Who do you eat with?

Who do you eat with? That’s an easy question. Most of us eat with our family and occasionally close friends. These are the people we normally associate with and the people we feel comfortable with. As a Christian being comfortable seems natural when around other Christians. We like being around those who share our beliefs; Nothing wrong with that. Except Jesus often didn’t take this common route.

In Matthew 9:9-11 we see Jesus eating dinner with the absolute worst in his community. In the New testament they were referred to as sinners and tax collectors. Interesting how tax collectors had their own category. Many thought of them even worse than ordinary sinners. These people were Jews, whose job was to take money from the common people, many of whom were poor and turn it over to the government. On top of that they overtaxed and kept the difference for themselves. In this fashion they were able to accumulate great wealth.

The religiously pious of the time, the Pharisees, were critical. They did not understand the purpose of Jesus. To reach those who truly were deep in sin, He had to be with them. He had to spend time with them. They needed to see that he cared for them. The actions of Jesus were never meant to display approval. They were meant to display love.

Should Christians today seek to spend more time being with and around those that do not share their beliefs? That’s the very thing Jesus did in order to reach them. It may mean being a little uncomfortable at times. But sharing the gospel will far outweigh this sacrifice.

New things and the New Year

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

God loves to do new things. He made a new world and filled it with all kinds of living creatures. (Genesis 1) Then he decided to make unique creatures, in His image. He called them man and woman. (Genesis 1:27)Thousands of years later he saw that their descendants had become corrupt and violent. (Genesis 6:5-8) He decided to do a new thing. He wiped the world clean and started a new civilization with Noah. (Genesis 6:18)Then many years later He decided to do something new again. He called out Abram, gave him a new name Abraham, and told him to start a new nation and a new people. (Genesis 12:1-2,Genesis 17:5) We called them the chosen people. He then called Israel out of Egypt and sent them to the promise land to start a new nation and of course they had to wipe out the old civilization (Canaan) that was there. (Hosea 11:1, Joshua 3:10) The Canaanites were not very nice, they would sacrifice their children in fire and used prostitution in their religious ceremonies and had all kinds of gods. (Geneis 38:2, Deuteronomy 12:31, Psalm 106:37-38, 1 Kings 14:24) Then he started a new Davidic line of kings from a shepherd boy, of all things. (1 Samuel 16:13)That was definitely a new idea. Yet He wasn’t done doing new things.

Two thousand years ago He decided to do the newest thing of all. He sent His one and only begotten son to do away with all our sins past present and future. He would be the one great sacrifice to replace all other sacrifices. All we had to do was believe in Him and repent of our sins to be saved.(John 3:16)

Now everyone could have a new life. God was making things new everywhere and in everyone. Lots and lots of new things, glory to God! But He was not done. Jesus told his disciples that He was going to make new mansions for us to live in. Now there would be a new place in heaven, for us to live our new lives with God forever. (John14:6)

John prophesied that God was not done doing new things. He said that God was going to make a new heaven and new earth. Then He would make a new Jerusalem. It will be the greatest most beautiful city. It will be perfect in every way and it will be another new home. (Revelation 21:1-5)

If we have had any doubt before on how much God loves to do new things, well we can stop doubting! We can be sure that God wants to start something new in our lives. God is able to remove what is holding us back. He will help us overcome obstacles so that we can achieve new heights. God will give us new talents and abilities. Our Lord will bless our new missions and new ministries. He will show us new methods to take on old problems. With God we will have new and great victories in the New Year!

Read Verses for the new year

Another New Year’s article from bibleaid A new hero for the New Year

Change can be scary!

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:2,3

Fear comes to mind when we think of change.  Perhaps it comes from the unknown or just a lack of trust.  We like things the way they are, better to leave things alone.  But sometimes change is out of our control and sometimes it’s really a good thing.

Both of those scenarios were true for the Israelites.  They had been enslaved for over 400 years.  You would think they were ready for a change.  Is it possible for anyone not to realize when they are in bondage? Yes it is possible.  Sometimes we are in bondage due to ignorance, fear, laziness or just sin. One prime example of bondage is addiction.  Addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, money, attention, food, work, gaming, a person and countless other things can make a slave of you.  In some cases we may think this addiction is a good thing. That would be wrong.  A student once asked me doesn’t everyone have an addiction.  Without hesitation I answered “No!” I quickly explained just enjoying or liking something does not make it an addiction. It becomes an addiction when it controls us.  Gaming is a great example.   Who among us does not enjoy a good game, but when our relationships suffer, or we can’t hold down a job or pass our classes in school because of it, then it’s an addiction. We become slaves.

These Israelites were enslaved and many wanted to be free I am sure, but it seems like many were enjoying the security and the provision of the Egyptian.  God had other plans. Moses showed up and 10 plagues later they were free.  Freedom has its price.  They had to defend themselves and seek shelter and food among other things.  But they were free! They should have all been celebrating and loving Moses.  But instead they complained about all the “wonderful” things they had when they were slaves. Crazy! It took 40 years, but a new generation did arise ready for the change God had in mind and loving every minute of it.  That was one of Israel’s greatest generations.  They would conquer the promise land.

Are you ready for change?  Perhaps you are in bondage and don’t even know it. Are you ready for all that God wants to do in your life? We are often unaware of the opportunities God is opening up in our lives.  What we see as pain is God removing something that has to go. What we see as difficulties is simply an exercise in making us strong.  What we see as persecution is meant to just build our faith.  Those impossible situations are there just to teach us to Trust God so that we may become the warriors the Israelites became.  We too have a promise land to conquer in our lives.  But we must learn to endure the present hardships, challenges, trust God and take a brave step in Faith.  I have a feeling, things are about to change!

Try these Verses on Fear

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