Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Psalm 27: God's Comfort in Times of Distress

Psalm 27 is a wonderful Psalm that I often look to whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed with the cares of this world. This Psalm happens to reinforce the fact that God is always there for us and that he cares deeply for us.

The Psalm reads: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked.. came upon me to eat up my flesh, the stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear, though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident..... (14) wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."

So often, we try and take matters into our own hands... And whenever we try and do this, we usually end up feeling distressed and anxious and sometimes fearful. We should never try to handle life's situations without help from of God. He is our rock and our redeemer and He is there waiting to help us through our life. As this Psalm says, The Lord is our helper - He is our light, our salvation, and our stronghold - therefore we have nothing to fear from mortal enemies.

Seek to know the Lord. As Christians, we truly need to know Him better.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Godly Person pt. 2

Yesterday I wrote a little bit on being Godly people. I had a few more thoughts I wanted to add on...

One thing that Godly people do is delight in the Law of the Lord. If we're truly striving to follow Christ, we need to make sure that our delight is in God's Law and that we respect His word. In addition, we need to make sure that we hold firm to the fact that the bible is the only inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) and that we never give in to false teachings that may come about.

Another thing that falls into the category of delighting in the Law of the Lord, is meditating in the law of the Lord day and night. Psalm 1:2 says, "but his delight is in the law of the LORD and on his law he meditates day and night." If we constantly think and meditate on God's word, we're always going to be more inclined to do the right thing and not give into temptation.

Those who delight in God's law are firmly grounded. We need to make sure that we're steadfast and un-moveable and always abounding in God's work (1 Cor 15:58).

Be Godly in your character.

A Godly Person

As we strive to be followers of Christ, we need to make sure that we're being Godly people. There are things that we need to make sure we are doing in order to stay Godly.
For instance, a Godly man or woman watches the company that they keep. 1 Cor. 15:33 tells us that evil company will corrupt our good habits. An unGodly man associates with things and people who are evil. If we're seeking to follow Christ, we need to make sure that we're hanging out with the right people.
Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9 that people can tell the Godly man from the rest of the world. - The Godly man or woman doesn't participate in the things that the world does (1 John 2:15-17). The worldly man participates in all the things that the world participates in - Gal 5:19-21 gives us a list of all those activities that the worldly man would be participating in. We have to stay away from these things.
Be a Godly person - each and everyday. Delight in God's law and seek Him daily. Don't become like the rest of the world.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

There's a Great Day Coming

As followers of Christ, we are confident that there is a great day coming. It will be a great and marvelous day because we will be rid of all the trials of this life. In Rev. 21:4, we are told that in eternity there will be no more trials and tribulations. Won't it be great to not have to live in a world where we are constantly faced with trials and temptations? We will one day be able to rid ourselves of all temptations! Every single day we are tempted by Satan - but we will one day BE WITH God - and no longer have to worry about being bothered by Satan.

We need to keep in mind, however, that this is only a great day to those who seek and keep God's commandments. For those who are not worshippers of the Lord, this will be a very sad day. Rev. 20:10 says that all who are not worshippers of God will be punished day and night forever. Then we are told in the following chapter that they will be put in the eternal lake of fire and brimstone. Don't let that happen to you.

We don't know when the Day will be coming... It could be tonight. It could be tomorrow. It could be 300 years from now... Whenever it is, we need to make sure we're ready. Don't let that day be a sad day for you...

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Am Resolved

We're all very familiar with the song, "I Am Resolved" that is often sung as an invitation song in many congregations. In fact, we probably could sing most of this song without having to look at a song book... But have we ever really given much thought to what the words of this song are really saying?

The word resolved itself means determined. So if you replace resolve with determine, you would get, "I am DETERMINED no longer to linger - charmed by the world's delights. Things that are higher, things that are nobler - these have allured my sight."

This world has so many "charms and delights" that can lead us astray. Hebrews warns us in chapter 11 that sin is pleasurable for a season and Proverbs 16 warns us that the end of sin is death! We need to be having our "sights allured" by the things above. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 6, we need to make sure we're placing our treasures in Heaven above.

The song also says, "I am resolved (determined) to go to the savior, leaving my sin and strife." We should have no desire to live in sin because it is something that separates us from God! We should not be a slave to sin - but rather, leave it behind and GO to the savior!

The last verse of the song talks about following the savior and being faithful and true each day. Christianity isn't about following Christ when we feel like it, it's about doing it each and every moment of our life. Be determined to follow the savior everyday of your life.

Hopefully you've gained a little bit from these thoughts today and hopefully you will sing this song differently from now on.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Answer to Life's Problems

If you've ever been in a library or a book store, you've probably noticed a large "Self-Help" situation. These are books that many people turn to when seeking help with their life problems.

Let's face it, everyone has their problems. Each person has their own struggles that they go through in their life. - Whether it be spiritual problems, physical problems, marital problems, financial problems, etc. - everybody faces some kind of struggle at one point or another in their life.

Even though we all may have our own struggles, there's no need to go to the "self help" section of the book store to find solutions. The answers to all life's problems are in one book - God's Word. The bible (in some way) addresses every struggle that we could ever possibly go through.

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

So next time you're facing some kind of problem in your life, instead of looking online or looking in a bookstore for a "self-help" book - see what God's Word says about your problem. I guarantee you won't need to go anywhere else.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Remembering Jesus

Have you thought about the death of Jesus today?

Unfortunately, we often don't think about the death of Jesus on a daily basis. Typically it's once or twice a week or when we take part in the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week. Sure we pray to God on a daily basis and we sometimes say something along the lines of, "Thank you for your son Jesus who died on the cross..." - But are you really stopping to reflect on His death?

Bottom line; we should reflect on the death of Jesus Christ more throughout the day/week. His death has saved us from our sin! Do we recognize where we would be without the sacrifice that was made?? And He went through and endured so much pain - all for our sake! We have life because He died for us. It's an amazing thing to think about.

As you end your day today, and you're in bed, take a few minutes to reflect on what Jesus went through. And when you wake up in the morning, as you thank God for giving you a new day, give Him thanks for His Son's death that has saved you from your sins.

Maybe reflecting upon Jesus' death on the cross is already part of your daily routine - that's great, it's definitely something that we all need to be thinking about each and every day. We can't let it be a "once a week thing."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spiritual Immaturity

One danger that a lot of Christians fall into, is lack of growth. Sometimes we get caught up in the thinking that, "We've obeyed the gospel, we've done what we need to do, and that we're fine!" As we all know, Christianity isn't that easy. Following Christ is a daily act and choice that takes growth and effort on our part.

