Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Hello readers! I apologize for my one week absence in posting. I could give a myriad of excuses but I will simply leave it at the apology.


I would say the majority of individuals define stubbornness as something like: the trait of being difficult to handle or overcome. Now, this definition is absolutely true, but my contention is this: we ALWAYS equate stubbornness to a bad concept when it is not always bad.

Let's look at some other definitions that are equally as valid as the first one:

Dictionary.com - "unreasonably obstinate; obstinately unmoving: a stubborn child. "

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: "unreasonably or perversely unyielding"

These are the initial definitions we all think of, and the ones first presented in any dictionary. However, there are other definitions in the same sources! Definitions that we far too often forget:

"Fixed or set in purpose or opinion; resolute."

"Justifiably unyielding: Resolute."

You'll notice these definitions are put more in a positive light. We continually push stubbornness as a negative trait when often times it is not. Consider this: What if our forefathers had not be "stubborn" in fighting for freedom? What if Martin Luther had not been "stubborn" in his religious views? What if Gutenberg had not been "stubborn" in believing all people should be able to read the Bible?

I won't waste your time by discussing how improper stubbornness is destructive and annoying because you already know that. So let's talk about how often we refuse to be "justifiably stubborn".

For example: an Atheist walks up to me and says, "Hey there! God doesn't exist, you shouldn't believe in Him, it's all a joke, you should give it up and stop believing in Him."

Me: "Oh gosh. I bet you're right! I guess it is pretty silly to believe. Sure, I'll give up on Christianity."

NO! Why would I do that? That doesn't make ANY sense. I have every right to be "stubborn" in my view-point and beliefs. Just as I would expect a staunch atheist to not simply give up all of his views and become a Christian just because I tell him he should. Sure, he is wrong in his beliefs, but he would see me as wrong in mine as well. My point is this: as Christian we should be stubborn. We should stand our ground and be "Justifiably unyielding", for if we are not then we are Luke-warm (or worse) Christians.

I urge you to consider this principle. Yes, refrain from wrongful stubbornness, but never forget that there are two distinct definitions of stubbornness. Don't give up on your beliefs and faith. As a Christian you are on the right side and many will try to sway you against it, be stubborn! Stand your ground.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

Persevering; persisting; steady; constant; as stubborn attention. Hardy; firm; enduring without complaint; as stubborn Stoics (A person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining). Refractory; not easily melted or worked; as a stubborn ore or metal.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hiding, but not Hidden

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”
Psalm 139:7-12

In today’s post I would like to build off a quote I heard this Sunday from a pastor Brad McMurray. He made the profound statement:

“You can hide IN God. But you can’t hide FROM God.”

This is absolutely true and I would like to prove it through scripture. We will begin by looking at the former half of this quote. “You can’t hide from God.” I believe that this is really important to study and look into for a couple of reasons. First of all, we like to think we can get away with participating in wrongful actions that no one else will know about. Second, when we feel under attack, lost, desperately in need, the One we should turn is God because we can and should hide in God.

Let’s look at this through Scripture. We already saw clearly in the opening verses (Psalm 139:7-12) that there is no where we can ride to escape from God. It is quite literally impossible. This is expressed in a couple of different ways throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testament.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Hebrews 4:12-13

These verses dive further into the idea that we cannot hide from God. The author states that not only can we not hide from God, but all creatures are not hidden. From the fish to the birds to us humans, nothing can run from His sight.

"Am I a God at hand, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth?”(Paraphrased)
Jeremiah 23:24

The reason I chose this final verse for this point is because it is God speaking. We’ve heard from the Psalmist in the Old Testament, we’ve heard from the unknown New Testament author of Hebrews, but what greater source to turn to then God Himself? He asks a hypothetical question where the obvious answer is: NO. A man cannot hide himself so that God cannot see him.

With all of this in mind I would like to turn the tables and look at the former half of Mr. McMurray’s observation. “We can hide in God.” The Psalmist loves to accept this fact and prove it as his life gets in danger. He feels threatened by armies, people, even the world, but he expresses his firm belief in the fact that he has God to turn to and truly hide in.
“Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.”
Psalm 17:7-9

Here we see the analogy of hiding in the wings of the Father. Just as a little chick when in danger runs and hides in the protective wings of his mother, so we should run and hide in the shelter of our Father’s wings.

“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.”
Psalm 27:4-5

This final passage really wraps up the beauty of what God will do for us in time of need. King David gives some examples here once again beginning with the idea of hiding in the wings of God. He uses three different examples:

One, God will hide Him in His shelter. This could be conveyed as the wings of protection. God will keep you safe in His shelter.

Two, God will conceal us under the cover of His tent. We could think of maybe rain fall coming down and the tent being the protection from that trouble.

