone "puts their pants on one leg at a time"? The statement means that no one is so great that they are better than anyone else. The apostle Paul was addressing the Roman church to show that followers of Christ ought to stand out as those with humility, grace and a willingness to be at peace with everyone. In a nutshell, never think you are too good to speak to anyone or help anyone. For anything good that you have received came from God. If you think too much of yourself God can easily take away anything he has given you. Do not be conceited. Just in case anyone is not sure of what this word means, Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines it as such:

1: ingeniously contrived : fanciful
2: having or showing an excessively high opinion of oneself
— con·ceit·ed·ly adverb
— con·ceit·ed·ness noun

Examples of CONCEITED
a conceited basketball player who was always too busy even to sign autographs

It is fine to know who you are and appreciate what you have but never forget that you once did not have and you were once in the shoes of those that look up to you. If you forget, one day you will receive a reminder. For life is a cycle and what you do not have now, you may have later and what you have now you may not have later. But in everything be content, be humble and follow the way of Christ which is to love first. Be kind. You never know, one day, you may need help from someone.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Don't Get Mad

2 Kings 1:7

7 The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?”

Have you ever had to hear something you would've rather not? The king of Samaria fell through the roof and hurt himself very badly. God had not spoken in some time. So instead of asking God and waiting, the king decided he would consult a false god, Baal to see if he would live. God was aware of it and made it known to the prophet Elijah. God had Elijah meet the kings men on their way to consult the false god and delivered a message that the king would die. When the king's men returned to deliver the message, the king was angry. He demanded to know who was the deliverer of this unwelcomed news. The king's men described the man and immediately the king knew it was Elijah. The king sent his soldiers to kill Elijah. Elijah was given the authority by God to speak and what he spoke came to pass. The soldiers died.

There will be messages we must hear that we would prefer not to. But then we get upset with the person delivering the message. If it is something God wants you to hear, you will hear it like it or not. But when we turn our anger to the messenger the truth is, they are just that, the messenger. The anger is being directed at the wrong place. God can use anyone to deliver a message that is much needed. Getting angry with the messenger or not accepting the message doesn't change the validity of the message. But what it shows is that the anger is really with the source of the message and the fact that we can't have our own way. If the message is an unfavorable one and it is because our actions were not what they were supposed to be, then we can blame no one but ourselves. But we often do because many don't like to take responsibility. Take heart and know that if God is giving you a message that it means that you are in God's view and he would rather you get right because he wants no one to perish.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Learn to Wait!!

Exodus 33:3

3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”

Having everything right now is not always the best for us. Moses had already brought the Israelites out of Egypt per God's command. They were at Mount Horeb and were crumbling because they wanted to enter their promise "right now". God spoke to them telling them that he would give them what he promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He said he would even remove their enemies but he would not go with them. The reason for the journey through the desert in the first place was because God needed time to prepare the promised land for them to enter and also he needed them to shed their old way of thinking. There was a two-fold process that needed to take place. You can't enter the new without shedding the old. Unfortunately, the Israelites didn't see it that way and all they wanted was their blessings right now. So God said he would give it to them but he wouldn't be with them after he gave them what they wanted.

Can you imagine God giving you what you asked for but then not being with you afterward? What would you do with a blessing that you've never had before, that you're not ready for and really isn't ready for you? One word, CRASH! We'd all mess up anything we're not ready for especially if God isn't with us to see us through it. And that's the point he was making with the Israelites. He told them they were so stiff-necked. Stiff-necked means stubborn and hard-headed. But you know the saying, "a hard head makes for a soft behind." And God knew that they would mess up what he wanted to give them. So how do we combat this mindset? Learn to WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is always a reason for God doing what he does. It's not always for us to understand but it is for us to trust him. But trust is difficult when you want to be in control. Control can get you to some place but not get you through it. Learning to wait on God is a continuous process but it was one that took the Israelites forty years. It didn't have to take them that long but because they refused to let go of the old mindset and heart, he could not bring them into where he wanted.

Can you imagine God wanting to give you something and waiting on you to let go of the old so he can give you the new? We've all been there and some of us still are there. He may hand you over to what you desire because you don't want to change but God knows you're not ready for it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Do Not Fear

Psalm 62:9

9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.

Did you know that we are not to fear man? For we are wonderfully made in the image of God but we all, like David said, are but breath, and dust for that matter. King David had many enemies but the one thing he was sure of, no one made of breath or dust was a match for God. There were some that were trying to conspire against him and even extort him but no matter how much wealth or prestige he had, he knew and loved God. He also knew that without God, he could fight no battle and win. He knew that no matter what was said about him or done behind his back, he would prosper if it was God's will for him. King David understood something that some of us still struggle with, the will of God. King David still had to live out the consequences of his choices and disobedience but he accepted his punishment because he knew he was wrong. He also had such a heart for God that he would not love God any less just because he had to endure consequences. God still loved him and protected him from his enemies.

Do not fear man. Whatever the course, as long as we know who we are in Christ, no one can take anything from us that God has deemed belongs to us. It is when we don't know who we are that we stand on sinking sand. Who are you? Who is in you? Is it God? If so, then you have nothing to fear.

Monday, January 10, 2011

God's Way Never Fails

Acts 7:24-25

24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.

How many times have you attempted to do something in your own strength only to find out you can't? Stephen, one of the Greek followers of Christ, was one of the seven appointed by the apostles to care for the needs of those in the church that felt unattended to. Stephen was accused of committing heresies because many were jealous that God was with him and used him to perform miraculous signs and wonders, a characteristic of an evangelist much like Philip. Stephen was answering the charges against him in front of the Sanhedrin. Ultimately he was stoned to death and his situation was the very catalyst that helped bring Saul (Paul) to God. He used the story of Moses to make a very valid point. Though Moses was sent by God to deliver God's people from the Egyptians, he was not operating in God's strength, he was operating in his own. For that is why he was not recognized by the very people he was supposed to help. He used Moses as an example to show the Sanhedrin how time and time again, they were always operating in their own strength and so rejecting that which was truly of God. It took Moses forty years to come to a place where he was willing to let go of trying to do things his way and learn God's way.

How many of us have been like Moses? Just because we know something, doesn't mean we act in our time and in our way. We must do everything in God's time and in God's way. What happened to Moses when he attempted to act on his own? He not only murdered a man but he was not seen favorably by the very people he was meant to help. In attempting to help in his own way he became destructive. Why? Because that was the only way he knew. It took him forty years to learn God's way. God's way meant to operate in love. At that time, all he knew was to operate with man power. Have you learned God's way yet? Have you learned that doing anything your way doesn't mean it will work? Do you know that God's way never fails? Even when it looks like it might have, trust, God's way is the perfect way in all things.