Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
8If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
This was incredibly convicting for me. I mean, I think I do a good job lovin' people and all, but that example of the man in shabby clothes...I have done that. I have gone, "Whoa, check out that outfit. Wow, I think I'm just gonna stay over here." How could I do that? I claim to be a Christian yet judge people, even my brothers and sisters in Christ! Why?!?!"Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?" My prayer is to be like Christ. I want to be like Him. I know that I stand before Him in filthy filthy rags and He spreads His arms and sets me on His throne with Him.
What have those people I judge in the smallest of ways done to me? Prolly nothing. What have I done to Christ? I crucified Him. He died because of me. It doesn't measure up.
One time I tried this. It kinda worked. But I forget to do it. Every time I think something even slightly unkind about someone, I made it a point to think of three things beautiful about them, outwardly or inwardly and sometimes went as far as telling them. It helped.
Rather, or on top of, doing that, I should think of all the reasons Christ shouldn't have accepted me, but He did (PRAISE HIM!!!). Then exercise His love and acceptance toward that particular person. If God could love a wretch like me, then I, through His power, can love him/her.
I have picked up the book the Silver Chair. Book six in the Chronicles of Narnia. My dad used to read them to me when I was little but I am reading them again because they are drenched with wonderful symbolism, a lot that was a tad over my head previously.
The second chapter had incredible dialog between Aslan and Jill Pole. I am going to type some of it down for you.
Little background first. Aslan (symbolizing God for those of you who may not know) calls kids out of our world into the world of Narnia, where they face battles, tasks, challenges and all. They return to the real world completely different people. So Jill and Eustace Scrubb have just been called from England into Narnia. And Jill doesn't believe they were actually called because they were talking about how much they wanted to go when Aslan brought them there. K?
"I was wondering-I mean- couldn't there be some mistake. Because no one called me and Scrubb here you know.It was we who asked to come here. Scrubb said we were to call to-to somebody-it was a name I wouldn't know- and that perhaps the Somebody would let us in." Jill said.
"You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you." said the Lion (Aslan)
"Then you are the Somebody, sir?" said Jill.
"I am. Now hear your task....(long definition of task)..I lay on you this command, that you seek this lost prince until either you have found him and brought him back to his father's house, or else died in the attempt, or else gone back to your own world."
"How please?" asked Jill.
"I will tell you child. There are sings by which I will guide you in your quest....(gives her four very lengthy signs)..."
When the lion had finished Jill thought she should say something. So she said, "Thank you very much. I see."
"Child," Said Aslan, in a gentler voice than he had yet used, "perhaps you do not see as clearly as you think. The first step is to remember. Repeat to me in order the four signs."
Jill tried and didn't get it quite right. So the Lion corrected her and made her repeat them again and again till she could say them perfectly.
"Remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake up in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse you. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and and believe the signs. Nothing else matters. And now, daughter of Eve, farewell..."
This in my opinion is fantastic dialog because it tells me so much about what we need to focus on. The Word of God has given us signs. Signs and warnings about false prophets, signs of Christ's return, signs of our faith, signs of sin...the list is endless. As I continue to read the book, I bet I will figure out what exact signs he, the author C. S. Lewis is making an allegory of.
But in general, we need to be meditating on the Word of God all the time. I confess to you all that often I pray, "God help me not to sin." But I don't heed the Word of the Lord by staying away from the things of the world that entice me. I pray, "Lord help me to be ready for your return." But I don't listen to the Bible when He gives us signs and says "Behold, I am coming quickly."
I love what Aslan says in the last paragraph, "...Remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake up in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs."
When we lie down, wake up, eat, drink, do school, work out, take showers....whatever we do we need to be dwelling on the Lord and the Words of the Lord. Watching for signs, praying, worshiping.
Ever heard the saying, "He's so heavenly minded he's of no earthly good."? I have heard that three times within the past month. Some people had different takes on it. I can tell you right now - that's impossible. Unfortunately, twisting that into, "He's so earthly minded he's of no heavenly good" is all to true.
How many of us really really meditate on the Lord and His word? I know I don't. Not enough. Now, being heavenly minded doesn't mean that you can't hold a normal conversation because you are in heaven la la land. It means constantly meditating on the Word and working out your salvation with fear and trembling constantly because Christ's return is at hand. It means to "pray without ceasing."