Hebrews 5:12-14 warns us of being spiritually immature. "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again in the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of good use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

At this stage in our Christianity, we should be striving to be teachers of God's word - as it says in this passage - not just sitting back taking it in and watching others do it. We need to be careful because there may be times when we are falling behind and becoming spiritually weak and immature. We need to "of full age" as this passage states. Don't become spiritually immature.

Monday, December 7, 2009

He Hears

God has blessed us so greatly with the avenue of prayer. Prayer is such an amazing tool for us to use in any occasion - and as Christians, we should be praying all the time.

Some may wonder, however, if the Lord really hears our prayers? It can be easy to think, "How can I be sure that God is hearing my prayers?" Well truthfully, we have MANY reasons to believe that God hears our prayers. First of all, think about something in your life that you have prayed a lot about at one time - maybe a sick family member, or family problems, or monetary problems, etc - Were your prayers answered? Secondly, we have numerous passages that let us know that God hears our prayers. In Psalm 116: 1-2, it says, "I Love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live." - Passages like this one remind us that God really does hear and care about our prayers to Him. And thirdly, we just have to have faith. Faith is a big part of prayer. People may never understand how we can put faith in something we can't see... But that's what faith is - Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The Evidence of things not seen." In order for our prayers to be heard, we have to have faith that God really does hear them.

Let us be confident that the Lord hears our prayers.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


As human beings, we crave satisfaction. On a day to day basis, we seek to satisfy certain parts of ourself. For example, at around 1pm everyday, I NEED to find something to eat in order to satisfy my hunger. If you work a 15 hour day, when you come home you have to satisfy your body's needs with sleep and rest. The most important satisfaction we need to achieve is spiritual satisfaction and fulfillment. There's a hole in our heart that needs to be filled by God. We are created to be the recipients of God's glory and grace and God is the only adequate fulfillment to our needs.

Ps. 107:9 "For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness."

If you're feeling like you're missing something in your life and you need fulfillment, look to God. God needs to fill our hearts - He longs to. God will bring more fulfillment to us than anybody or anything else can.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

God is our Refuge

Ps. 46: 1-2 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling."

God is on our side and He is our strength. We need not let troubles of this world drive us to fear, because the Lord is going to take care of us. Even when it seems like things are bad, God is still our refuge and we need to look to Him in every situation we are in.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Be Honorable

1 Peter 2:11-12 "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation."

This passage of scripture that Peter gives us is so valuable. There's so much in these two verses. First he tells us that we need to abstain from fleshly lusts. We know exactly what he is talking about here - there's probably some kind of "fleshly lust" that we each struggle with. He warns us that these things are going to war against our soul. Think about it like this; Why are we afraid of playing with something like fire? Well, that's easy - because of the damage that it can do to our physical bodies. Well, sin has the same effect on our soul - So why don't seem to be as cautious of it?

In the second part of this passage, Peter encourages us to have an honorable character. It's so important that we are always displaying Christ in the things that we do. Our goal needs to be that other people will see/glorify God when they see our works. In order for that to happen, we must always be making sure we're conducting ourselves in a Christ-Like manner.

As we live before the world, let us be honorable and abstain from fleshly lusts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Knowing God Abides In Us

1 John is one of my favorite books in the New Testament. John focuses a lot on love in this book; the fact that God is love and that we must walk in Love, etc. A particular passage in this book that I really enjoy comes from chapter 4:12-16 where John says;

"No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the World. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in Him."

It is so important that we have love in our lives. Earlier in this book, John talks about sinning and how God does not abide in the sinner. We all want God to abide in us but we have to realize that when we sin, He is not. Once again I'll make the point that sin separates us from God - we don't want this. But Love will help us see God in us and in others. Walk in love everyday.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Letting God Decide

Sometimes it's so hard to see beyond ourselves. We tend to get so caught up on what WE want and things WE think we need that we forget about God's will and what God wants for us. We all have a tendency to think that we're seeking God when what we're really seeking is His ratification of our own will. The truth is, God knows and wants what is best for us. And sometimes, what is truly best for us may not be exactly what we want.

We're all familiar with the passage that Jesus gives us about how we should pray. In Matthew 6:9-10 He says, "... Thy Kingdom come, your will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven." Sometimes we incorporate this into our prayers - But do we really mean it? Do we really want God's will to be done? Letting God decide what is best should not be something that we do reluctantly or grudgingly. Our purpose in our prayers to God should be to put ourselves in the Lord's hands and trust His judgement. Again, God wants what is best for us and we have to trust that His will is right.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


How do you react to things? More specifically, how do you react to things that you KNOW would not please God? For instance, if you're at work or at school and somebody tells a joke or a story and they fill it with profanity - how do you react to that? Do you laugh along with everybody else? Do you sit there and not show any emotion at all? Or do you stand up for what is right and say something about it? More often that not, we probably fall into the second category - where we don't laugh or display interest in the story, but we don't stand up and say something about it...

One of the biggest things we need to be concerned about is having a heart that doesn't feel anything. We're warned about this in Revelation 3:15-16: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."

Sometimes we may think we're doing the right thing by not reacting to something sinful - But the truth is, we're not. If we're not going to stand up for what is right, we might as well be the ones laughing at the dirty jokes. God doesn't want a "closet Christian" - He wants somebody who is "ON FIRE" for Him! God gave us hearts that were meant to respond and when they stop doing that very thing, we're in serious danger. If our hearts don't feel anything, it's "high time to awake out of sleep" (Romans 13:11).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ps. 34:12-17

"What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles."

When we have sin in our life, we are fully separated from the Lord and this is the worst possible thing that could ever happen. The scary thing is the fact that since we can't SEE God, we don't ever really think about being separated from Him. But when we do evil, we separate ourselves from Him.

This passage from Psalms indicates how awful it is to be separated from God. On the other hand, it is so comforting to those who are righteous. None of us want the Lord to turn His face from us - that's why we need to constantly make sure we are living righteous lives. Because in the end when this life is over, if we are separated from God, it will be forever - and there will be nothing we can do about it. There's nothing worse than being separated from God.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coping With Adversity

How many times does something happen to you where it makes you stop and say, "Why is this happening to me?" Sometimes it feels like only bad things are happening to us - and it appears that everyone else around us have only good things going for them.

Well sadly, it is easy to feel this way sometimes. And there may in fact be times throughout your life where you will go through difficult times. James tells us in James 1:2 to "Count it all joy when we face trials..." A great example of somebody who was able to do this was Joseph. He was somebody who faced so many difficult times but never gave into self pity or to bitterness. When somebody wrongs us, how hard is it not to feel sorry for ourselves and bitter towards that person? And that is something that Joseph never felt.

