Luke 1:3-4 Know For Yourself

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With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1:3-4

Luke starts out his book as to why he is writing it. He was not one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus. Luke looked into everything about Jesus on his own and came up with his own conclusions. He chose to write it all down in order so that Theophilus could know everything about Jesus for certain.

Children grow up learning a lot of their information from their parents and the schools that they attend. Most will continue into adulthood believing what they were taught without questioning it in any way.

Not everything that is taught by parents or schools is entirely accurate. Currently many things are being taught to children that are inaccurate and can cause confusion as to what is the truth. Children, and many adults, do not take the time to determine what they really believe for themselves because it takes time and work.

This can also occur in Christian homes and the church. Many people grow up believing what their parents taught them. They only go to church because that is what their parents did. They only believe in Jesus because that is what their parents did. They also believe only because that is what the pastor of a church said. They have not found out what they believe for themselves.

Each person must take the time to personally know what the Bible says. He must take the time to find out who Jesus is and what He did. This takes reading the bible and studying it on a regular basis with lots of prayer.

You may have grown up in the church, or just started believing in Jesus. What do you believe and why do you believe it? Is it because someone else told you? Or is it because that is what the pastor says?

Or is it because that is what God’s word says?

Take time to read what the Bible says to find out what you believe and why you believe it. Look at what others teach and find out if it lines up with the Bible or not.

Luke wrote so Theophilus could know for certain, you can know also.

I pray today that you will know what the Bible teaches; that you will have a personal relationship with Jesus; that you will be able to answer why you believe what you believe; and that you will be a witness of Jesus to this world.

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Back To School Or Still In School

It is the season that school is starting up again all over the country. Within the next couple of weeks most children will be back in school. Along with the children many adults are starting up in college again or for the first time.

Some of those starting up with school are excited about it. Children, and adults, look forward to seeing their friends at school again. They miss the fun times they had with other friends in school. Children look forward to playing on the playground, or just hanging out with their best friends. Adults in college look forward to hanging out with each other and the parties that they have.

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With school starting, there are also many sports starting up again. Many will play in the sports, while many others will go to watch and support their favorite teams. The excitement is high for many.

Along with the public school or college students going back to school, there are many that are homeschooled. Some of those homeschooled never fully stopped during the summer, while others took the break. The fear of the subject matter is often right there with the homeschooled child.

As much as the excitement is high for many, there are also many who are afraid of school. The reasons are many. Some it is the fear of the teachers, or fear of the bullies, or the subjects, or the crowds, or being away from home.

Love Hate School

Very few people in America get away without having to do some type of education. Outside of America, there are nations where getting a public education is a very high privilege that many do not receive.

Many people feel that education is only for the child or the person getting a college degree. They do not feel as though they need to keep learning. Despite whether one gets a public, private or homeschooled education or is not in a formal school program of any sort, every person gets an education every day, year round. This earth is a very large classroom. The process of living on this earth is a process of lessons and tests. There will be a final exam.

Learning begins when a person is born and does not stop, or should not stop, until he dies.

A child is born and begins to learn how to do things. Going through schooling children learn to read, write, do math, and other subjects. In college people learn a skill to work. After college, people learn how to work at a new job.

If a person does not go to college, there is learning going on all the time. Learning a new job skill, learning to be married, learning to pay bills, learning to be a parent, and the list goes on. Education never stops.

World Education

As a believer, this is even more true. Once a person becomes a believer, the education of what it means to follow Jesus and what it means to be like Jesus has begun.

James 1:3 New International Version (NIV)

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

God is going to test your faith in Him. He wants to know what you learned about Him. In order for that to happen, you must have been taught something. Think about how it would be if you were in a classroom and the teacher chose to give you a test on something you have never even heard of. How would you do on it? Most likely you would fail. God will not test you in something you have never been taught in.

The training of a believer happens in various different ways and methods. Each time you go to a church service, you will receive some training in some area of life as a believer. Each time you open the Bible and read a portion of it, you will get some more training. You will learn who God is, what He expects, and how to be like Jesus.

As you learn things about God, you are expected to apply them to your life. This is where the testing comes in. You may read or hear about how God provides all of your needs. Suddenly you find yourself in a position of needing something and do not see a way to get it. Faith in God must step in and trust that God sees your need and will meet it in His way and time. Doing all of this is a test to see how much you trust God.

Outside of the testing that God will put you through, there is just learning about God and what it means to live for Him. It is probably easy to tell a person everything you know about God. The hard question is what do you not know about God? You can probably list a few things that you do not know about God, but there are probably many things that you do not even realize that  you do not know that you do not know about Him.

Think about it, if you were asked what do you know about algebra, what would you answer? You could probably say a few things, depending upon your experience with it. However, if you are like most people, that list of what you know is probably very short. You do not even know the question to ask, because you have never dealt with it. You do not know the extreme high levels of algebra, because you have never even seen it or heard of it.

God is greater than anyone or anything that you can imagine. There is more to Him to be learned than you could possibly learn in a life of one hundred and ten years on this earth. This life is the classroom to learn about Him.