I have this little note on my wall that, sadly, has been there so long I have started looking past it. It is a quote from a man that has preached at our church before, "Be preparing and readying yourself for Christ's return."
Remember the signs. Delight in them. Go over them in the night. Christ's return is at hand and we must be ready.
Well, half-way through that post I was trying to remember what my point was. Hopefully you all followed along. :)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
But, I won't be able to post for the next week because I have to finish my novel! Gr! If you think about it pray for me. I love writing but it's a tad stressful.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
We left off with the question. How can i be an example to people who don't even expect me to care?
The answer is do hard things. Yeah, I know, not really appealing. But there are going to be so may benefits. How do we do this? What are some basic steps we can take to start doing hard things in the places and situations God has put us in? What are some truths about doing hard things?
#1-Recognize your sins. Overcoming sin is one of the hardest things we can do. It takes conviction (God has to show us our particular sins [not just generally].), honesty (To admit to ourselves that God is right, we're sinners.), humility (To ask for God's and other's forgiveness.), faith (Faith that God keeps His promises and will forgive and help us.), and obedience (to learn from our mistakes and continue in Godliness.).
The number one thing we can pray for in this area is that God will make us sensitive to our sins and remove our pride. Tackle your sins, guys. Don't let them sit. They might be small things (like forcing yourself not to hyperventalate when your mom asks you to do the dishes for the 1,000,000 time) or big things (like trying to overcome the problem of lust and anger control issues.) Let me encourage you guys to do something that some amazing people have encouraged me to do: If you know that you are sinning and are having a hard time overcoming it, tell someone. Oh, I know, it stinks having to be open with people and tell them what a loser and sinner you are. But you know what? We don't live for men, we live for God. And we are commanded to exhort and encourage one another. Do hard things. ;)
But back to my point (*head bang* I really really need to stop doing that!), tackling our sins is the most important hard thing we can do. Do hard things!
#2 - Battle discouragement and complacency. Definition of discouragement. "The feeling of despair in the face of obstacles." Definition of complacency. "The feeling you have when you are satisfied with yourself. (a.k.a. pride [my words, btw])."
Don't let obstacles tear you down. I didn't take a bunch of notes during this part of the conference (My b) so I don't have a lot to say about it, BUT I have a verse (God's words are always better than mine anyhow!). James 1:2-4 2"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Because of the disappointments we face in life, God is going to teach us and mold us into a better Christian for His glory. Don't despair.
Mr. Complacency is our biggest enemy when it comes to doing hard things. Mr. C is a "good kid (see earlier post)." He goes to church, is a A+ student, handsome, can recite John 3:16, pretty good communicator...so he's a good kid. Everyone praises Mr. C with lots of compliments. "You're such a good kid!" Mr. C starts getting a puffed up attitude. "I'm better than all the other heathens that get Bs and Cs in trigonometry and haven't read a word of the Bible." Mr. C lets himself slide. Hey, as long as he is doing better than everyone else, he's fine.
See the problem? This is a recipe for mediocrity. If our only goal in life is to be bigger than the next fish, we are cutting ourselves short! Mr. C is passive. He just lets himself do enough to be better. God calls us to so much more than this!
Doing hard things pushes us against complacency. Don't do the things that are hard for your friends so that you look good, do the things that are hard for you! Do things that are going to force you to break a sweat and gain some muscle. Do things that are going to force you to be more than you are! We cannot be content with the status we have reached and expect to grow or accomplish anything.
When people praise you, we need to think with out pride (1 Corinthians 4:7), "That was nothing! Watch this!" Then push to achieve something bigger and better. Not to be recognized, but to make much of the name of Christ. Do hard things!
#3 - Do more than is required. In the old days (I don't know when, sorry) people used to pray that God would deliver them from the Vikings! They were strangely successful. They would come with force and intensity that no one could match and out-do.
The only reason we can figure this out is that the vikings rowed their own war ships. Conclusion: These guys were seriously ripped. When they swung an ax at their enemies it wouldn't matter if they held a shield. Other ships had servants or someone else rowing the boats so they didn't have to do the work.