In dealing with adversity, there are 3 P's that we need to remember:

1. The Promises of God. God's promises will give us the hope we need to cope with our adversity. Phil. 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." With Christ, we have the strength to get through any trial.

2 . The Plan of God. Even though we sometimes don't see an immediate result, God is working for us. He is on our side and wants to see us succeed. Romans 8:28 says, "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good..."

3. The People of God. Even though we sometimes feel like we're the only ones dealing with something - odds are we're not. We need to comfort our fellow Christians to help them deal with their adversity. Paul says in 2 Cor. 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... who comforts us in all our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

It's always easiest to take self pity on ourselves and feel bitter toward somebody else - but this is not what the Lord wants us to do. He's on our side and is wanting to help us through our afflictions.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How to Deal With Stress pt. 5

As we have been looking at some ways this week to deal with stress in our lives, I hope some points were made that you could apply to your own personal life. Everybody gets stressed about different things and has different levels of stress - BUT I think these are all great resources that any Christian should use when trying to avoid stress in their life.

As we have been paying attention to Jesus as our example of somebody who dealt with stress on a regular basis, there's a very important area that Jesus always resorted to and that we need to make sure we're using as well;


Jesus was constantly praying to His Father - about all kinds of different things that were happening to Him. We should feel like we can do the same.
Paul pretty much sums up this thought for us in Philippians 4:6-7 when he says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Paul is telling us here not to be anxious - not to "stress." And if there are times that we do feel anxious or stressed, we should go to God in prayer about it. As we've talked about before, prayer is so powerful - it can help us out tremendously.

As we go through life, stressed or not stressed, we should be practicing these steps everyday - ESPECIALLY this last one. Don't let stress bring you down.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How To Deal With Stress pt. 4

Somedays we just get so stressed out. We feel like we have so many things to do and so little time to do them in. A lot of times we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders and if we don't do the long list of things we have to do - then everything will fail.

A very important part of "dealing with stress" is this one:


We get so stressed out because we have so many things on our plate and we easily get overwhelmed with the pressure this brings along. However, if we focus on the one thing that is most important, we'll be able to accomplish everything else more efficiently. We're trying to please God - that's our number one priority and that's what we should be focusing on accomplishing. Jesus knew what He was trying to accomplish and this kept Him focused on what was most important rather than being stressed out by other things.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How To Deal With Stress pt. 3

One of the easiest ways to add stress to your life is to be the type of person who tries to please everybody. Unfortunately, this is me. Most of the time I'm focusing on making sure everyone else around me is happy. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - if you can deal with it. But most of the time, it will add a level of stress to your life. And secondly, whenever we try to please everyone else, it becomes easier to neglect the One we need to be striving to please the most. Which leads me to the third way to eliminate stress and that is;


IN John 5:30, Jesus says, "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgement is just because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me." God should be the only person we are concerned with pleasing. But like I said, often times we focus on trying to please everybody else that we forget about pleasing God - who is the most important. If you try to please everyone, you'll just end up criticizing yourself - which will add so much stress to your life. God can't please everybody - there's always somebody who is going to be unhappy - why should we feel like we can please everybody? Just be who God wants YOU to be.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How To Deal With Stress pt. 2

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about dealing with stress. The 1 specific way I mentioned was knowing who we are. As mentioned yesterday, Jesus handled a lot of stressful situations. He constantly had people watching Him, asking Him questions, mocking Him, questioning Him, asking Him/needing Him to heal somebody, etc. But Jesus dealt with it all without any complaining or sinning.

Let's face it, it's easy to become stressed out. We become stressed out very easily over what people think of us, having enough money, our jobs, school work, pleasing other people - the list goes on and on.

The problem with stress is that, in addition to causing physical problems, it can also cause us to lower our guard and welcome sin into our life. This is why we have to keep stress under control.

The 2nd effective way to deal with stress is:


Recognizing the fact that we belong to the Almighty God should help us get rid of the stress in our lives. In Eph. 5;1, Paul tell us, "Be imitators of God, as beloved Children." We are children of God. We need to receive comfort in this fact. If there is ever a time where we get stressed out or worried about what other people think of us or how people act to us, we just need to remember that we have a comfort in the One who created us. He will never let us down.
And it's a chain effect; if we realize who we belong to, this will help us be confident in knowing who WE are.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How To Deal With Stress pt. 1

This morning at church, the preacher presented a great lesson on a topic that pretty much everybody deals with: Stress. He presented a handful of points on the best ways to overcome stress in our lives. I was very encouraged by this lesson and wanted to share it. This week I'll highlight some of the things he talked about in his sermon.

It's encouraging to have an example of somebody we can look at who had lots of stress in their life but was able to deal with it in a positive way. Out of all the examples of people in the bible, probably the person that dealt with the most stress is Jesus Christ. Think about all the things that Jesus had to do, and all the people He healed, and all the followers He had, and all the haters He had to deal with and answer to - basically, He had His hands full. But the way He dealt with all the stress is the important thing that we all should pay attention to. Never once did His stress lead to sinning. Unfortunately, that's where a lot of us fail - we let our stress get the best of us, and we let our guard down.

In order to deal with stress in our lives, the 1st thing we have to do is:


As we strive to do what is right, it's extremely important to keep ourselves in check and know exactly who we are. Stress comes when we try to be someone we aren't. In spite of dealing with all the stresses that Jesus was dealing with, He knew who He was and He knew what he was supposed to be doing. In John 8:12 Jesus says, "I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Jesus wasn't trying to be somebody or something He wasn't - He knew exactly who He was..
We're Christians - disciples of Christ. Do we often try to be something different from that?
If the answer to that question is yes, then we can expect to have stress in our life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Having Faith - Even When Times Are Hard

As we go throughout life, we face many obstacles and times where we feel like just giving up... We become depressed, upset, and feel like nothing is going the way it should... Most people experience this feeling at least once in their life. The important thing to remember is that, even when times are tough, God is not any less there. Though we sometimes may feel like God's presence is absent from our life, we're mistaken - He's always with us. He's with us in the worst of times and He's with us in the best of times. The challenge that we face is maintaining our faith in the midst of hard times and doubt.

Encountering hard times was something that even the apostles dealt with. Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:8-10;
"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body."

James also told us in James 1:2 to "Consider it joy when you face various trials." We cannot let the onset of a little pain or stress or difficulty or hard times in our life demolish our faith. If our faith is true and real, then we will honor God no matter what our circumstances are.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In Everything You Do, Serve God

We do a lot in our day-to-day life. We have different tasks and things that we do everyday. As Christians, we are supposed to glorify God in every action that we do. Peter says in his first epistle:

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as the ability which God giveth; that GOD IN ALL THINGS MAY BE GLORIFIED THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. "

We need to start examining our lives more closely to make sure that the things we are doing are glorifying God. After all, we are to glorify God IN ALL THINGS. As you go about your daily life, make note of the things you are doing and at the end of the day, look back at what you did and ask yourself which things glorified God and which things didn't...

