Monday, November 17, 2014

Searching the Scriptures

     "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so." -Acts 17:11

     Often times, the fact that we go to worship 2-3 times a week makes it easy to believe that that's all we need.  It can be easy to look at it as a reason as to why we can cut out most, or even all of our personal study time.  However, we cannot allow ourselves to fall into this habit.  Why?

     Why not?  Why bother studying something that others can study for you?  Two names you likely recognize, Nadab and Abihu, two brothers who once decided they would sacrifice to God something that had not been commanded of them.  BAM!  They died!  Now, obviously God doesn't strike people down like that anymore, but that doesn't mean that we can't be condemned eternally.  There are two things we can learn from this: we need to search the scriptures often so we don't accidentally do this, and Nadab and Abihu not only died physically, but you can guarantee that they died spiritually, as well.  And I can guarantee that we will too, if we don't make sure we aren't in the wrong.

     Another reason we have to search scriptures and not just rely on others to teach us, is that there are false teachers everywhere.  1 John 4:1 says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."  and Matthew 7:15 also mentions this, along with, I'm sure, several other passages.  I would like to point out that also, in Acts 17:11, they searched the scriptures daily.  Not weekly or monthly or yearly.  They made it part of their lives.  See, the thing about false teachers is that most of the time, they don't realize that they're wrong.  In fact, someone could be a very experienced teacher who knows a lot about the Bible, but slip up and say something that's wrong.  But if we study the Bible daily, we will be able to lovingly show them the truth, as we see Priscilla and Aquilla did in Acts 18:26.  It is our job as Christians not to point out the flaws of others, but when we see them, lovingly show them the truth.  But how can we do this if we don't know the truth?

     Today I would like to encourage you all to search the scriptures daily and not take the teaching of others for granted.  There are many more false teachers than you think.  Today I'd like to encourage you to help put an end to that. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Will Of My Father

"Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." -Matthew 7:21


     Often times, people want to believe that all you have to do to be saved is say that you're a Christian. Maybe go to church a couple times a year, know the books of the Bible maybe, and just have a general "goodness", which is basically not being a terrible person by not murdering or stealing. Just do what you think is best and you'll go to heaven. However, we can see in Matthew 7:21-23 that we cannot do this. We have to do the will of the Father. But what is that will?

     If you look at Matthew 28:19-20, as I'm sure you'll know, it says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age." This verse is often looked at as optional. Especially in the teen years, this can be looked at as, "Oh, I don't have to do this until I'm older." or "This is something I can't do until I'm on my own." However, this passage is directed to Christians, meaning, if you are old enough to be baptized, you are old enough to obey this command.

     I have a question: Say you were in a car crash, a hit and run, and you were crushed under the weight of your car. You could get out from underneath it if you simply had the help of one person. Suddenly you see someone rushing over and without asking they pull you out of the rubble. A couple months later you see the same thing happen to another person. Now you walk by and see you have the full ability to help this person just like someone helped you. What kind of person would you be if you just ignored them? What kind of person would you be if you just left them in the rubble? As Christians, it's our job to go out and search for those people who are in the rubble, and save them.

     As Christians we have a way to show others how to be saved not physically, but spiritually. Today I'd like to encourage you to find one person in the rubble, and help them out. Think of someone who you know needs help, and save them from eternal death. "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few" (Matthew 9:37)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A House With Just Wood

"But as it is, God arranged the members of the body, each one of them, as He chose." -1 Corinthians 12:18

     Often times as women we can get discouraged because it seems like men have all the roles. Now I know I talked about this recently (and you can read about it if you click here) but I'm sure you all know about how you can teach Bible class or visit widows and shut-ins, or bring in food for your church pantry, etc. However, I feel like people don't talk about why we need different people doing different things. A lot of times it's just assumed that everyone does different things because God said so. Some people are elders, some are deacons, some are preachers, and some are teachers simply because God said so. However, this is not the case.

     1 Corinthians 12:12-31 talks about the body that is the church. It talks about how some people have certain abilities while others don't. In fact verses 27-30 break away from the parable and ask if everyone is a teacher, or an apostle, or can speak in tongues, or heal the sick or perform miracles. Clearly people no longer perform miracles (which is a whole other article altogether) but the passage doesn't become less true. Even if it's less obvious, even if it's behind the scenes, everyone has a part in the church.

     A carpenter went to build a small play house for his daughter. Now, typically he worked in a large group of people and he was always in charge of the wood. So he brought over a bunch of wood that was cut properly so it would be sturdy. He started stacking the planks together and within about 10 minutes, a gust of wind came and everything fell over. The man scratched his head and tried thinking of a reason why that would happen. The man was stumped so he called up his friend who was usually in charge of hammering. He told the man with the wood that maybe he should try hammering the wood to get it to stick in place. So the man got up, put the wood back, and started hammering. About 10 minutes into this, another gust of wind came and knocked the wood over. Stumped again, the man called his friend who usually handled the nails and thought that maybe he could help. The man with the nails told him that maybe he should try putting the nails in the wood before he hammered. Suddenly, it all became clear. The man started building his house and about 10 minutes later a big gust of wind came but what he had been building didn't fall down this time.

     Now, if you were the man with the wood, you would have probably already have known that you need more than just wood, or just a hammer, or just nails in order to build a play house. It seems like this would be obvious. However, it seems to be less obvious when we're talking about the church. Sometimes it seems like we all have to be teachers, or we all have to be preachers, or we all have to cook for potlucks, etc. Now yes we should do as much as we can, but it takes a lot of different people who can do different things in order to build up God's church. Some people are better at starting up Bible studies than doing the studies themselves, and some people are good at doing the actual Bible study thing but not so good at setting them up. Now I'm not saying that if you're not good at something now then you never will be, but simply that some people have a higher advantage in some things, and that it's important to use that advantage.

     Today I'd like to encourage you all to look at your abilities and your advantages and use them to help in your congregation. Whatever your talent is, whether you're good with kids or older people, or you're good at encouraging people or just helping where help is needed, I'd like to encourage you all to look for places where you can help the kingdom grow.

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Lord Send Me"

"...The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefor pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." -Matthew 9:37-38

     We are told in Matthew 9:37 and 38 to pray that God send His people to aid others to him. We are told to pray for help in our journey of guiding others toward heaven. However, sometimes we forget to ask God, "Lord, send me." and we instead say, "Lord, send him." or, "Lord, send her." But what is more important: working, ourselves and making sure the job gets done, or sitting back and watching others do the work?

     Think of it this way: if a farmer has too much land to harvest on his own, he has every right to hire workers to aid him in gathering his crop, right? But, if one of the workers, even if he's a really good friend of the farmer's, decides half way through that he doesn't want to work or doesn't even show up at all, has he earned his payment? No. He didn't complete his work. James 2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has accountable for all of it." Even if we show up to church every time the doors are open, participate in all prayer groups, Bible readings, studies, and classes, and we never gossip or slander or murder or cuss, if we don't go out and make an effort to show others the Word of God, have we completed the whole counsel given to us (Acts 20:27)?

     It's important for us as Christians to, yes definitely pray for others to help us, but to keep our eyes peeled for opportunities. After all, if everyone sat back and did nothing, nothing would get done! And even if we just help encourage one person towards the heavenly goal, it'll all be worth it. It's important to keep your eyes open for any chance to share God's word, because you never know when you'll be most effective.