We can learn a lesson from these guys. Don't let other people do the heavy duty work for you. We need to develop our muscles. Spiritually, physically, and mentally. We can do that by going the extra mile. Matthew 5:41 "If someone forces you to walk with him one mile, go with him two."
Instead of doing the bare minimum in math homework do the extra problems and develop muscle. Do hard things!
#4 - Get over the fear of failure. Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly...at first. Then failing, and trying again. Then failing and trying again. Then failing and trying again.Then failing and trying again. Then failing and trying again.You get the point!
Brett gave us this example. It's like someone who isn't the strongest trying to do a hundred push-ups against someone who could do a hundred no sweat. The weaker one pushes and pushes, but fails in the end.The person who can do it no problem-o does it in a few minutes. Who got the better work out? The one that pushed to failure. Just because you fail at something doesn't mean it's no good! You are doing hard things. Push to failure if you have to. Don't do only the things that will be easy. How will you grow? Do hard things!
#5 - Focus on the small things. You don't have to organize a political campaign to do something hard. Just do the small things God has put in your path to do. Quote-that-I-don't-remember-who-quoted-it-my-bad: "If someone is a street sweeper, they should sweep streets like Michelangelo paints!" Embrace small things. Do them with excellency. Ecclesiastes 9:10 "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." For the Glory of God! Do we think God doesn't look on us with favor because we aren't moving mountains or changing the world? No, He is pleased when we serve Him with excellence in anything we do. Fold the laundry every day? Fold it like Jesus served His Father in heaven. With excellency. To make more of His Father and less of himself. Do hard things!
#6 - It's your best life. People won't experience the joy of TRUE Christianity until they throw themselves head-first into serving God with every ounce of strength they have. Do hard things!
To finish off. In the last post, I told you all about a kid named George. Remember? That George grew up to be the first President of the United States. "Well," you say, "He was the president. He was supposed to do hard things as a kid. That's expected for people like that, not people like me."
President Washington grew up to be who he was because of how we applied himself as a teen. He pushed for excellency. He knew he had to develop muscles. And look what it did for him. It can do the same for us too. And the objective isn't to be the President. Well, maybe it is for you, but not for all of us. The real reason we need to do hard things is for the glory of God. Remember the words of John the baptist. John 3:30 "More of You and less of me." Doing hard things is good, but if it isn't for Christ there is absolutely no point.
1 Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
Instead of saying, "These are the best years of our lives, have fun while ya can." say "These are the best, most influential and shaping years of our lives, let's use them to work and mold us into the person we will be - to the glory of our Father, Jesus Christ."
Some of you may know that the Harris twins, Brett and Alex founded the Rebelution. The Rebelution is a teenage movement/idea that is about rebelling against the low expectations of teenagers. The Harris' came to Nashville and did a conference for teens about doing hard things for the glory of God. I was there. It was good. :D
I've already read Do Hard Things the book. The conference was just a shorter version of it, but still so very inspiring. (Btw, visit their website or read the book. It'll will tell you how Alex and Brett were vessels in the Lord's hands to starting this movement, and what we can do to be a part of it.)
Once again, I am going to condense all the notes I took into an understandably-helpful-I-doubt-it piece of writing. L0l.
In today's world, it's easy to be considered a 'good' kid. We make our beds in the morning, eat good, have good hygiene, smile now-and-then, and won't settle for grades lower than 70% and everyone calls us a good kid....We'll come back to this...
What is a teenager exactly? Well, the first time the word teenager was used was in Readers Digest in 1941. Our culture hasn't always had teenagers. It used to be just adults and children. This is what brings us to the myth of adolescence. People have developed this mind set that when you are a teenager or young adult that it is your time to party and have fun until 'real life' begins. Therefore people have started expecting less and less of teenagers. In fact, they expect us to have pre-marital sex, do drugs and drink, and be disrespectful. It's expected of us. Unfortunately, it's our reputation.
It wasn't always like this...
There once was a kid named George. At age twelve George fought in the war of 1812. After a victorious battle in that war he was commanded captain over a ship that he was to direct safely home. George was twelve.