Finally, three, God will lift us up on a high rock. I would posit in King David’s time if there was a wild beast pursuing him he would seek a high rock to climb on to get away from the attacker. In the same way when in times of attack or trouble God will lift you up and keep you safe.

I encourage you to remember this important idea: we can hide in God, but cannot hide from God. We should live our lives based on this fact and understand nothing is hidden from Him, and in times of trouble we must turn to Him for safety.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wisdom & Knowledge

For this post this week I chose to not write two posts (one on Sunday and one today) but rather take the time to write a longer, more in depth post on one topic. I hope you enjoy the words below and I pray they shed some light on the topic of Wisdom and Knowledge. I would love to hear your thoughts!


The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.

The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.

All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.

I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.

I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.

I said in my heart, "I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge."

And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

-- Ecclesiastes 1:1-18 --

As I read this chapter written by the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, it throws my mind into a twilight-zone where I wonder what the purpose of any of the learning I have endured has for my future. Pre-school, grade-school, middle-school, junior high, high school… Is it all really “vanity”? The final sentence of this chapter is what hits me the hardest. If wisdom is vexation, and knowledge increases sorrow, then why on earth would I ever want to learn more?

What further causes me trouble is when I look to Proverbs and find such verses as these:

Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 17:24 – “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

Proverbs 28:26 – “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.”

According to Solomon knowledge is sorrow and wisdom is vexation. Yet, according to the Proverbs the fool despises these things. Once again, why would a fool despise something foolish? Or, why would something that Godly people must seek be so bad in Solomon’s mind?

As I pondered these questions I think I have come to a somewhat reasonable conclusion. I would like to tie this into my post from last week regarding the evils of the world and us not worrying about them. I would posit that son of David is seeing the evils of the world and seeing how crooked and perverse it is and because of this he sees somewhat of an irony in trying to gain wisdom. The world is foolish and everything in it, what actual wisdom can there be? Quite honestly, this isn’t all that unreasonable of a thought process.

Because this is still a confusing conclusion however, I decided to read the 2nd chapter of Ecclesiastes to see if I might find more answers. I absolutely did. The 2nd chapter we see Solomon gives himself all of the pleasures of the world. He felt that wisdom and knowledge were useless in the world and decided to check out the life-style of the world. It is almost as if he tried to perform a research study to try out the different ways of life:


I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself." But behold, this also was vanity.

I said of laughter, "It is mad," and of pleasure, "What use is it?"

I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.

I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem.

I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.

Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done.

Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.
The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them.

Then I said in my heart, "What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?" And I said in my heart that this also is vanity.

For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool!

So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.

So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun?

For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

-- Ecclesiastes 2:1-26 --

After reading this second chapter it finally dawned on me that Solomon truly was the wisest man who ever lived. If you take a minute to think about this fact it should strike you as a key part of answering the question why Solomon feels the way he does about wisdom.

1st Kings 3:7-12 – “’Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?’

“The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.’”

God quite literally granted Solomon wisdom that surpassed anyone living in his day and surpassed the wisdom of anyone who would ever be born after. Consider that for a moment. Imagine being wiser than anyone else on the entire planet. How would life be knowing you knew better than everyone around you and there was no hope for them ever coming close to the wisdom you have. How would life look? Well, Solomon puts it best in these two chapters of Ecclesiastes. It was a living hell.

However, the conclusion that Solomon offers sheds light on the final truth we should hold on to. The truth that gives us hope to live and continue trusting God.

“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?”

You can be the wisest man to ever live, you can have knowledge and wisdom that far surpasses the world but in the end it is all from the hand of God. And apart from God we cannot have anything. Vanity may be vanity, and the world may be despicable, but all that truly matters in the end is that we believe in and live for God. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Do Not Worry

Often I look at the world and see that virtue and integrity has vanished. There are so many people living in the world that haven’t a care for God, the Bible or even Christianity at all. I see this horror and wonder when the end of the world will come because there seems to be no righteousness remaining. But as I read Psalm 12 today it dawned on me that the world I live in is nothing new at all.

Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

It is quite obvious that long, long ago the world was just as wicked as I see it today. King David has the same idea of the world as I do. And as I kept reading his Psalm I noticed that he had the same conclusion as I as well. He sought for the Lord to solve the situation because it rested so heavily on his heart. In addition to this David sought safety from the evil. He didn’t want to live among those who did not serve and love God, he wanted to be saved from world and live with Christ.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

I posit this, no matter how evil the world may seem, we still have God on our side. We have God who will keep us safe, will guard us, and will always be there for us. I think rather than worrying as I have about the generation, and fearing our almost certain demise, I should seek the truth. I should try to speak truth in love to all those around me. What does worrying do to solve the problem?