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As you are going through life today, whether you are in a formal school or not, allow your learning to continue. Get into the Bible, read and study it. Learn who God is. Learn what God wants. Learn what God expects. Learn how to apply all of that to your life.

Be ready to take the test God has in store for you and pass it with a perfect score.

Genesis 28:15New International Version (NIV)

15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

God is with you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 New International Version (NIV)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Do not be afraid.

When you pass the test in the end and you graduate, you will hear God say:

Matthew 25:21 New International Version (NIV)

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Get out into your classroom today and see what you can learn. Be excited, there is more to learn!

Independence Versus Dependence

Fourth of July is a time in America in which people celebrate the independence of America. It celebrates when the young nation had broken away from England to become its own country. They did not want to be controlled by or depend upon any other nation in the world. This new country wanted to be self-sufficient, self-sustaining–independent.

Parents push their children for independence. Once a child gets past the initial baby stage, they strive to work with their child to gain independence. The child learns to hold the bottle himself. Later the child is taught how to walk without holding a hand. Learning to eat with a spoon and fork is taught.

Learning to be independent does not end as a person grows up. It continues as an adult. People have to learn how to work a job and manage their money so that they can live on their own. Most do not want to be dependent upon others to supply their needs and desires.

While it is good to be able to work on your own and provide for your own needs, it is not totally correct.

Just working a job for money, means you are dependent upon someone else. You are dependent upon the boss providing the job with a paycheck. You are dependent upon people purchasing the services of  your boss, so that he can provide the job and the paycheck. You are dependent upon the job that the people have that purchase the services that of your boss so that he can provide you a job and a paycheck. And the connection goes on indefinitely.

No one can really survive completely independent of anyone else. The person who lives alone deep in a forest is still dependent upon others to some degree. Most likely he has a gun or a frying pan that he did not make himself. He relied on someone else to make. He was dependent upon that other person.

Most people will not try to live alone in the forest and may say that this illustration does not apply to them. How many people drive a vehicle to work? Each person that does, is dependent upon those who made the vehicle. They are dependent upon those who made and maintain the roads.

The ultimate dependence a person can have is on God. While people can provide some things and can meet some of the needs of a person, only God can provide absolutely everything. He is the One who gives each person the ability to provide something for someone else. He is the One who provides the materials for anyone to make anything.

Think about it, without God there would be no earth or air. Without the earth or air, you could not exist. God provides the very air you breath and the ground you walk on.

God gave you life when you were born. He breathed life into the body you are now using on this earth.

While independence sounds good, it is not a reality. Everyone is dependent upon someone else. No person is truly independent of anyone else, whether they allow God into the picture of their life or not.

Believers know that they are supposed to be dependent upon God for everything. However, many do not live in that dependence. Many try to do things on their own, and only when it gets really ugly do they cry out to God for help and guidance.

How many times do you try to do something on your own, and then after you fail, you pray to God for His help and favor?

It is easy to think that you can do it. That is the way the world has trained you to think. And there is actually an element of truth in saying that you can do it. You can do all things. However, do not forget the reason why you can do all things. It is because God is with you.

In Christ Jesus you can do all things, because it is He who gave you the ability and power to do them. Again, you are dependent upon Jesus, it is not your own doing or power.

Rely on God to give you the strength, wisdom, and power to do what needs to be done. Do this for everything you do. Live this way each day.

Without God you really cannot do anything. As you rely upon Jesus for your forgiveness of sin and your salvation, so also rely on Him to provide you for your daily needs and guidance.

God is there for you and is not kicking you out to have you be independent. He is not raising you up to be independent. He wants you to be dependent upon Him.

As you celebrate, if you live in America, the independence day of America, remember that you, and America, are still dependent upon others. Keep your dependence upon God, the only One who has absolute power in this world.

Psalm 143:10 It Is Not About Your Desires

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10

Learning things from other people is something that every person starts out in life doing. Every child born begins learning by observing others and imitating them. As children get older, they begin to pull away from learning from others so that they can do their own thing. As adults, most people do not like to learn from others, they feel that they know the best ways for their own life.

Businesses are started all the time. As fast as they are started, many fail and close. The reasons many of them fail, is that most of the owners refuse to listen to those who have been successful in business. They fail to follow the tried and true practices of running a business because they feel they know how to do it.

In the same way many lives fail for the same reason. People do not like to be led by God and follow His ways of doing things. They “know” how to best live this life.

David knew that God’s will and desire was the best,  not his own. He also knew that he had to be taught to do God’s will, it would not just automatically come.

Being taught to do God’s will may mean that some doors are closed. That some paths are rough and difficult to travel.  The largest challenge is that it is not about you, it is all about God.

God is standing by waiting to show you the best way to live this life. He has been teaching for thousands of years and has a proven track record to show He knows what He is doing.

If God is your God, you need to allow Him to be your God. You need to allow Him to lead you in how to live your life. He is right there willing to teach you what to do.

Are you willing to allow Him to teach you His ways, which are the best ways?

Or will you remain stuck in failure mode doing your own thing?