Why is this so unbelievable? Why do we say, "Oh! Man! That's insane!" Is it because we have twelve year olds in our life that can't sweep the kitchen properly (Or worse, are we an 14, 15, 19, 25 year old that can't sweep the kitchen properly?)?
Rewinding a little bit; it used to be children and adults. Now it's children, teenagers and adults. So, guess what happened? All of a sudden there is this group of people that demands entertainment. We aren't children but we aren't expected to be adults yet. We've all heard this, "These are the best years of our lives. Just have fun while you can." Now we have a culture that revolves around teens. Style, movies, food, games....
The elephant proves a wonderful example for this. Elephants are HUGE, STRONG creatures. They pull trees out of the ground. Annually in some-other-country-I-can't-remember-where they have tug of war contests with elephants. Elephant versus 100 able men. Guess what? The elephant wins every time.
"I've always wondered what they did with these creatures at night." Alex said, "Nothing could hold them back, if they got an urge to go visit an Uncle." He then told us that the people who keep elephants for labor found an easy way to do it. With a wooden post and twine. HUH? When the elephants are little, they bind their right hind leg to a tree with a strong chain. The little elephants will tug and tug, trying to get away from the tree until that chain cuts their flesh. Sometimes right to the bone. Over time, the little elephants just stop trying to get away and accept the fact that they cannot move. So eventually, they could replace the tree with a wooden pole and the chain with a rope. Once those babies are grown up, they will stop doing anything the moment they feel the slightest tug on their right hind leg. Their bodies weren't shackled. Their minds were shackled.
This is the myth of adolescence. We are expected not to do things. So we drop to the expectations people hold for us. So our minds are shackled by nothing more than a wooden post and rope.
1 Timothy 4:12 "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
"Let no one despise your youth..." We need to rebel against the low expectations people have of us. I don't know about you guys but I have heard people talk smack about teens and it is heart-wrenching! We used to be respected persons in the USA. We used to be people that would use our brains and steer our culture for the better. Let no one despise your youth! We are still capable of those types of things.
"But be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity..." It doesn't end at "Don't let people despise your youth." But be an example. How do we do that? How should we be examples in a world where people don't expect us to care? By doing hard things.
Continued in the following addition.
Friday, August 13, 2010
The other day I heard an INCREDIBLE sermon by Paul Washer. If you can please please please listen to it. It encouraged me so much. I'll put the link to it right here. http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=62706235611 It's a long one so make sure you have about two hours. :)
I am going to highlight a few of his points though.
Brother Paul's message was from Song of Solomon 4:7-6:2
4:7 "You are altogether beautiful my darling and their is no blemish in you." This is the bridegroom speaking to the bride. Christ speaking to us. To me. To you.
See how Christ looks at you. Beautiful and perfect. Why? Why does someone as holy as God look at me and say, "You're beautiful?" We are beautiful to Him because His blood covered the multitude of our sins.
v.8 "Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, may you come with me from Lebanon, journey down from the summit of Amana, from the summit of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards."
"Come with me from Lebanon, my bride" Jesus wants to retreat with us. He wants us to be with Him. "The Christian life is more about retreating with Christ than marching on to war." Sometimes we need to just STOP DOING so much. Deeds tend to be for our own honor and glory. Real love for Jesus Christ is retreating to just be with Him. If we do this, the rest will fall in place.
"from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards" Jesus calls us away from the dangerous places. He says, "Come down from there! you're going to be hurt! Come, retreat with Me." Dangerous places-places that will tempt us to sin and pull our hearts away from our Father.
We say, "I am ready to live for Christ and be on fire for Him." But we don't come down from the dangerous places. We don't remove temptation and sin from our lives. Giving our lives to Christ requires this.
Jesus says, "Come down."
v.9 "You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, with a single strand of your necklace." The Bridegroom tells us that His heart beats faster with one glance of our eyes towards heaven. We have no motivation to pray?
Christians fall into thinking that Christ loves us because we read our Bibles or because we visit the homeless shelter. That is not why Christ loves us. Praise God it isn't though because I have done nothing to earn His love. Christ loves us because of a work HE DID in us.