I believe that King David’s response was perfectly accurate. Yes, fear the problem, but no, do not fear the solution. Understand that God is there, God has the situation under control, and it is our responsibility to do our part to save our generation.

Let’s conclude with a passage from Matthew that I find applicable. In the same way that we shouldn’t worry about the present generation’s unbelief, we should not worry about the common staples of life. Worrying is simply something we should not do.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:25-34

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Fall term for me. All of my students are back in the studio and ready to begin lessons again, the speech and debate classes I will be coaching are starting up for the competitive season. School has begun. The difference between this week this year, and this week last year, is that last year I was the student. I was looking to my teachers to counsel and guide me, looking for help for all the problems I could not solve on my own.

 As I was pondering this idea today I was hit with the most terrifying realization. I am absolutely not fit to be leading my peers. I am young, I have so much more to learn, indeed I am in many ways just as ignorant as those I am suppose to be coaching this year. And yet, even with this, it is still my duty (And certainly my honor) to lead them.

But this got me thinking further. How am I going to teach this year? How is my coaching going to affect the lives of those I lead? Will I have wisdom and understanding or will I fail? God is the answer to these questions. We all know the verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13). Here is the simple truth: This year will NOT work on my own strength. I will not lead properly, I will not speak wisdom into those who need it, I will not be able to accomplish anything apart from God, His strength, and His wisdom.

So I read Proverbs 9 in the hopes that God would teach me something. That I would glean something that I can use to increase my wisdom to be a better teacher. And wouldn't you know? This is what it says...

Proverbs 9:7-8 "Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you."

A couple of thoughts:

1) I do NOT want abuse. Who does? I do not want injury. So I should simply leave any trouble-makers alone and only focus on the "good" people. No. False. I believe these verses are speaking specifically to me in the position I am in today. The leader. God will be teaching me this year. God will be showing me what to say and do in certain situations, and God will reprove me for my wrong actions. I must make sure to guard my heart and not turn and be the scoffer. In the same way as I would not like a student to talk back to me, I must not talk back to God.

2) I would posit that one of the first baby steps to being Wise is in verse 8. If God reproves me, corrects me, tells me of a fault, and I love Him, I am beginning to gain wisdom. If my knee jerk reaction to God's correction is anger, then I obviously have a lot to work on.

Now, all of this is quite pointed to me, but I would say that certainly some of you out there are, or will be struggling with this topic. You must know you are absolutely not alone. But furthermore, I need your help. If I am to be an effective leader I must be willing to listen. I must be willing to take correction and have a humble attitude. As I move into this new stage of life, this time where I move from student to teacher, I would ask for your help to encourage me, correct me when I go astray, and help me keep on the right path.

Aside from God we are nothing. At the same time, aside from strong, Godly discipleship we become weak and stray. Let us band together to encourage and love one another as we take on this next year. God is always on our side, and we should fight together just as Christ fights for us. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

School Begins

Today is the first official day of school. Whether homeschooled, public schooled, or private schooled, this marks the beginning of the school year. Granted, some of you are not starting yet, some have already, but it's safe to say that the school year is well under way. In this post I would just like to offer up some thoughts (feel free to pass it around if you deem it worthy) about school, the year, and hopefully a little encouragement.

So far I have seen one person be incredibly excited about school. He literally has been screaming  he's so excited. But the other 99% of those I have spoken with seem either 1) Apathetic, 2) Scared or 3) Downright Angry. Because of this it is somewhat fitting that the Psalm of the day is Psalm 5:

Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. 
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. 
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. 
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. 
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. 
You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. (1-6)

Some of you may take these verses and definitely nod your head at the groaning, certainly agree with the "cry" and the "pray". Life is about to get a lot worse in your opinion and you're simply bracing yourself for impact. You may even see the teachers in your life as evildoers and are wishing for God to smite them down and put you back to the beginning of summer again! Ok... maybe not, but you get my point.

However, I would like to use the second half of this Psalm as an encouragement to you. This year can be great. This next semester can be life-changing. If you choose to, you could make this year be the one where you learn more scholastic knowledge as well as more about God than you ever have before!

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. 
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. 
For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. 
Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you. 
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. 
For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield. (7-12)

Take this school year with excitement. Take it with the understanding that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Pray to God, seek God to get you through the hard times. Let's talk about those people who are inevitably going to be the thorns in your side this year. Those people who will annoy you, upset you, or constantly bother you. What will your reaction be to them? How will you treat them? You are called to treat them with love and respect, to honor them, and not be angry with them. A very hard task to accomplish, but you should at least try, right?

Then take the words from the Psalm, if there are unrighteous people around you, if there are foolish people around you, if there are those who are doing things that you think shouldn't be done, don't take condemnation upon yourself, don't take judging into your own hands. Take the words of the Psalm to heart: Make THEM bear their own guilt. Let THEM fall by their own counsels. There will be many who speak lies, who deceive, and that isn't your problem. It is only your problem if you are one of them. Let God take care of them, and you focus on the straight and narrow.