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore GLORIFY GOD in your body, and IN your spirit, WHICH ARE GOD’S” (1st Cor 6:20)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Attitude pt. 2

As I said yesterday, our attitude definitely has a huge affect on the way we worship. If we have a good attitude, our worship is going to feel much more involved and much more fulfilling. On the other hand, if our attitude is one that is not really excited about being able to worship God, then we won't get ANYTHING out of the worship service.

It's very easy to get into a routine when it comes to worship. It's something that we typically do 3 times a week and, if we're not careful, we let our mind think of it as "Just another thing we have to do..." When we think of it like that - and it becomes something routine - our attitude is easily brought down about the whole thing and our hearts aren't excited to worship.

It's very important that we have the right attitude when we come together to worship the Lord. We know that Hebrews 10 tells us not to forsake the assembling of the saints. You know, sometimes we think, "Well, I'm just going to church because I know it's the right thing to do... I don't really WANT to go..." And the truth of the matter is, God would rather us NOT be there at all if we're going to have a bad attitude about it than to be there worshiping Him half-heartedly.

We need to make sure that our attitude is checked each time we are preparing for Worship. It's something that we definitely shouldn't overlook. Make sure your attitude is what it needs to be.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Our Attitude

We are to have Christ-like attitudes. In Philippians, Paul says in chapter 2:5, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus..." There are some translations of that verse that actually say, "Your attitude needs to be like that of Christ's." But if you take a step back and look at your life and your general attitude towards life - would you say that it was the same attitude that Christ had? - Most of the time, probably not. In fact, it's usually very easy to have a "bad attitude."

Having a Godly attitude is something that is very important in being a disciple of Christ. If we have a bad attitude about something, it reflects in everything we do! - Think about how true that is.

Again in Philippians, Paul tells us in chapter 2:14 "Do all things without complaining or disputing..." As Americans in the 21st century, we're pretty good at complaining - wouldn't you agree?

Our attitude is something that we definitely need to have control over. If we don't get control over our attitude, it affects the way we worship - which I will talk about more tomorrow.

Check your attitude each day - make sure that it's an attitude that displays Christ to others.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Breaking God's Heart

We break God's heart when we re-turn to the world. Yesterday, I wrote a little bit about not falling in love with the things of this world - but rather loving God more than those things.
In a follow up to that, I just want you to read (on your own time) the parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15:1-7.

A lot of times we think to ourselves, "Well... God has ALL these other people to tend to and to worry about... So He just won't notice one or two sinful things I do." Well, this parable teaches that EACH soul matters to the Lord. And whenever I sin, I break God's heart. And whenever YOU sin, you break God's heart. He knows each one of us and sees each one of our actions. And when our actions aren't what they should be, we are breaking God's heart - Think about that next time you are tempted to stray towards things of the world.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What do you love the most?

One of the hardest things to NOT do is to "love" STUFF. We all have our different things that we love to do- whether they be certain hobbies, watching television, playing video-games, golfing, etc... It's so easy to let ourselves get caught up in these things and forget about where are TRUE passion really needs to be.

John reminds us in 1 John 2:15-17. He says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world... is not of the Father - but of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it: but he who does the will of God will abide forever."

This is a pretty powerful passage and always has been for me. This passage applies to EVERYBODY. Sometimes we just let ourselves get so caught up with the here and now and with money or material things. Well guess what, these things aren't going to last... and if we put all of our attention toward those things, we're not going to last either.

As John reminds us here, don't fall in love with stuff; Don't fall in love with the material things that the world has to offer - They will never compare to what God has to offer.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Be An Example

I wrote a little bit the other day about being an ambassador for Christ. And when we talk about being an ambassador for Christ, we USUALLY refer to being that to non-believers so that they may see who Christ is. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be that way to those who already believe... I wanted to write bit more today about being an example - but this time, I want to focus on being an example to believers.

Paul writes to Timothy in 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, and in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine..."

As Christians, we are well aware of the fact that we need to be a good example to non-believers, but we don't often think about those who are already followers of Christ. In truth, we need to be just as much of a good example to them as we are to non-believers. Paul gives us a whole list of areas here in 1 Timothy where we need to make sure we're being a good example. We need to be a good example in our words, our actions, our love for one another, our spirits, and by keeping ourselves pure.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Finding Comfort In Others

Sometimes our lives can be difficult. We will occasionally feel like we're alone and we have nobody we can talk to here on earth... God wants us to take advantage of the opportunities we have to talk about our problems with others. A lot of times, we think it's better to just keep our problems 'bottled up' inside of us thinking that they'll just pass eventually. - The bible tells us otherwise.

In James 5:16, James says, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much."

God knows us very well. And he also knows that times will sometimes be difficult for us. Luckily, we're not alone. And we have so many fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that we can talk to about things. And sometimes, in talking about our problems with others or listening to another brother or sister's struggles, we can be a huge help to that person. Later on in that same chapter, James goes on to say:

"Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."

It's very important that we don't just keep things to ourselves. It's always to overcome struggles on our own. Take advantage of the relationships you have with other Christians and Pray for each another.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

An Ambassador for Christ

In 2 Corinthians, Paul says in chapter 5:20; "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God."

What does it mean to be an "ambassador for Christ?" In short and simple terms - an ambassador is somebody who is appointed to represent something - usually something of great importance. This is us! We're appointed to REPRESENT Christ here on this earth. We sometimes forget that we our ambassadors for Christ. I think it's safe to say that often times our actions aren't showing the characteristics of an ambassador.

As we start this week, let's all realize that we are very important in spreading God's Word to the people here on this earth. That's why He has made us ambassadors - so that we can represent His Son to those around us. This is something of great importance that we must take seriously.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What We Should Think About

What do you spend most of your time thinking about? While you're at work do you think about all the things you could be doing if you were NOT working? If you're not working do you think about all the things you need to do to get ready for work?? Unfortunately, we probably spend a lot of our time thinking about fruitless things.

Paul gives us some great examples of the types of things that we need to be thinking about in his letter to Philippi. He says in chapter 4:8-9;

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you have learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."

The important thing to remember is that the things that we think about are going to come out somehow whether in our actions or in our words. So if we're thinking about vulgar things are having thoughts of hatred - those things are going to find their way out into our speech or actions. We need to take Paul's words of instruction here and think and meditate on these things each and everyday.

Daily Medicine

Have you ever been on some kind of medication that you had to take every day? Most of the time, the purpose of the medication that is prescribed to us is to keep us alive and keep us healthy. And when we don't have it, we really start to notice a difference - right?