If God is of the most value and worth and He is the most holy it would be condescending for Him to take His eyes off Himself and look at any other thing. "How can He look at us?" He can look at us because of what He has done in us and the fact that His blood has covered the multitude of our sins.
v.10 "How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than all kinds of spices!" Think about being in the presence of God. That is such an unspeakable gift. Something we cannot describe with words. And here God is saying the same thing about our presence and our love. God doesn't just tolerate us!
v.11 "Your lips, my bride, drip honey; Honey and milk are under your tongue..." He longs to hear your voice.
Question: Can we just be with God? People say that true friendship/love is when you can just be with each other and not have to say anything. Just being together is good enough. Can we be like that with the Lord? I know that I for one get caught up in....Bible reading? Check. Book reading? Check. Worship? Check. Prayer? Check...But where is the just being with Christ and just marveling in His presence? And waiting on Him? We are moving more toward a work based religion than we think.
v. 12 "A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a rock garden locked, a spring sealed up." We are to be a garden sealed up. The church must be sealed and not give ourselves away to harlotry and idolatry.
The garden of our life should be about cultivating Christ-likeness rather than good works. We are to be fruitful but we don't have to be busy. Paul Washer told us, "Some of the most fruitful times of my life were the easiest. You don't see apple trees groaning and pushing to make fruit grow."
Brother Paul gives a testimony of times when he was in the jungles of Peru that Christian families down there who practically don't have anything would give him the best food they had. Some times it would be chicken or a boiled snail. Brother Paul would eat it and say, "Can I have some more?" Not because the food was good, he prayed to God to help Him swallow, but because it came from them.
v. 16 16"Awake, O north wind, and come, wind of the south; Make my garden breathe out fragrance, let its spices be wafted abroad may my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits!" All we have to offer to God is boiled snails and scrawny pieces of chicken. He takes it because it's from us. Out of all the gardens he is going to come to ours and visit ours. Why? Cause is spectacular? No, because its yours. It's mine.
The bridegroom come for the bride.
5:2-3 "I was asleep but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking:'Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my perfect one! For my head is drenched with dew,my locks with the damp of the night.' "I have taken off my dress, how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet, how can I dirty them again?
The Bridegroom came for the bride and called to her. Jesus calls us but we are too tired to get out of bed. God loves us soooo much, He is wounded when we respond to His calling with, "I'm too tired. I work hard."
"When love becomes common place it becomes a very cold place. It's not His love that has changed, but our hearts. Is He not beautiful to us anymore?"
Then the bride has a change of heart.
v.6 "I opened for my beloved but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him but I couldn't find him; I called, but he gave no answer."
The Jesus doesn't leave us because He is upset or self-centered. He does it for our good. Sometimes we have to be without something before we realize it's value.
The Daughters of Jerusalem say to the bride.
v. 9 "What kind of beloved is your beloved, O most beautiful among women? What kind of beloved is your beloved, that thus you adjure us?" Can the world say this about the church? Do they see such a passion in us for God that they can say, "Who is this God? This beloved? We will help you search for Him!"
I hope this all made a little since. I was trying to make something out of my notes. And this is how it turned out. Lol.
Seriously though. Jesus longs for us to just be with Him. We need to stop selling ourselves to other things. THIS is an intimate relationship with the Lord. I think about Jesus in His ministry on earth. People were looking for Jesus. Where was He? He slipped away to pray. He slipped away to be with His Father. Retreat with the Lord you guys. Lay aside all the cares of life, all your hobbies, all your friends and just be undistracted with the Lord.
This is love.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
My family and I have made it a habit to pray together every night, and we have been doing so for a few weeks now, and it has really strengthened me and has helped me grow closer to God, and my family, so let me ask you this. Do you pray with your family on a regular basis? Do you pray with someone? I tell you that praying with other Christians is a very healthy thing, and it's a very Biblical thing. Personal prayer is also important. Since I've been praying with my family it has been a lot easier to pray by myself more often. It veers my thoughts toward God more than it used to veer toward what I wanted to do or something. It's been great!
So if you don't pray with anyone often, I encourage you to start, because you never know what blessing you are going to get out of it! =]
Monday, August 9, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
It has rained for days and days,
With no sight of sun’s rays.
The drops crash on the ground
Flooding everything around.
