As a pastor, I have had many desires for the people I have had the opportunity of ministering to. Among such desires would include John’s greeting to his well beloved Gaius, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in good health, even as thy soul prospereth” (III Jn:2). While prosperity may include such things as material well-being and good health, it may not necessarily be the case. We would perhaps be happy if our lives would include such things, but there are things that, in the long run, are even more important. Let me suggest a few:
Everybody achieves some kind of goals in their life. Some are worthy because they are truly of God and some are just the goals that are the outworking of a sinful life style, carelessness, laziness, and indifference to the known will of God. As satisfying as they may seem at a given time, they are sure to lead to disappointment and disillusionment. This may be true, not only of the unsaved, but of believers as well.
During the Christmas season we are reminded of many things. For many, it is a time of fellowship, feasting, parties, the exchanging of gifts, and a host of other things. This sounds so good and, really, in many ways it may be good, at least enjoyable.
And yet, all of these things may be engaged in with little or no real joy. We go through the motions of a joyous time without the presence of real joy itself. There may be an abundance of food on the table and gifts under the tree, but a great lacking in our hearts. The reason of many is the lack of the One who is joy Itself, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Most people, it would seem, enjoy the season of Thanksgiving. It is a time for family gatherings, good food, and fellowship with those we love. Those are all good things and are important in the enjoyment of life.
But I wonder about the spirit of thanksgiving, the reasons why we really have a day set apart special to give thanks. Is it possible that we enjoy the outward aspects of the season without comprehending the reasons behind such a time? Our culture, unfortunately, makes little place for God, His Person and His blessings.
We have some bird feeders in our back yard. We enjoy seeing the gold finches, blue birds, wrens, and a host of other small birds. We also have a hummingbird feeder, but so far we have seen only one lonely hummingbird! The birds are colorful and delightful to watch.
However, we also have other birds that frequent our feeders - the many blackbirds! They are very adept in consuming the bird seed meant for the other birds, and they frequently chase the other birds away. So far, we know of no way of being free of them. Any suggestions?!
One of the characteristics of most people is that we can figure things out for ourselves. That may be good to a certain extent, but it has its limitations. This is especially true in regard to spiritual realities. When it comes to spiritual reality, no man can figure things out for himself. We all need the truth of God’s word to see where we are and where we are going.
When Moses sent the spies into the land of Canaan, at the command of God, he instructed them, “Bring some of the fruit of the land” (Numb. 13:20). The land had been promised, but it would be helpful for the people to know what to expect when they entered the land. The result was, “Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs” (numb. 13:23). Its always good to know what to expect when entering a strange land.
This article is about departures in relationships. Departures are sometimes sudden and final. Perhaps more often they are subtle and hidden until they manifest themselves and are apparent to others. This departure can happen in all kinds of relationships including marriage, friendships, business partnerships, church relationships, and a host of others.
Life is filled with many seemingly impossible challenges. Sometimes we come up against things that are beyond our ability to see through or to solve in a good way. When that happens, we may respond with great discouragement, or make some very unwise decisions that bring even further hurt to ourselves or others. Granted, there are many things in life that bring deep hurt and a sense of unacceptable loss. Some are brought on by ourselves and some are simply the result of living in a spiritually sinful and fallen world. Whatever their origin, we may feel like the Marys approaching the tomb of Jesus after His crucifixion who said, “…who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher…for it is very great” (Mark 16:3-4).
What could be more refreshing on a hot day than fresh water from a cold well? Just the thought of it is a blessing. Sometimes, though, the water may be available but there is a covering on the well and so the water is not available unless someone can remove the covering. Of Jacob in the Bible we read, “And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and there was a stone upon the well’s mouth” (Gen. 29:2). In this case, someone rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and the sheep were watered.