Well, the same is true in our spiritual lives. Spiritually, we need "medication" everyday - and that medicine is God's word. It is something that we need to be taking part in everyday everyday! We're so blessed that we have the opportunity to read our bibles whenever we want to - and we need to take advantage of that blessing. We need to be like the ones spoke of in Acts 17:11 - "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."

The title of this blog is "Daily Nutrition for You and Me" - And it really is! Think about it - there's probably been days in your life where you haven't studied your bible or you haven't prayed much. Isn't it SO much easier to give into temptation on days like that? The fact is - we need God every single day of our life. If we don't have him in our life each and every day, we are going to stumble and fall. It's just like medicine that gets prescribed to you - you WANT to take it everyday because you know that it is helping you. Well, the Lord is helping us. He wants us to get to Heaven with Him one day and in order to do that we need to make Him the most important thing and make sure He is the main part of our life each and every day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Be Patient

"Therefore be patient brethren until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."

James is stressing in this passage from chapter 5 of his book for us to be patient until the Lord's coming. Patience is definitely an important attribute for us to have as Christians - though many times may not be the easiest one to have. James also writes in the 1st chapter of his book the following words:

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials - knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have it's perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

How hard is it to find joy when we fall into a trial?? What's the easy thing to do? - Complain? Give up? Get Angry? Probably a little bit of all those things. Whether they be spiritual trials or trials with family or friends or trials at work - we need to try to see the positive side of them. In doing this, our faith in God is going to grow and we will develop more patience. Take the words of James and apply them into your own life - "Be Patient Until the Lord Comes."

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Few Thoughts On Humility

I just wanted to share a few thoughts today about being humble. More specifically, I wanted to say a couple words about having humility when it comes to our spiritual lives.

For an example, look at Paul in the book of Philippians. Paul says in chapter 3:12

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay holdof that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

Now, I know that this is kind of an odd verse to choose to make a reference to humility BUT I think it's very interesting what Paul says here and feel like we can learn a lot from his statement.

Paul is saying here that he knew he wasn't perfect; he knew that he hadn't "arrived" at his full potential - that he wasn't everything he knew he needed to be as a Christian. How amazing is it for him to say something like this? I mean, here's somebody who did SO much for the work of the Lord. We have so many examples of the wonderful work that Paul did and the suffering he did and the preaching he did - but yet, here he is saying that he hadn't "attained" a pride of where he stood spiritually.

As Christians striving to grow stronger, we should never think that we have reached our full potential as a Christian or that we have reached our spiritual plateau. Paul warns us of this in 1 Corinthians when he says, "Let he who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall..." We have to make sure that we keep growing each and every day.

2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord..."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Role Models

I found out today that a really close friend of mine got some upsetting news that was really bothering him. Apparently he found out some stuff about some of his friends that wasn't all that great. He said he was disappointed in these people because he really looked up to them. He said that they were role models to him.

Now that's definitely upsetting. It's always hard to find out something sad or upsetting about somebody who you hold in "high standards." As I was thinking about this earlier, I thought of a couple lessons to take away from this situation.

One lesson goes back to yesterday in talking about judging others... Yes it's always upsetting to find out that a fellow brother or sister is doing something that we don't approve of and I think that there are times when we need to step in and do our part to help them out. BUT as we talked about yesterday, it's important to realize that you yourself are not perfect - and we must make sure we are ourselves in a position where we can talk to somebody about the wrong that they are doing...

The second lesson that I thought about for this particular situation is: You never know who is watching you or who looks up to you - therefore, we must always be "on our best behavior." Paul instructs us in Philippians 2:15 that we "Shine as lights in the world" and Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." As Christians, we have a responsibility to be an example to everybody else. We never know who is watching us and who is going to be influenced by our actions.

These are two great areas that we have to work on as we try to seek God each day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Remove the Plank In Your Own Eye

How often do we look at other people's lives and analyze everything that they're doing wrong (or everything we don't agree with). I'd say we do it quite often... Do you ever wonder WHY we do this? Could it be because it makes us feel better about the sin that it is in our own lives? Do we say something like, "Oh I'm not nearly as bad as that person... I must be doing ok." We try to justify our own actions by judging the actions of others.

We have to remember the lesson that Jesus teaches in Matthew the 7th chapter;
He says there, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?... Hypocrite! First remove the speck in your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye..."

We need to be careful with our thoughts about others. It's so easy to be judgmental. However it's not at all our place to be that way... We need to watch out for other brethren and if we see somebody else who is stumbling with something, we do need to help them! BUT - we must make sure that we ourselves are in good shape before we do so. This is why we must examine ourselves daily.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Remembering God's Goodness

As Christians, we recognize the fact that God is part of our life and that He blesses us with so many things each day. We pray to Him and ask for things we may need and give Him thanks for the things that He has given to us. But do we ever stop and reflect on just how good God is?

Good isn't even a strong enough word to describe what God is... He is so much MORE than good. What He has done for us is so amazing and awesome. We need to try to reflect on His goodness each day and think about what He has done for each one of us.

God deserves so much from us - and unfortunately, we don't give Him enough. We don't give Him the time He deserves, the attention He deserves, or even the respect He deserves...

Nahum 1:7 "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble - And He knows those who trust in Him."

The ultimate example of God's goodness is Him sending His only Son to die for us. His Son died so that every time we sin, we can receive forgiveness for the deeds we have done. How amazing is that?

When we ask for forgiveness from God, do we just ASK for forgiveness?? We need to also praise God for forgiving us for our sins. - I know I don't do this enough.

As you go through your day today, reflect on the goodness of God and think about everything He has done for you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

He Is Coming

Rev. 1:7 "Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen."

Matthew 24:30 "...and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

As we live here on earth, we strive to live Christian life-styles and do what is right. One of the key aspects of our faith is that we believe there will be a second coming one day. Though we do not know when that specific day will be, we can be sure that it WILL in fact happen. I think it's a good idea to remind ourselves often what God's word says about this day.

1 Thess. 4:16 "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words."

So the lesson for today: Be Prepared. Even though we believe that they day is going to take place, we have no idea when it is going to happen. It could happen today. It could happen tomorrow. It could happen in 300 years. We just don't know. So we need to be prepared for this to happen each day of our life. If there are things that you know you need to take care of, steps you need to take, things you've been putting off, etc... whatever it may be that can hinder you from being fully prepared - take care of it!

As John wrote in Revelation; "... Every eye will see Him..." We have to be prepared for that day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where Your Treasure Is, There Your Heart Will Be Also...

Proverbs 23:4-5 says, "Do not overwork to be rich... For riches certainly make themselves wings - they fly away..."