Running straight into the creeks,
Into every crack it leaks.
Swelling every river and lake
And the ground begins to break.
Eroding with the gushing stream
Their mighty waves are extreme.
Houses are being washed away,
Firm ground has turned to clay,
Thousands of people without power,
Tell me we’re near the end of this shower.
For slabs of concrete are ripped apart,
The amount of rain is off the charts.
Portable buildings float down I-24
While the rain continues to pour.
Families have lost loved ones,
When will this all be done?
Lord, we know you’ve planned it this way,
You knew we’d be flooded the second of May.
I remember your promise to Moses that day,
“Never again will I flood the earth,” You say.
So you hung a rainbow in the sky.
Something we remember your promise by.
One day the earth’ll be destroyed again.
Date and time we can’t know when.
Earth will be destroyed by flame
By the power of your holy name.
But I am not scared of this thing,
Because at your feet I will sing.
“Holy, holy, holy
Are you Lord God Almighty.”
A new heaven and earth you will create,
Where worshipping you is my fate.
I look forward to that day
Where safely at your feet I’ll lay.
Lord, when scary things like floods arise,
Remind me that you’re all-knowing and wise.
Hang a rainbow in the sky.
On your promises I can rely.
Friday, August 6, 2010
I can't imagine ever starving myself because I would rather do other things than eat. That is absurd. Who would do that? "Oh yeah, I want to finish this book so I won't eat until I am finished with this 700 page-er."
I realized that I do that to myself spiritually. I can make time for the physical needs in my life. Eating, hygiene and stuff, but I let my spiritual state slide. I let myself spiritually starve.
The chapter in the Bible where they talk about Jesus being the Bread is John 6. In John 6 is also the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000. I was kinda amazed at what the Bible said about this. After Jesus feed them He went across the sea and the people followed Him.Check this out...
John 6:26-27 "Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
We are just like that, worrying about the things for our physical state when God clearly tells us not to labor for that stuff.
It makes me think of the Israelites. I believe that the manna appearing on the ground early, with the dew of the morning is a picture of how God is our daily sustenance.
Manna would appear on the ground in the morning and they would have to rise early and go gather it. They could only collect what they needed for that day. If they collected more than that, it would rot.
Isn't that how it is for our devotionals every day? We have to rise early and seek Him, because He will empower us for the day. And having devotionals Monday morning won't last us 'till Wednesday. It has to be a daily effort.
Just my random thoughts. Hope they were understandable.
To close: Psalm 63:1 1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you,my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water."
I had a really stupid attitude. For-real. I realize that the Lord can teach me in any situation I am in, but I had a cocky attitude at the beginning of the week that the Lord promptly blew to pieces on Tuesday.
I figured since I had been at a special needs camp before, that I had basically learned what I could from summer camps....(Soooooooo stupid. I know! I had no reason to act like that. Yeah, I learned at Camp Barnabas, but not that much! My ridiculous pride...)
It was a good reminder that the more I think I know, the farther off I am. God can move in our lives at any time and just because we have been through something harder before doesn't mean that He can't teach us in the seemingly easier things.
Now that I told you about my stupid attitude, I am going to tell you what the theme for the week was.
The "I AM's" of Christ. We were in the gospel of John all week. Exciting for me, 'cause that is my favorite book of the Bible.
We talked about Jesus being the..
Bread of Life
Light of the World
Resurrection and Life
The Good Shepherd
Packed week, I know. After the week I had a song going on in my head all week. "You Are" by Tenth Avenue North. I'm posting the lyrics.
Lord of empty space
You breathe and then create
Before the earth was made
The King of every age
Outside of time and space
The heavens speak Your name
Lord of brilliant light
You separate the night
And everything inside
The One who calms the seas
And every part of me
With just a word You speak
I give You all of me for all You are
Here I am
Take me apart
Take me apart
I give You all of me for all You are
Here I am
Take me apart
Take me apart
Angels bowing down
Beneath the rushing sound
A voice that thunders out
The one who holds the stars
And the beating of my heart
Exalted above all
Yeah, that is all I got for now. I am thinking that I might go through some specific things we talked about in a separate post.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
I felt convicted yesterday because of this. How often do we get careless with our mouths and don't watch what we say? Sometimes it's too often for me. God is already helping me with this. Thank you Jesus! :) I apologize to you if I have ever said something foolish or coarse or obscene. There shouldn't be any of that among Christian brethren. That's all I have to say for now. Shalom y'all...