My final exhortation is one word that I think would behoove you to keep in the back of your mind: Focus.
Focus this year. Focus on your work, learning, and then at the end of the day (or weekend) when all of your work is done, have some fun! Party! But when working, just focus. You'll get so much farther in life if you concentrate on learning in the present.

You can do it!

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Our God

During worship yesterday at Church we sang the song Our God by Chris Tomlin. Definitely up there in my favorites for worship songs. But the chorus got me thinking about something.

"Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!"

It reads that God is higher than any other. Any other god. And as I pondered this I remembered back to the days when I studied Greek and Roman mythology and all of their gods. In this post today I would like to look at one of the Greek gods and three goddesses and compare and contrast them to the One True God.

Zeus had his golden throne on the highest summit of Mount Olympus and was respected and awed by all gods and mortals. He was the "Lord of Justice", punishing anyone who lied or broke an oath, but was fair and always striving to keep a balance of all things.

Furthermore, Zeus was responsible for the weather and was shaping it according to his temper. When in high spirits, Zeus was blessing the world with fine weather; in case of bad mood, however, he would throw rain, winds, lightning and thunderbolts to cause disaster to the mortals.

But even Zeus' powers had their limits, for, however powerful as he was, he had neither the right nor the ability to intervene in the decisions of the Fates.

What does God have to offer against such a powerful god?

Psalm 33:5 
The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Mark 4: 37-41
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Jeremiah 23:29
Does not my word burn like fire?" says the LORD. "Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?

Now, I don't see anywhere in the Bible where it says God has a limit. Zeus cannot intervene in the decisions of the Fates. What are the Fates?

The three Fates in Greek mythology were: ClothoLachesis, and Atropos. Clotho, the spinner, was the youngest of the three Fates; she spun the thread of destiny with a distaff, determining the time of birth of an individual; Lachesis measured the thread length to determine the length of life; finally, cruel Atropos cut the thread of life, determining this way the time of death.

So these three goddess had technically more power than Zeus himself. If you don't know, they were Zeus's daughters. However, it still took THREE of them in order to birth life, continue life, and end life.

Genesis 2:7
Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Genesis 2:18-24
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

We see that not only did God create Adam (man), as well as all of the trees and all of the animals, He also created Eve. What help did He have? None at all! Just Himself. Furthermore...

Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

God is certainly more powerful than any mythological god.

Why do I say all of this? I'm sure you know it already, you know that God is greater than any fake gods. You know that there is only One True God.

Here is my point. It's healthy to step back every once in a while and see just how great our God is! And I don't mean by simply saying God is great, I mean by actually seeing, researching, understanding WHY God is so much greater than us or other gods. We can live with simple faith and dedicate our lives to God. But He deserves so much more than that. Just look at mythology, look at how silly it is that they need so many gods and goddesses all fighting with each other and we have the God who is greater. The God who actually exists!
I urge you to think about this idea this week. Ponder how we have a God who created everything. 

Everything we see was created by God. Everything we know was thought up by God. Everything goes back to our awesome, mighty, incredible God.

We owe our lives to Him. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Voice of the Lord

Have you ever planned out something, an event, something rather important in your life and then have it either get cancelled or just not work out? Today I had plans. Plans I had been considering for six months. All the various ways it could have turned out. But I woke up this morning, looked at the date, the 29th, and I thought about what I was going to be doing today.

Quartet rehearsal at 10.

Grandparents coming in to stay for the week in the afternoon.

Leading worship for the Young Discipleship Group tonight at 7.

Where had my plans gone? This occasion that could have been life-changing was nowhere to be found. As I lay in bed I started to feel uneasy. Almost a little sick. Realizing for the millionth time that I have zero control over my life. I can hope to do things, I can wish for events to happen, I can plan all I want to. But in the end God has sovereignty over my life and will take me in the direction I need to be taken.

So then, what should my reaction be today? How should I act today? I think I need to fall back on the word: Contentment. I need to be content. Seek God's greatest will in my life and not my own. Stop worrying about what will happen and listen to God.

I posted not too long ago about the Still Small Voice of God. How if we just keep calm, pray, and seek God He will speak to us. Well, God in His incredible work showed me Psalm 29 this morning. The psalm for the day of the month. I had a small freak out when I read it, because not only does it tie all of these rambles together, but it once again gives me hope that God will lead me down the path I need to go. I can fear not for God is with me.

Psalm 29:  A Psalm of David. Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. 
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. 
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. 
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. 
The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. 
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 
The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, "Glory!" 