How much emphasis does this world put on money? Well... there's a song that says, "Money Makes the World Go Around." To a certain degree, that's true - unfortunately. Monetary wealth is what so many people strive after. Sure everybody has to work a job for money to support themselves and their families, but there are some who put far too much emphasis on money and wealth. And it's so easy to become one of those people. We tend to think that money makes everything easier - "If I had enough money to do this or that, I'd be happy." When was the last time you thought/said that?

The truth is, as disciples of Christ, we need to make sure our focus isn't on money and rich gain. Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

This is such an important passage to keep in the front of our minds. Money is such a deceiver; We think that it will make us happy - and it may do that for a short period of time - But Heaven carries far more value than any monetary gain or worldly pleasure. We cannot forget what we're really after. We shouldn't be worried about money and the things of this world. Our treasure needs to be in Heaven above.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trusting in God

Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path."

I'm a worrier. I worry about things way too much and let myself stress out about too many things. It has always been a big problem of mine. And the verse above is one that I always go back to in my head when I can see that I'm worrying too much. I let it run through my mind along with the passage from Matthew 6:25 and they help calm me down and come to the conclusion that God is going to take care of me.

God knows what is best for us. And not only that, He WANTS what is best for us. We have no reason not to trust in Him. If you have something that you're stressing over or worried about - whether it be financial trouble or family problems or work stress - just "give it to God." Pray about it, talk to Him about it, let Him know what is troubling you and just give it up to Him.

Matthew 6:31 "therefore, do not worry... for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things..."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Flesh vs. Spirit

Do you ever find yourself trying to justify something that you know is wrong? - You maybe try to play with it in your head a little bit until you convince yourself that its not THAT bad. Does that sound familiar at all? Every now and then we need a little reminder of the things that the Lord does and doesn't approve of. And the thing we need to realize when we look at these things is that they're all definites - meaning that there is no gray area when it comes to these things... They're either wrong or they're right.

In Galatians chapter 5, Paul gives us a list of things which are associated with the lust of the flesh and then gives us a list of things associated with the spirit. He writes:
"I say then: Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh... now the works of the flesh are evident, which are;
1. adultery
2. fornication
3. uncleanness
4. lewdness
5. idolatry
6. sorcery
7. hatred
8. contentions
9. jealousies
10. outbursts of wrath
11. heresies
12. envy
13. murders
14. drunkenness
... Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." I don't know about you, but when I look at this list and really break each one down in my head, I say to myself, "Wow, I'm guilty of quite a few of these!" We have to realize that these are wrong and they will NEVER be right.

As for what we should be practicing, Paul goes on to write;
"But the fruit of the spirit is;
1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Longsuffering
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8. Gentleness
9. Self-Control
... if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit..." These things are RIGHT and will never be wrong.

Look at these two lists. Find one thing from the first list that you know you're struggling with. Then pick one thing from the second list that you might not have enough of in your life. Here's what we should try to do: Whenever we're tempted to do the thing we picked out from the first list, counter it with the thing you picked from the second list. For instance, if you're struggling with hatred or envy for somebody, the next time you're around that person, practice love around them and try and say something nice or pay that person a compliment. It is definitely a difficult task, but if we want to diligently seek God, we have to practice the works of the Spirit - rather than the lusts of the flesh.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Am I Frustrated?

Do you ever have those days where frustration is the only feeling you can feel because nothing seems to be going right? Do you ever stop and ask the question - "Why am I frustrated?" There will be days where I'll be angry and frustrated at something and I can't even seem to trigger where the frustration initiated from...

The truth is, the more selfish we are - and the more self centered our thoughts are - the more frustrated we become when those things don't work out the way we want them to. A lot of times, frustration is generated from selfishness.

James writes in James 4:1-2 "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desire for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covert and cannot obtain..."

James is telling us here that these angers and the wars and frustrations we have, they're all because of lusts and envy that take place within us. - Things that we lust after that we cannot have. Again (This goes back to a few days ago) when we make it "about us," we lose sight of what our life as a Christian is all about. It's not about us, it's about glorifying God in Heaven. Think about your life. If you find yourself constantly getting angry and frustrated with things because they're not going "your way" - you should take a step back and reevaluate what it is you are seeking. God is going to provide for us and take care of every one of our needs (Matt. 6:25) - There's no need to get frustrated when we have that in mind.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Valley Of Decision

We're faced with spiritual decisions everyday. Sometimes some can be harder than others. And sometimes our decisions have a huge impact on the course of our life.

As Christians, we're faced with two roads to go down. In Matthew 7:13, Jesus says, "Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to like, and there are few who find it. "

Our goal is to make it Heaven at the end of this earthly life. But how serious are we about it? The road to Heaven is not an easy one. We're constantly going to be faced with challenges and distractions from Satan along the way. Satan wants us to go down the broad road that Jesus talks about here in Matthew - in fact, he (satan) makes it very easy and inviting. And as a result, more people go down that road. As Jesus says in that passage, "... broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go by it..."

You know, it's very easy to get discouraged and say to yourself, "I'm so different from everybody else around me and I don't fit in because I don't talk like them or have the same values or morals as they do..." But that can and should be turned into something that we praise God for. We shouldn't be like everybody else and we shouldn't want to be either... because those people are taking the broad and inviting way that is leading to destruction.

As Christians, we have to take the narrow and difficult path. But God will always be on our side and He'll be right there with us if we choose to walk down His road.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Speech

Eph. 4:29 "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."

The way we conduct our speech is an extremely important aspect of being a Christ-like example. Next to the way we look and dress, the words that come out of our mouth are often one of the first things people judge us by. We have such an opportunity to show Christ to others with the way we talk. That doesn't mean that we're going around preaching the Gospel in every sentence, but we can certainly reflect reflect God in the things that we choose to say - and the things that we choose NOT to say.

Profane language is one of the most difficult things to guard ourselves against. It's everywhere; TV, movies, music, signs and advertisements, everyday speech among friends, etc.... In fact, most people in the world today probably don't consider the "bad words" they are saying to even be bad words. But if we surround ourselves with that kind of talking for long enough, we too will become jaded and it won't be a big deal to us. And it's not only bad language or 'curse words' that we must watch out for, it can be anything from insults to angry words to gossip. One thing that Paul says in that verse in Ephesians that really sticks with me is when he says, "... That it may impart grace to the hearers." The way we talk needs to impart grace to those who are listening. And profanity, gossip, backbiting, etc - these aren't things that do that.

James tells us in James 3:8 that the tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. We have to be careful with such a powerful tool.

