Thursday, October 27, 2011

What is Most Important ?

Everybody has something or someone that is important to him or her. How do you know what is the most important thing in your life? Is what is most important really what should be most important? This is a helpful subject, because all too often we don’t fully think about what we value or what we should value.

First, how do you know what is the most important thing in your life? The answer to this is really pretty easy. Look at your schedule. How do you spend your time? Where does most of your time go? Does it go to your work? To sleep? To family? To friends? As you see where you spend the bulk of your time, you can see what you value. Now you may want to argue with me that you work more than you spend time with your family, but you value your family more. Let’s look at it closer then. Most full-time jobs require around 40-45 hours per week on average. Let’s say that you have about 25-30 hours free in your week. If you are spending extra time at work and only a small percentage of your free time with your family, then again, your work is more important. If you are going off to dinner with a friend instead of spending time with your family or significant other, then your friends are more important.

What should be most important? The Bible helps us to answer this question. When Jesus was asked what the greatest command was, he said in Matthew 22:37-38, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.’” In other words, our relationship with God should be the most important thing to us. Jesus also said that if we held to this truth, then our lives would be much better off. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When we seek to be in a right relationship with God, and with God’s will for our lives, then all things will work out for us.

The thing that should be the next most important part of our lives is our relationships with others. Jesus said in Matthew 22:39, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” We have been created to be in relationship with others. If we do not have good relationships in our lives, then it won’t matter how successful, or rich, or powerful we are, our lives will not mean much. Even more, we will constantly be searching for peace and fulfillment.

I hope that the two great commands Jesus talked about are what are most important to you. If not, may you can seek to make them important in your life. Blessings.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Parable Re-told

One day a high school boy decided he was going to invite four of his friends to church. They all said yes and went to church the next week. At church they heard about Jesus and how He died for them so that they could be forgiven and have eternal life. They all thought it was nice and told the boy they would like to come back. The next week the boy invited them all again. This time only three said they could come. The first boy was hanging out with his ‘cool’ friends, and didn’t have time for church. After a few weeks of the boy asking his friends to come to church, only one of the four continued to go. The second boy got ‘too busy’ with school to go anymore. The third boy joined an after-school group that met on the church day and began to be influenced by his friends against the church. But the fourth boy who kept on going to church gave His life to Jesus and even started inviting his friends as well!

This is a re-telling of Jesus’ parable of the sower. Jesus’ parable goes like this: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown…” (Luke 8:5-8)

Why did Jesus tell this parable? I believe it was meant to give His followers encouragement. I believe that Jesus wanted them (and us) to understand that not everyone who hears the message about Jesus will receive these words with enthusiasm. In fact, many will reject what is told to them. There will be a few, however, that will receive Jesus. But we won’t know who will receive these words, and who won’t, until after we share. And if even one person receives Jesus, then our efforts will be worth it!

So sow your seeds; tell people about Jesus; invite people to church; share your experiences. Bless others as you have been blessed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Looking Up

If you remember Chicken Little, you know that looking up got him into trouble. If you look up, maybe something from the sky will fall on you. Maybe you will see something that will cause you concern. Maybe things will appear out of place. Maybe, Maybe, Maybe… The Bible has a different take on looking up. In Colossians 3:2 we are told, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” What this verse is saying is that we are to have a heavenly, or eternal perspective on life. The things of the earth are temporary. Relationships begin and end. We have a possession and then we don’t. We are born and we die. If we try and put too much trust in the things of this world, it will disappoint us.

The things of heaven are eternal. Eternal life. Love. Worshiping God. Impacting the lives of others, especially for God. That is what makes the Bible such an amazing book. It is constantly pointing us to the things of heaven. The Bible is regularly leading us to look up to God for guidance, strength, perspective, and His saving grace.

Think about the things of the earth. What do you have? What do you possess? What do you want? How have you been disappointed? Now think about the things God brings into your life: love, forgiveness, strength, salvation. These things do not disappoint. When you regularly look up, you remember what is important and where your focus should be. As Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” God will give all that we need for a wonderful life when we look up to Him and trust in Him! Blessings.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A not-so-well-known Bible verse that impacted you

The Bible is one of the most read books of all time, if not THE most read book. It has many verses that are well known: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Turn the other cheek.” “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yet, there are so many verses in the Bible that we don’t know which contain great and wonderful truths.

One verse that is not as well known, but has impacted my life comes from the book of James, chapter 4, verses 13-15: “Come now you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there, and engage in business, and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.’”

This passage makes a powerful statement of living according to God’s will, not my own. When I live based on my own desires, I am saying to myself that I am wiser than God. When I make plans apart from God’s input, and apart from the guidance of scripture, then I believe that I am capable of knowing what tomorrow will bring. It is a much better plan to seek out God’s will and live according to what He wants for me.

This concept of living according to God’s will can be tough for many, because so many people have an independent spirit. People don’t want to be told what to do by others, or even by God. Instead, they seek to do what THEY WANT TO DO, not always what is best to do.

This passage has helped me understand that God is eternal, and my life is just temporary. God is the God of the universe. I am His creation. God has all wisdom, and I have limited understanding. God is holy, and I am sinful and flawed. I do not know what my life will be like tomorrow, but if I trust in God, and follow His will, then I can know that I will walk a good path of fruitfulness and purpose! Blessings.