Seek out God’s will for your life. Be willing to let Him teach you how to do His desire. It will be the best thing for your life.

I pray today that you will know what God’s will is for your life; that you will remain open to the teaching of God; that you will allow God to be in control of your life; and that you will do what God wants you to do.

 

Psalm 25:9 Getting Guidance

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:9

Finding guidance in just about anything is easy to find. A person can go through a bookstore and see how many self-help books there are to guide him on how to do nearly anything. Searching on U-Tube will even find more guidance on how to do many things, from how to draw a simple picture, to how to rebuild an engine on a vehicle and more.

Getting guidance on the ways of God is not so easy to find. People will search out other people to find out how God does things or how to live for God better. Christian bookstores are filled with books on how to live a Christian life and how to live for God.

All of these ways of getting guidance on the ways of God is fair, but the best source is from God Himself.

There is a method though to getting God’s guidance in His ways–a person must be humble. People like to think of themselves and being in control of their lives and always knowing what is best. It is not just the teenagers who think they know what is the best way to do something, many adults do so also.

Being humble means that you realize you cannot do it and need help. You know that you are not capable of living life correctly for God in yourself. You cannot find the self-help on your own. You need God.

Letting go of your own life and allowing God to guide you will allow God to teach you His ways. If you think and act like you know everything, God will let you go your own way. If you humble yourself and let God have control, He will guide you and teach you His ways.

God can open up your spiritual eyes as you read the Bible to see and understand how you are to live for God, but you must be willing to be taught. Do not be a know-it-all. Only God knows everything.

Allow God to teach you His ways and see what He can do in and through you.

I pray today that God will give you a hunger for His word; that you will allow God to be in control of your life; that you will humble yourself before God; and that you will hear God’s instructions on how to live for Him.

Job 28:20 Wisdom And Understanding (Part 1)

Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? Job 28:20

The author of Job starts out this chapter talking about how man can dig down into the earth and discover many different things that animals will never find. Two things cannot be found by looking for them: wisdom and understanding. Neither of these can be bought, so the question is where do they dwell? How can a person find these things?

It has been said that understanding is knowing about something, and wisdom is knowing the best way to use that understanding or knowledge that one has.

In most places in the world, people look for understanding through schooling. They go to others for information to have a better understanding on some subject. Teachers can give a lot of information about a subject, but at times that information will just go over the head of the student. Understanding the subject comes from somewhere else, besides just words from a teacher or a textbook.

Thousands of people go to college, get their degree, but cannot properly utilize what they have learned in the real world. Their information is just book knowledge. They still do not have wisdom.

In other parts of the world, people look into self-meditation to find wisdom. It is believed to be void of all feelings and study the teachings of others will bring about great wisdom.

While these things can give some insight into various subjects, there is a level of understanding and wisdom that is missed. Everything being learned is what is coming from another person. Every person is limited in his knowledge and wisdom.

People are finite. They are confined to one place, at one time, in a extremely brief period in history. In light of the entire history of the world, even someone who lives to be one hundred years old, has only been around for a short amount of time.

With this in mind, man’s information is very limited. His wisdom and understanding is very faulty at best.

True understanding and wisdom must come from somewhere else. It has to come from God. He is the only one who has been around for all eternity and knows everything perfectly.

Seek understanding and wisdom from God. Go to God to get what you need and are searching for. It will not be faulty.

I pray today that you will know God personally; that you will seek wisdom and understanding from God; and that you will not allow yourself to be led astray with faulty wisdom of this world.

Matthew 11:29-30 Light Burden

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

Yokes are not something that people talk about today. Today, farmers use tractors to plow their fields rather than a pair of oxen.

Yokes were used to keep two oxen together. When a farmer was training a younger ox, he would pair it up with an experienced ox using the yoke. This forced the younger to follow the other and learn how to pull the plow correctly.

Jesus asks you to take up His yoke if you want to learn from Him. He will take you alongside of Him and guide you in how to live life and do the will of God.

Notice that Jesus stated He is gentle and humble. He will not be a hard task-master. He will not beat you every time you make a mistake.

You may have had a boss at one time in your life that was a task-master. He would drive you very hard and insist on only perfection and beat you when you did not do right.

Jesus does demand perfection, but He will work with you to get there. He realizes that you are not perfect and need to be built up little by little.

It is easy to follow Jesus when you set your mind and heart to it. His burden is also light. You do not have to save the world or even a city. All you have to do is what God places before you, and none of that is taking away sins like Jesus did.

Notice, however, that Jesus said this would give you rest for your souls, not necessarily for your physical body. In this life you will get tired and the work may be long and hard, but your soul can rest in the fact that you are following God correctly. Jesus was tired many times when He walked on the earth, yet, it did not stop Him or slow Him down.

Trust Jesus and follow Him. Let Him train you to do God’s will. It will be worth it in the end. Compared to doing things on your own, it will be easy and light work.

I pray today that you will take up the yoke of Jesus; that you will allow Jesus to train you to walk with God; that you will do the work God has for you; and that you will plow the fields for God in order to build His kingdom.