Seeing Clearly

“The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” – Matthew 6:22-23

Generous giving brings spiritual understanding.

When people see, their body is filled with the light that comes in from the world their eyes perceive. But if their eye is dark (blind), there is no light and they perceive nothing. The eye is like a window—if a window is clean and clear, light floods the building; if a window is blacked out, no light enters. In Matthew 6:22-23Jesus is saying the heart is like the eye. If your heart is toward God, your entire spiritual being is enlightened; but if your heart is toward material things and treasures of the world, you do not see spiritually as you should.

In verse 22 the Greek word translated “clear” is from a root word that means “generous.” If your heart is generous, your whole spiritual life will be flooded with understanding. In contrast to the clear eye is the “bad” eye (v. 23). A bad or evil eye is a Jewish colloquialism used regularly in the Greek Old Testament and the New Testament to mean “grudgingly.” Proverbs 28:22 says, for example, “A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth.” If you hurry to be rich, you will be ungenerous, grudging, and selfish.

Let me simplify Matthew 6:22-23 to one statement: How you handle your money is the key to your spiritual perception. If your heart is in Heaven, you will have a generous spirit. If your treasure is on earth, you will be blind because of your greed. How total is the darkness of one who should see spiritually but is blind because of his own covetousness (v. 23)! Jesus’ call to you and me is to see clearly by devoting ourselves to Him and laying up treasure in Heaven.

Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask the Lord to help you see opportunities where you can give generously to help extend His kingdom.

For Further Study:
According to 2 Corinthians 9:6-12, what are some rewards for generosity?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,www.crossway.com.

Growing Faith

Growing Faith

2 Thessalonians 1:3-5

God’s desire is that our faith grow continuously as we walk with Him. He never intended belief to be a one-time event with a single purpose of ushering us into salvation. The older we get, the greater our trust should become. Yet I’ve met some Christians who have stayed at the same level of faith throughout life.

We need to realize that our willingness to trust the Lord affects every area of our lives—how we feel, what we do, the way He blesses us, and whether our prayers are answered. It all begins with our focus. When you face difficulties or heartbreak, do you notice only the impossibility of the circumstances, or do you see the greatness of our Father? To whose voice are you listening—the skeptical advice of others, the lies of Satan, or the Word of God?

Our focus in turn affects our emotions. Those who choose to believe what God says experience the peace and joy of knowing He has everything under His control. Because they trust Him, fewer situations bother them. But if our minds are filled with doubts, anxiety and fear rush in—then, we’re just not sure if the Lord is going to help us or not. Instead of resting in Christ, we fuss and fume, trying to anticipate all possible outcomes and solve every problem in our own strength.

I don’t think we realize how important faith is to God. He delights in us when we choose to believe Him; He will also move heaven and earth to act on our behalf and answer our prayers. By trusting Him, we’ll discover new excitement and adventure in life and find that He is always faithful.

Copyright © 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc.www.intouch.org.

Unfriended

I was “unfriended” today on Facebook! After I got over my initial reaction, a slight grin, I thought “the tactful thing to do would have been to just “mute” me”. To be clear on this, to unfriend a person means to cut them off completely, totally severing their online relationship, while muting just ignores all the posts the person males; they are essentially the same thing, one just a little more tactful.

I’m sure this wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last, time some one has decided they no longer wish to “hear” from me. But it’s the first time that I’ve ever gotten a real thought from it: How often do we “mute” the Spirit of God?

When the Holy Ghost prompts us to do some thing and we ignore Him, are we not in essence hitting our spiritual mute button? Folks often want to pick and choose just how they serve God but that isn’t how He works. Jesus said we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength; it takes total commitment and 100% yielding to truly be a child of the King.

God’s Word says that Abraham by faith was a friend of God and we sing of “what a Friend we have in Jesus”. If we are going to hear those sweet words of welcome in some day we have to be listening to His Voice now and answering obediently in faith. If we mute Him (ignore His call) it’s really the same as unfriending the true Best Friend we will ever have.

Are You Sowing to the Spirit or the Flesh?

Are You Sowing to the Spirit or the Flesh?

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7–8)

Today’s big question: are you sowing to the Spirit or the flesh?

These verses most directly refer to salvation. The unbeliever, sowing to the flesh, will reap eternal punishment, whereas the believer, sowing to the Spirit, will reap eternal life. All those who do not place their faith in Christ Jesus will reap corruption.

However, these verses do apply to our lives as well. The book of Galatians was written to believers—the churches of Galatia (Galatians 1:2). But these believers had become fleshly, foolishly believing they could perfect themselves in the flesh, despite having begun in the Spirit (Galatians 3:3). They developed a legalistic view of the law, adding works, such as circumcision, as requirements for salvation.

Many today still try to add some form of human work to God’s free gift of salvation. But we are saved by grace, through faith, and not of works (Ephesians 2:8–9).

Sadly, many others go to the opposite extreme and develop a form of licentiousness, believing they can live as they please because they have faith. Even if not committing blatant acts of sin, they live in a state of apathy, not seeking the Spirit’s leading to produce in them good works. This kind of faith is dead (James 2:20).

Rather, we are commanded, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14). Furthermore, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

This brings us back to Galatians 6:7–8 and its application to believers. Anything done in the flesh will reap corruption. Only fruit grown of the Spirit will last eternally.

Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13–15)

Many true believers will have little to show for their time on earth. We previously discussed the importance of redeeming the time, and this is the ultimate outcome if we fail to obey that command: our fleshly works will burn and reward will be lost. Don’t live a fruitless life.

Missionary C.T. Studd summarized it well in the following lines:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Today’s big idea: sow to the Spirit.

What to pray: ask God to help you produce work that endures.

Visit AnswersInGenesis.org

The Gnat vs. The Bee

From the messages of Adrian Rogers

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:25

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
James 1:23-24 paints a picture of a man in a hurry. He has a lot on his mind. He takes a casual glance at himself and rushes on. If the Bible is like a mirror, then this man is simply getting a glimpse into the Word and not really applying it to his life.

Most Christians I know today are this kind of Bible student. They are like a gnat bouncing here and there instead of being like a bee and diving in and staying long enough to extract the sweetness.

Contrastingly, the man in verse 25 gazes into the Word. This is someone who delights in God’s Word, who applies God’s Word, who cherishes God’s Word. Are you like that? Or do you take a passing glance at God’s Word and move on to the next thing on your TO DO list?

ACTION POINT:
Which sounds more like you…the passing glance or the careful gaze?