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. 
May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

The Lord is powerful. He is beyond powerful. I think we should take up the charge of David and live with the moto: May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

We may not know what lies ahead, we may create plans that fall to pieces, but God is at the helm. He is leading us through life, through battle, through peace-time. God is with us. Listen to His voice, follow His guidance, and we will all one day stand at His glorious throne.

If God, who's voice is more powerful than any mortal army, is with us, then who can stand against us?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Mustard Seed

Often times things come up in my life that seem impossible. Whether it be a stage in my life of hurt and healing, or simply a task I must perform. I think to myself, "Good heavens this is way too hard. It just isn't even worth it." Yet, the next week, or day, or even the next hour, I find I have completed said task and have come out just fine, if not stronger.

Now, to say this is all my doing would be foolish and downright wrong, however I WAS able to accomplish a task I thought to be impossible.

In today's post I would like to posit a simple philosophy: Nothing we are called to do is too difficult to accomplish.

God gives us missions. Just as soldiers are sent out to fight or gather intel, we too are sent out for God and His purposes. Some missions will be rather easy and quick, but others will be long, hard, vicious fights where we drain every ounce of strength from our bodies.

But of one thing we can be sure, God will never EVER assign us a task that is impossible for us to complete. If we abide in His strength and will then nothing is too much for us. Now, if you think this is ridiculous, if you think it's silly to think we can do everything with God on our side, then let me make one caveat:

If God has truly called you to do a certain assignment. You CAN do it and the only thing that will stop you is yourself. I can tell you with absolute certainty that if the entire time you follow God's calling and realize that He is guiding you (not yourself) then you will succeed.

This principle lies in one crucial aspect of Christianity: Faith. We can do all things if Christ is leading us and if we have absolute faith in Him.

This is illustrated beautifully in these verses from the Bible:

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” -- Matthew 17:14-21

Furthermore, when times are tough is when God is most evident. In Philippians we see that God allows us to do all things, hard or easy, through His strength and His alone:

"I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." -- Philippians 4:10-13

So today I exhort you to trust God in all times. Do not have joy and faith only when times are easy and you are feeling blessed, but learn to rejoice and have faith in every circumstance. Never forget that when assigned a calling by God, even when it seems like you are at the end of your rope, that you have nothing left, you still always, always have God. Nothing God gives you will be too hard for you to get through. You will get through on Christ's power and through His glory. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Still Small Voice

I am sure we have all heard the phrase the "Still Small Voice". When talking about God speaking to us we always say we must listen closely. Now this phrase didn't just come out of the blue, it came from 1st Kings chapter 19 in the King James Version:

"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?" (11-13)

Now, a lot of this probably sounds a little funny because of the old English, but let's create this image of the situation. Strong winds are blowing, winds that "rent" (define: A large tear in a piece of fabric.) Mountains. This wind is probably like a hurricane. A horrific storm. So powerful as to break rocks. Then, after all of this wind, an earthquake happened, after that an all-out fire storm. Now, the Lord was not in any of these, but God had caused them to happen. Where was the Lord? He was in a "still small voice".

God shows His awesome power and might but waits to speak until He can do so in a whisper. He speaks to Elijah through the torrents of the storm in a small voice. No shouting or commanding, just a simple, loving whisper.

I posit this question, how many times have you sought God's help and felt like you heard nothing? You knew it would be a still small voice, you knew it would come in times of trial, so you waited and waited yet heard nothing? This is always disheartening because of these passages of scripture:

Mark 11:24 -- "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Matthew 7:7 -- "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

We live in this misconception that asking will automatically grant us our wish. Let's be real friends, God isn't a genie in a bottle. We can't simply say "I.... wish for a million dollars. I'm asking for it full faith God and You WILL give it to me!" That is never, ever going to work.

I think we need to look to the Psalmist to find our reality check:

Psalm 22:

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest." (1-2)

I think it's safe to say this is me a lot of the time. I cry out to God, I seek His help and guidance, but feel all alone. But David then goes on to say...

"Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame." (3-5)
No matter if we hear from God or not, He is still there. It doesn't matter if we get an instant response, just because we live in a world of instant gratification does not mean God must adhere to that lifestyle.
I love David's words near the end of Psalm 22 when he says:

"I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations." (22-28)

I encourage you to wait for the still small voice. But if you don't hear anything right away, don't worry about it! Just keep praying and pressing into God!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Hated People

Often times I get frustrated, annoyed, even angry at the world for the attacks against Christianity. For the personal strikes at Christians who are just trying to live by their faith. I get so fed up with people calling Christians bigots, homophobes, etc, especially when most of the time it isn't true. Yes, there are those bad apples in the crowd but as a whole we just want to serve God and love people.

Pastor Mark Driscoll opened my eyes to 1st John chapter 3 and to something that made me laugh. I laughed because it is so simply and blatantly stated. It has entirely changed my view of how the world thinks of me as a Christian.