Speak in a way that glorifies God.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Not Always About Us

As human beings, we want things to go our way - It's human nature and it's something that we often expect. However, when things don't go our way, we tend to get upset and down hearted and we let that show to others. In fact, a lot of times what ends up happening is that we end up thinking so much about ourselves in these situations and we forget about someone very important - God.

Think about your personal prayers to God. When you pray, are you basically just asking for things from God to benefit yourself or are you making sure you acknowledge him and take time to praise Him for what he's done? Now just think about your thoughts during the day... Do you think about God on a regular basis and include Him in your decisions? Or do your thoughts mainly consist of what's best for you and what will make you the happiest?

We're put on this earth to praise God and do His Will and lead other souls to Him. And selfishness can sometimes be one of the BIGGEST factors standing in the way of doing that. In fact how often do we move God aside to accommodate OUR wants and desires? - i.e. missing church on a Wednesday night because of a personal conflict or missing a devotional or a bible class because of something else going on? - And trust me, I'm as guilty as any. (Did I mention I tend to write about things that I'm dealing with?)

The fact is: God needs to be THE #1 most important thing in our life. If we put Him first and seek His Will, everything else will fall into place. .

Paul says in Romans 1:21 "because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." - We can't let this happen to us. We have to get God into our life - just KNOWING Him isn't enough...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Be a good example

In the entry yesterday, I mentioned that if we love others we will be able to lead others to Christ. That made me think throughout the day today - and throughout the course of the day, I've been thinking a lot about how to effectively lead others to Jesus. As Christians, we have the responsibility to preach the Word to others and lead them to Jesus (Mark 16:15-16). I think something that we don't always realize is how much we teach people through our actions.
I've had people at work recently pull me aside or have a conversation with me and tell me, "You know, you're different from everybody else here - you don't ever curse or joke about dirty things like everybody else..." That really made me stop and think to myself, "Wow, I didn't realize people were paying that much attention to my actions." It's so true though - people are always watching you. We have to use that as an opportunity to be a good example to them.

Today's lesson is a very simple one - though not the easiest. Be a shining light to others.
Paul tells us in Philippians 2:15 "That you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world."
This verse tells us that we cannot be like the rest of the world and that we need to stand out and shine as lights so that other people can see the Lord and his goodness. When we act Christ-like to and around others - they will take notice and it will prick their hearts. Be sure to realize that people are always watching and are always influenced by our actions.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Forgiveness pt. 2

Today I'm not really going to write too much more about forgiveness - I'm just going to elaborate on something that I touched on in my entry yesterday; loving others.
Love is one of the greatest blessings that the Lord has given to us. We are so blessed that A. He loves us and B. That he's given us the ability to feel love and give love to others. But are we picky with who we give our love to? Do we just show love towards are husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, family members, friends, etc - or do we display love to everybody. As we know, Jesus commands us that we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Let's face it, we live in a world where hatred is a common thing - and sometimes its easy to "be one of the crowd" and find people who we judge or don't like.
I think one of the best ways to check your attitude towards others is to turn to 1 Corinthians 13 and ask yourself some questions from the aspects of love that Paul lists. For instance:
Am I kind to this person?
Am I envious of this person?
Am I parading myself around this person?
Am I rude to this person?
Am I provoked by this person or am I thinking evil about this person?
The scary thing is that I can look at that list and have a picture in my head of people I'm envious of or people that I'm not particularly kind to... How about you?
I think we tend to sit back and claim that we have a love for everybody, but when we really think about it and get down to it - it's not as good as we think it is.
We have to show love to everyone just as Christ showed loved to us and by doing that, we will lead others to Him.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


One of the most amazing things in the universe is the Grace of God.  It's something that we as humans can't quite comprehend - how the LORD could send his only Son down to this earth to die a cruel and horrible death - all so that we could be forgiven of our sins.  And because of that death, our sins can be washed away.  
So when we think about what God did for everyone on this earth - sending His Son down - and when we know that because of Him we have this amazing blessing of forgiveness of sins - why is it so hard for us to forgive others?  Personally, I can think of several times in my life when I've held a grudge against somebody or a time where I've not been able to forget a wrong-doing someone did against me.   Isn't that awful?  To think that God will forgive ANY sin that we ask of him (or anyone asks of him)  and here I am having trouble giving up a grudge against somebody...  That's definitely not Christ-like.  
Christ teaches us to love everybody.  He also teaches us that in order for US to have forgiveness, we must first forgive those who have sinned against us.  
In Luke 17:3-4,  Jesus says, "Pay attention to yourselves!  If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times saying, I repent, you must forgive him."  
I don't know about you, but this is definitely an area that I struggle with.  I've been in situations before with people who have done something to me and later apologized for it - and it was hard to forgive them the first time!!  - Now if they had keep doing that wrong and kept coming back to ask for forgiveness from me, I imagine it would only get harder and harder to forgive them.
I know it's sometimes difficult to forgive somebody when they sin (especially if it affects you),  but as we try to seek God and do His will, this is an area where we have to be like Christ in.
Think about Christ in His worst condition - on the Cross.  Here he is in a horrible horrible bloody condition, and he still asks His Father to forgive those who were killing and mocking Him.  He definitely was displaying his love for his enemies.  
We can learn A LOT from Jesus Christ - and forgiveness is one of those things.  Let us remember that in order for us to be forgiven of our OWN sins, we must first forgive others when they sin against us.  

Thursday, September 24, 2009

To Be Purer in Heart

Our hearts reveal our true character.  Proverbs 3:27 tell us, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."  What does this mean exactly?  Well, I think it pretty much means whatever feelings we have in our heart and our mind - that is what our true character consists of.   Have you ever met somebody that everyone thinks very highly of?  - People feel like this person is genuinely nice and sweet to everybody and some people may say, "Oh that person just has such a good heart."  And that's probably true -  Those people that are nice and kind to everybody have that kindness in their hearts and it is reflective in their actions.  
How many times have you gone to worship God and you're sitting in church singing the song, taking part in the Lord's supper, listening to the sermon - but your heart is not in the worship?  - Your heart is just somewhere else completely?  I can't deny that I myself have been guilty of this... 
This is unacceptable to the Lord.  He doesn't want us to worship with hearts that aren't fully involved.  Anybody can go to a church service and sit there and not listen or participate.  And you know, that person isn't going for God - that person is just going so that other people won't think he/she's fallen away or off doing something else or for some other selfish reason.  
We are so truly truly blessed that we have the privilege to worship God and our hearts should want to do so and be involved.  
Christianity is about having a pure heart.  A heart that thinks or feels no hate.  A heart that feels only love for others and for God.  A heart that longs to worship God and do His will.  A heart that hates sin and the disasters it can cause.   
In Matthew 5:8, Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."  Look at that passage again.  Read it over again and again till you can say it back without looking at it and keep that engraved in your mind.  Jesus doesn't say, "For they shall be able to talk to God.."  or "They shall know God..."   He says, "They shall SEE God."  
The thought of being able to see God - to look upon His face - is incredibly amazing.  This is something we cannot miss out on.   
Try and clear your heart of any evil that is in it.  If there is a sin that you keep going back to, get it out of your life completely - right now, it's still there in your heart.  If there's a person you're feeling hate toward - start praying FOR that person - because the hate is building up in your heart.  If there's jealousy in your heart, pray that the Lord will take that away from you so that you're heart can be free from all covetousness.  
Make your heart pure.   If there's anything hindering you from having a pure heart - figure out a way to get it out.  Pray about it, talk about it, etc.  We have to make ourselves pure.  
The Lord wants us to have pure hearts that desire to follow him and do His commandments daily.  And if we do, we will get to see Him one day.   