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
I'm a Christian, a real one, so my title may seem a little anti-Christian because it sounds like I'm making fun of Christians or mocking them. I am in no way mocking my brothers and sisters in Christ at all! But the Lord has been revealing something to me lately. Probably the biggest thing I have ever come to realize since being in fellowship with Jesus Christ.
So many times, whether it be from my past experience with God, or with my family and friends, we Christians seem to be very focused on what is wrong with us and why we aren't doing the things the disciples did in the New Testament or walking in close fellowship with the Lord. Well, either the answer is you are not saved, or you don't trust God, or you aren't walking close with Him, or you focus too much on the problem instead of the one who solves the problem. The last one is what I'm going to blog about.
A big thing that's been going on with several of my friends is why God isn't answering their prayers or helping them out. I hope you are saved and have forgiven everyone, because those are the first steps, but some of you have done those things. I speak from experience when I say that when you focus too much on a sin, or on a problem, and keep praying and praying for a problem to overcome or a sin to kill, what good is it doing if that's all you are focusing on and not focusing on the One who saves you from this?
I mean, really? I used to read things and watch things that wouldn't bother me, or I would try to beat certain things and not do certain stuff, and every time I would pray and ask God to help me with it, then I would go right back to focusing on beating it, and yet it would beat me. Every single time this happened. It frustrated me more than anything!
Well, after God delivered me from my 7 years of depression and anger and hate and unforgiveness, he slowly began to reveal to me that I focused too much on what I was wanting to beat, and what I wanted God to do, that I took the focus off of the One who saves and delivers and put the focus on the problem itself. It wasn't until I put my complete focus back on GOD, and trusted in GOD, and had faith in GOD and GOD alone, that those things were gone too!
I didn't even realize those things anymore! I didn't even realize I stopped doing those things! The Lord would show me that the movies and shows I watched were not right, and that some things I have read were not right, and I got rid of them as fast as I could! The more I devoted my attention and mind to God alone, the more He consumed my life and the more the sins and problems became gone! It's like I never did those things in my life, nor do I have the desire to want to do them!
I know some of my friends struggle, and if you are reading this, I want to urge you to focus on Jesus, and Jesus alone, because when He becomes the center of your life, He will change you. He will change you if that's what you want. He will save you from your problems and he will deliver you from those addictive sins and nasty habits! Seriously, Jesus alone is the answer to everything. It's all about Jesus!
Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God;" Just be still. Rest in Jesus, and know that he is the One who saved you, and He is the One who will continue to save you, and deliver you, and draw you closer to Him. Christianity is about your relationship with Jesus Christ. It's about abiding in Jesus and His love. It's about God!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Let's get started. I'm a simple guy, in a simple world, created by awesome God. Sure, there is lots of stuff it could do without, such as the taint of sin and whatnot, but even that is for God's greater purpose. I go to a First Baptist Church. Do I believe everything the church teaches? No. I believe everything the Bible teaches. Simple as that!
The whole denominational issue is just silly to me. It seems like there is prejudice against other churches who don't believe the same as you do. Now, I'm not saying all churches are like this. There are many churches who welcome all Christian believers, no matter what religion. One thought that goes through my mind though is, did Jesus intend for his children to split off in so many different groups?
As for other churches, I think they get so caught up in tradition that Jesus no longer matters as much as their tradition. They get caught up in the whole schedule and praising him to where it's no longer true worship but just something you do. They talk about God so much, but their lives do not say that they are a Christian. They are far from God. They sometimes even ignore what God commands of his children! There is a passage of Scripture where Jesus basically tells off the Pharisees who got onto them about eating with "unclean hands".
Mark 7: 5-9
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?" He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."
And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!
That's some pretty awesome stuff, but it can also be very convicting. Those are just some of my thoughts. this could also tie into how the church is dying and growing cold. There is also a really good sermon about the fake Christianity today that you should watch.
It's an hour long, so brace yourself!