1 John 3:12-13 "We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you."

This is so very simple! I love Jesus, I follow Jesus, much of the world does not. In fact, a lot of the world hates Jesus! So... Why on earth am I surprised that the world hates Christians?

Throughout the Bible we see references to the World being one thing and God/Jesus being another. We cannot have idols, we cannot serve two masters, we must be in the world but not of the world, the list goes on. The world is a dark, lost, horrific place. The only way for hope and peace is through Jesus Christ. However, because as humans with our sin nature we are constantly in rebellion to God, the world seeks to tear Jesus down.

So let's put it this way, if the world seeks to get rid of Christ, and I seek to express Christ, speak about Him, glorify His name, what is the world going to think of me? Obviously they are going to try to get rid of me as well.

It comes down to this basic question, do you want the world to love you, or Jesus to love you? We cannot serve two masters. We cannot be loved by the world and by Jesus at the same time. Yes, there are those in the world who will love us, we all have people who love us, but as the whole we cannot have a world who wants the best for us because the world does not believe in the same ideals that we do.

That being said, we CAN love the world and love Jesus simultaneously. Do not love the world in the way you love Jesus, but we are called to love everyone. We are to bless those who curse us, love those who persecute us. We are to show kindness and love to our enemies. It is a tall order to fill because no one likes to be loving and kind to someone who doesn't like them. However it is not impossible to accomplish.

I say we at least try. This week if someone says an angry word to you, if someone "attacks" you whether for your faith or just because they can, love them in return. Bless them in return. If we all do this the world will be just that much better of a place to live in. Not to mention, it will give God all the glory, and that's our purpose. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Light

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'")

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

      I believe we are called to be lights. I think the Bible is pretty clear on that:

      Matt 5:14-16

      "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

      Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

We are lights in the darkness. The world is a wicked place and evil has darkened it. We, with Christ shining through us are lights, lights that show others the way to Truth.

But in my Bible study this morning I discovered something that I had never seen before. (Don't you just love it when that happens?)

We all know that many times we are called to be Christ-like:

1st John 2:6 "Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked."

1st Cor 11:1 "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."

Eph 5:1-2 "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

However, for as many times as I read John chapter One I never noticed that Christ came into the world as the Light. Let's look at the metamorphosis:

John 1:1 -- We have the Word. The Word is suppose to be the Spirit, many commentators have said the Word is the Spirit and apart of God.

1:3 -- All things are in the Word (Spirit).

1:4 -- In the Word (Him) was the light of men.

1:5 -- The Light (Word... Him... Spirit... God) shines in the darkness.

1:7 -- He (John) came to bear witness about the Light.

1:14 -- The Word (Light... Spirit...God) Became FLESH. (Jesus!)

1:15 -- John bore witness: "This was He of whom I said 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because He was before me.'"

The "He was before me" is a call-back to John 1:1. The Word was in the beginning. The Word was before John.

I had never realized that through this chapter we get the Light of life as it is fully God, fully man, and fully the Holy Spirit. We have the divine trinity explained clearly for us to see. The fascinating part is it also proves that Jesus is not merely a man, but fully God.  For in the first verse it says the Word WAS God. But then as the chapter goes on the Word morphs into the Light, the Light into the Flesh, and the Flesh is Jesus Christ.

I see now that we are not only called to be Christ-like, not only called to be the light in the darkness, but we are called to be both simultaneously because they are one in the same. Now, I could be way behind the times on this realization, so maybe you know all this already, but even if so I want you to consider this:

What type of calling is it that says we are to be LIKE Christ? Is that not the greatest calling man has ever been given? We see men are born to be great leaders, generals, kings, presidents, people are born with the "upmost of callings". Yet us, as Christians, every single one of us great or small has the SAME calling! We are all commanded to be like Christ. But look at it this way... this is the greatest calling because by telling us to be Christ-like, we are being called to be like a Divine spiritual being that is fully God, fully Spirit, and fully Man. We are called to live our lives in a way that mimics that of a spiritual Being that was around before the foundations of the world.

This is a great calling, this is a calling we simply cannot refuse. It is by far the hardest to achieve, but farther still the greatest to be rewarded. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sharks and Satan

Hello readers! I apologize for the respite in posting, the week got away with me and other excuses that most likely aren't true.

Anyhow, this week marks the start of the 2012 Shark Week! For those of you who don't know... The Discovery Channel picks one week a year to air shows, movies, documentaries etc in honor of Sharks. The idea is to get the general public aware of the dangers of sharks and how powerful they are. Indeed I believe somewhere upwards of 72 million people now participate in Shark Week annually.

In this post I would like to talk about Sharks and Satan. There are many people (and I am guilty of this as well) who like to mock the devil. They like to call him stupid and lame and that God is far stronger than he is. Now, all this may be true, but I think this generation has lost sight of something incredibly important. The devil is still the devil no matter how dumb he may seem.

