Philippians 3:10 What Do You Really Want To Know?

I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, Philippians 3:10

Knowledge is something that most people are searching for. Search engines are one of the greatest tools on the internet, that are used billions of times every day by people around the world.

People are wanting to know how to do nearly everything and anything. They want to be able to understand nearly everything. One common thing many search for is how to really live a life that is full of purpose.

As Paul talks about the need for faith over works, he points out that he really wants to know Jesus, both his resurrection and his sufferings, so that he may be more like Him.

Churches are filled with people who have placed at least some faith in Jesus. These people want to be saved from their sins and from judgement. While this does save them, many stop right there and don’t go any farther with their walk with God, not really wanting to know the power of the resurrection bringing out a new creation, nor knowing and understanding the sufferings Jesus went through.

The moment suffering starts, most will cry out to God asking for it to be immediately stopped or else they get mad at God and walk away. Instead of embracing suffering for Christ, they turn angry and bitter. During times like this, instead of growing in their faith and becoming more like Jesus, they become more like the world.

Going through suffering for the sake of Jesus, will help a believer grow stronger in his faith in God. He will see God’s hand strengthen and provide for him in ways that could not be seen or learned without suffering. It will make him more like Jesus.

As a believer in Jesus, you must ask yourself what you really want to know about Jesus. It is easy to know the stories of Jesus from the bible, but that does not give the same knowledge as going through the same types of sufferings He did.

To fully understand and appreciate what Jesus did, you must be willing to walk the same path He did. Be willing to lay down your life for others to know Jesus and go through pain and suffering to get the message out.

What do you really want to know?

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will know the power of His resurrection; that you will participate in His suffering to spread the gospel message of salvation; and that you will become more like Jesus every day.

Leviticus 18:3 Don’t Do As They Do

Assimilation

You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. Leviticus 18:3

Adapting to the actions that people do is something that most people are very good at doing. A person gets around some new people and he very quickly begins to act as they do, regardless of what he originally believed or thought.

Foreigners travel into the USA on a regular basis to begin a new life in America. Over time, a person will still have some of his cultural habits from his original country still in him. While this is still there, he will begin to assimilate into the cultural actions and thoughts of an American. He will begin to do as the people he is living around does.

As the Israelites were in the desert, God told them not to be like the Egyptians, whom they had left, nor to be like those in Canaan, where they are going to. Both the Egyptians and those in Canaan were people who did not follow God. They lived according to their own desires in sin. The Israelites were to be different, to think, speak and act differently than the others in the world.

Believers today are to be the same way. No believer should live as he used to live prior to coming to Jesus. Nor should he act like those around him. Every thought, action and spoken word is to be patterned after those of Jesus. He is to be set apart, holy unto the Lord.

Not every believer is living like this. Many have adapted the ways of the world and brought into the church as though it is a good thing. When looked at, many believers and churches don’t look any different from the world, actively participating in sinful ways and beliefs, while claiming to follow Jesus.

In your own life, you must be careful not to adapt to the ways of the world. You must also turn from your old ways to live for God.

When you look at your own life, who do you look, act and sound like? Are you looking like the world around you? Or are you looking like Jesus, who has saved you from all of your sin, cleansed you and made you whole, set apart to be different?

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus offers you; that you will live your life for God; that you will be set apart, holy unto God; that you will be a shining light of Jesus to this world; and that you will follow God with all of your life. 

Matthew 23:11 How To Be The Greatest

Helping Others

The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11

Jesus was speaking against the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. Even though they knew the Law very well, they did not practice it, nor did they show any love or care for the people. They focused on themselves and tried to show how great they were. Jesus then tells the people that the one who would be greatest would be their servant.

In order for people to be great, they are often expected to be the best at something. They are to stand above the average person to be considered the greatest. The greatest musician is the one who can play or sing the best out of everyone else. The greatest actress is the one who can perform the best.

God has a problem with that type of thinking, which is the way most of the world thinks like. The problem with that type of thinking is that it is self focused. Regardless of what a person is doing, whether good or bad, the focus is on self being the best and looking down on others. There is nothing in this way of thinking that is about lifting other people up or building them up. It is about building self up.