Afterall, he has turned righteous leaders into wicked sinners, rich prosperous men to poor begging fools. Sure he may have to talk to God before he can do these kinds of things (see the book of Job) but he is still incredibly powerful.

Let's talk about sharks. Sharks are awesome in the true sense of the word. (Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.) We look at these massive creatures and I know some of us tend to think of just how amazing they are. Shark Enthusiasts study their habits, their nature, their being. However, how many of us have actually SEEN a shark? Like in real life, in the ocean. I know I haven't. Pretty sure no one I know has. Or maybe you have seen a shark, but just its fin. Only seen it swimming around far off.

We can't honestly understand the great danger a hungry shark poses unless we experience it first-hand. In the same way we can't realize the danger the evil one is unless we realize his power first-hand.

Let me tell you something about myself. I am allergic to medical sedatives. Things like NyQuil, Advil PM, etc. Now, whenever I take one or another of said medicine I fall into horrible hallucinations until the effects of the pills wear off. I, for obvious reasons, have not partaken in any of these medicines in quite a few years, but before I knew I was allergic I had these hallucinations quite a few times.

I vividly remember...

Sitting on the couch in the living room. Sick with a cold. It's pitch black everywhere. Roughly 3 AM. Then the room started to turn slightly. I looked at my left hand and saw it swelling up. I couldn't feel my legs. Then a mass of little black circles came from all sides of me and started enveloping me. My right leg disappeared somewhere I started screaming. At this point I couldn't control myself. I knew I was moving. Or at least thought I was. Furniture was sliding around. I kept getting attacked by these random circles. I felt so much pain all over and I just kept yelling for help. Hoping, of course, that I was actually yelling and not just dreaming it.

All this happened while I was perfectly awake. As the medicine wore off I realize the sun was coming up. Nothing was wrong. I was just a little sick. Nothing had moved. I was fine. What I have never been able to shake off is the feeling of being absolutely and utterly lost for control of my own body.

Why do I share this? I think the devil can do the same. The devil can make us do or say things that we wouldn't ever mean. He can turn best friends against each other, he can turn families inside out. He is crafty and will do anything to stop us from glorifying God. He can make us lose control of ourselves.

I think it's time that we took with gravity the idea of the enemy. That we stop thinking we are in control of our lives and God will always protect us. Yes, God will protect us,  but He will also allow for temptation and trials. We cannot be apathetic. The devil wants us, he desires to trip us. We must understand that he can and will do this if we don't watch out and pay close attention to what we are doing.

Let's heed God's Word when He says,

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world." -- 1 Peter 5:8-9

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints." 
-- Ephesians 6:11-18

It is time we stand and fight. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

God is More than Enough

Have you ever considered God and His goodness? 

In this post I would like to make a few observations I have gained this past weekend. I attended the Seasons of Life Seminar by Mr. Gregg Harris and he gave me some insight into God's goodness. 

Question, have you thought of food and how it tastes in relation to God's goodness? 

There is a LOT of food that tastes absolutely delicious! There's Pizza, Alfredo, Ice creme, Cheese burgers the list goes on. All of this food is satisfying and filling. But have you thought of how God didn't have to make this be? He could have simply created tasteless edible food that's only purpose was for nutrients. But what did He do? He created incredibly delicious satisfying food. 

God is good. Very good. 

So that is one small portion of what I learned at the seminar. Now today I was studying this a little more and found my own insights:

God is absolutely more than enough. God doesn't just satisfy our needs, He goes above and beyond our needs. God sees a situation that we desperately need help from and God saves us, then goes a step further. 

Jesus is known to have said: 

Mat 5:41  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

This is of course where we get the adage "Go the extra mile". Interestingly back during the time of Jesus this was a fascinating political commentary. One with historic effects. 

Jesus was instructing the Jewish people of the time to passively fight against the Roman oppression. The example in this verse of "going the extra mile" was in regards to the Roman Impressment Law. Under this law if a Roman Soldier passed you he could (by law) force you to carry his pack for up to one mile. However, by law the soldier could not force a Jewish person to carry the pack one inch further than one mile. Jesus telling the Jews to go another mile with him, was a tricky way of exposing the injustice that was happening. Simply put, at the end of the mile when the soldier asks for his pack back, simply say, "it's ok, I'm good" and keep walking. Eventually this soldier would be pleading with you to get the pack back or else he may get in trouble. Furthermore Jesus was planting a seed in the minds of his listeners that it doesn't hurt to do a little more. It doesn't hurt to bless those who curse you. Also looking upon His words of saying bless those who curse you. 

But I see a connection between all of this historicity and what God shows us in creating tasty food. God is good and God is more than enough. God is our greatest role model for life and is proving that through the words of Jesus. God wants us to go the extra mile just as He goes the extra mile for us. We are slaves to Christ, we are fools, we are evil sinners, God does NOT need us. Yet even with all this what does He do? He loves us, gives us good food, and is more than enough for all of our needs. 

What has God done in your life that has proven He is more than enough? In what ways in your life has God gone the extra mile for you? 

I think it's fair to say we should do the same for those around us. Practice what your preach, God practices what He preaches, we should do the same!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Saving Grace

Yesterday afternoon I was shocked with the news that my little nephew Andrew had fallen out of his bouncy-chair and onto the floor. My brother and mom rushed to her place to see what happened and take the poor kid to the Dr and see if he needed to go to the Emergency Room. Upon arriving there the Dr. examined him and found that he had probably broken his nose, but that he would be alright in time. Precautions were made and my sister brought him back home.

After his appointment he looked pretty badly bruised. Last night he look pretty bruised but improving. I saw little Andrew this morning and he was grinning and happy and barely bruised at all. In fact, at first I couldn't see anything at all wrong with him! God had healed him quickly, miraculously.

This experience has taught me a couple things that I would like to share with you.

1) Prayer works. I sent out a facebook prayer request that was responded to by quite a few people. I was praying, my siblings and parents were praying. A lot of people were praying. I can tell by this traumatic situation that the prayers worked. People kept their cool, and the baby was brought home safe and sound.

2) God is watching over us. ALL of us. Even the little ones. God watches, protects, and keeps his children safe. Even when something horrible and life-threatening happens, God is there. 

3) God has a saving grace. We are just like my nephew. Children, babies, to God. We are His children. Just as He can pick up an infant and save him from harm, he can save us. He is willing to save us. He will do everything to take our heart and love us. We must simply choose to follow Him. If we do that, we can be just like Andrew. Saved from a dangerous world, saved from harm and brought into His saving grace.

God is ALWAYS good. And God is ALWAYS there.

Psalm 139: 7-18--
"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Money Possessions and Eternity (Part 2)

"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Luke 16:13)

In this second installment of "Money Possessions and Eternity" we will look at a little more of what Mr. Randy Alcorn has to say. Today I ask these questions: 

What spiritual effect does money have on your life? 

What impact does your money have on your day-to-day living?

"Jesus clearly said that we can and should use money for good purposes, both for this life and the next. Human hearts can be redeemed by Christ, and in the hands of the redeemed, money can serve redemptive purposes." (Money Possessions and Eternity pg. 18)

Just as the only saying goes, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people", we could also posit that "Money does not cause sin/selfishness etc, people cause those things." Yes, it doesn't help, but in the end it is a matter of our heart and what we choose to do.

"To regard money as evil, and therefore useless for purposes of righteousness, is foolish. To regard it as good and therefore overlook its potential for spiritual disaster is equally foolish. Use it, Jesus said, but don't serve it." (pg. 19)

The Bible also consistently warns us to not be foolish. Proverbs urges us many times to consider this:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Prov 1:7)

"Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (Prov 26:12)

"The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult." (Prov 12:16)

Foolishness is greatly discouraged by Solomon and (obviously) by God. As Mr. Alcorn puts it to say dealing with money is a black and white issue is foolish. Money has the potential to be dangerous, but only if we allow that to happen. Money has equally great potential to be incredibly helpful to God's kingdom and to our lives.

"Once we allow money to have lordship over our lives, it becomes Money with a capital M, a god that jealously dethrones all else. Money makes a terrible master, yet it makes a good servant to those who have the right master - God." (pg. 19)

Exodus 20 very plainly states that we are to have no other gods before the truth God. We can turn money into our god and this is very, very dangerous.

Furthermore Mr. Alcorn takes the idea of material wealth not being inherently evil a step further:
"Do we imagine Jesus using his bare hands to cut wood, or can we assume he used the best affordable tools in his carpentry? And if our Lord were living in today's society, wouldn't he take advantage of the current technology in his trade? Would he abstain from using power saws, believing that handsaws are more spiritual? would he hesitate to travel in a car any more than he did a boat? would he avoid using a microphone even if it would allow the crowds to hear him better? It would be disastrous if every believer dropped out of society's mainstream and stopped making money." (pg. 26)

I encourage you to consider these words very carefully. Examine your heart and ask yourself these questions:

Do I think about my money incessantly?

Do I worry about how much or how little money I have every day?

I think it wise to consider materialism and make sure that we aren't obsessed with wealth or possessions. There is SO much more to life. Yes, wealth is not a bad thing if used correctly, but wealth should not be our only goal. We must allow wealth (or lack of wealth) to be a slave to us, and us its master. We must not be a slave to wealth.