Jesus is considered by many to be the greatest teacher or prophet that ever lived. He did not live in a way at trying to be the best. He lived as a servant. Jesus had the goal of serving God, thus serving people.

A servant is the person who makes the boss or master look good. He is the one who brings the food or cleans up after the master. He puts others before himself.

People want to be served. They want to feel the comfort of being served what they need, when they need it.

As a believer, you are to be like Jesus, serving others. Showing love to others means you will lift them up and help them. It will not be about you in any way. There will always be room to serve others.

As you take care and serve others, God will take care of you. He will place others in your life to serve your needs.

At that point you will be the greatest among the people. People will see your love and care and realize you are living like Jesus.

I pray today that you will have God’s love for people in your heart; that you will serve people as Jesus served you; that you will work to build people up in Jesus; and that God will see you as the greatest servant.

Zechariah 5:4 Thieves And False Swearing

The LORD Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.’ Zechariah 5:4

Zechariah had been given a vision by God of a large flying scroll. The scroll had a curse written on both sides of it. One was against all thieves and the other was against those who swore falsely by God’s name. It was to go into the houses of these people and remain there until the house was completely destroyed.

It is common for people to be upset about others who are thieves. Very few people have room for someone who is a thief. It is expected that thieves are to be punished.

While this is true, there are many people who are living as thieves. They may not be stealing physical things from other people, but they are stealing from God. He has given them blessings to be used for others and they use them for their own personal gain. They refuse to give generously in offerings and tithes. They steal time to spend with Him for their own personal entertainment.

The other curse was against those who swear falsely by God’s name. It is easy for a person to claim a belief in God, but it is another thing to live by His name. People claim to live for God, yet refuse to read His word, follow His commands, or be His witness. Others also claim things, as though they are true of God, that go against His word. When this happens, they are swearing falsely by His name.

As a believer, you need to continually examine your life, what you say or do. Are you stealing things from God? This could be done on purpose or by accident, but it is still stealing. How much time are you taking from God?

You claim to be a believer, then you must ask yourself if you are really living like a disciple of Jesus. Are you striving to be more like Jesus everyday? Or are you falsely swearing allegiance to God and living your own way?

Make God the center of your life. Live in every way possible for God, in everything you say and do. May God not be able to accuse you of being a thief or falsely swearing in His name.

I pray today that you God will reveal to you ways you may be stealing from Him; that God will show ways you may be falsely swearing in His name; and that you will be more like Jesus everyday.

Ezekiel 6:9-10 Calamity For A Purpose

Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember me–how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices. And they will know that I am the LORD; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them. Ezekiel 6:9-10

It was because of the sins of the people that God chose to destroy Jerusalem and place all the people in captivity in Babylon. In the process of doing that, God kept a remnant alive. Those who survived would realize what their sins had caused and would repent of those sins. The few left would turn their hearts back to God and the purpose of the calamity would be fulfilled. The captivity was not to just destroy the people, but to get them to turn their hearts back to God.

From the beginning of time, God has always wanted to have a relationship with mankind. He always wanted to be able to spend time with people and bless them with a full life. Never once was the final purpose of what happens to just be destruction.

God allows calamity and trials in the lives of those who follow Him for a purpose. Sometimes it is just to test the person and see if he is really following Him or not. Other times it is to draw the person back to God.

When a person begins to go through a hard time because of sin, he will realize how good he really had it when he was following God. At that point, he may turn back to God, hating the sin he had fallen in to. Some will fall away from God and give up on Him, while a remnant will turn back to Him during such times.

Throughout your life, God is working out all things to keep your focus on Him and to make you more like Jesus each day. Some of those things may be calamity. They may be painful and hard to go through, but the purpose is still the same.

Keep your eyes and life focused on God. Strive to be more like Jesus everyday. In that way, all the things you are going through will be for a good purpose. And God will not have to strike you to get your attention.

I pray today that you will be more like Jesus; that you will not fall away from God in hard times; and that you will turn from all sin in your life towards God.