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Be Diligent

Being a Christian isn't an easy thing to be - by any means.  With it comes responsibilities, persistence, mocking from others, etc.  So many people use the term Christian very loosely though.  It has basically just become a way to describe somebody belonging to a particular religious group.  In fact, most people don't realize that being a Christian means being a "Devout follower of Christ."  
Sometimes, however, I even find myself falling into the same category as the rest of the world - where I forget that Christianity is more than "just a title."  I have to remind myself that being a Christian takes dedication and action - not just verbal affirmation.  It's something that takes daily focus and diligence.  
Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  But shun profane and idle babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness."  
The word diligence means to pay close attention to something - it means to be earnest and persistent.   When you think of following Christ and His teachings, would you be able to say that you're diligent and persistent and earnest about it?  - Or do you just "give it your best shot?"  
If we're going to take on the responsibility of being a follower of Christ, we have to pay close attention to what that means and be diligent about applying it.  
Paul mentions "being ashamed" in that verse.  If we had to have a face to face conversation with God and he asked us to tell Him how we felt about our our work, would we be ashamed?   I think it would be hard not to feel a little bit of shame... 
The point is - being a follower of Christ and serving God require hard work.  But that's the responsibility we took on when we became a Christian.  We must be DILIGENT Christians.  We cannot be lazy.  Being a Christian isn't a one-step process or a one day event - it has to be a part of every day of our life.  
Let's be diligent about following Christ and serving God.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Did You Pray Today?

The average person lives a busy life: An 8 hour (or longer) work day, driving too and from work in traffic, cooking dinner, taking kids to school, picking kids up from school - while trying to find a little bit of time for self somewhere in the middle of all of it.   So where does God fit in to this picture?
Ever since I was a little kid I've seemed to have days where I become incredibly busy.  I've always got something on my mind and most of the time have some kind of stress to deal with.  - I'm not really sure why.  But I remember as a little kid when I would have these days, my mother would always stop me and say, "Have you prayed yet today?"  And honesty, I was never able to give an affirmative answer to that question.  And as soon as I took a break from what I was doing and went off somewhere and spent a couple minutes talking to God, the stress and the burden seemed to be lifted considerably.  And that is true to this day.   I myself work in a stressful environment with a very busy schedule and there will be days where things will just not be going right.  And I'll think to myself, "What's the deal?  Why am I feeling this way today?"  But then I'll realize - "I haven't prayed yet!"  
Prayer is one of the (If not THE) most valuable tools we have.  The power of prayer is INCREDIBLE.  Prayer is our way to communicate to the ONE who made us.  It's our way to vent to Him, cry out to Him, thank Him, ask Him, and so on and so on.  So if prayer is such a wonderful tool, why don't we use it more?  
The truth is, we live in a selfish and busy world where many people feel that they don't "have enough time" to pray.  Here's the deal, when you're life becomes so busy that you find yourself putting God aside in order to take care of other things, you need a life adjustment.  God should never be put on the "back-burner."  
1 Thess. 5:17  - Paul writes "Pray without ceasing."  Don't stop praying.  Ever!  A common misconception people have is that they feel they have to have a specific reason to come to God in prayer.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  If you're driving in your car and you take notice of a beautiful sky or a pretty field, stop and thank God for creating a beautiful world.  One of my favorite things to do while driving on a long trip is to turn the radio off and just start talking to God - about whatever is on my mind.  It feels so good to be able to do that and to have faith that the Lord is listening to you and hearing your prayers.  

When Paul talks about putting on the whole armor of God in Ephesians the 6th chapter, he mentions in verse 18 that we need to be praying always.   Pray always!  Pray everyday!  When you wake up in the morning - Pray!  Give God thanks for blessing you with a safe night.  When you're driving to work - Pray!  Ask God for the strength to be a good example and a shining light at work.  While you're at work/school - Pray!  Talk to God when things get busy and ask Him to help calm you down and put you at ease.  When you eat lunch/dinner - Pray.  Stop and thank God that He has blessed you with food.  The point is there is never a BAD time to Pray.   God is always there.  He's always ready to listen.  And He's always ready to answer our prayers. 

Have you prayed today?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Everyone Will Face God

There are roughly 7 Billion people living in the world today.  And the Lord knows every single one of them.   He knows each one's name.  He knows each one's thoughts and cares. And he knows each one's struggles.  How amazing is that?   - The fact that God can know and care so much for YOU and make sure that YOU have everything you need to survive while doing the same for everyone else in the world.  However, on the other side of this lies the fact that one day God is going to judge each and everyone of us - all 7 Billion of us!  
And God, being the just God that he is, will judge each one according to their works (1 peter 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout your stay here in fear.)  
There's a certain trap that we as Christians tend to fall into every now and again.  We begin to think, "Im a good hearted 'Christian' with good morals - I'm all set..."  So we then let our guard down and welcome certain sinful activities into our lives.  We begin THINKING to ourselves, "Well, I know this thing isn't that good to do - but I'll just ask for forgiveness later."   This is exactly what Satan wants us to think.  And whenever we let ourselves do this, we're giving Satan the upper hand.   The writer in Hebrews warns us in chapter 10:26 "For if we sin willfully after we received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins."  We can't just go about in our lives sinning and sinning just thinking that God will forgive us.   It doesn't work that way.  
Paul gives us this warning in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10;  He says, "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.   For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."  
God sees every single thing we do.  He knows every thought we think.  He hears every word we say.  And He will judge us according to each of these things.  We cannot hide from God and we cannot escape His judgement.  
2 Peter 3:10 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night..."  
We do not know when God will come back and bring forth judgment on mankind.  In fact we have no idea.  But as Christians, we must live our life with the thinking that each day could be our last - that we could be judged at any moment.   
If the Lord returned right now - would you be ready?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

True Integrity

Most people in the world today can agree that integrity is an adherence to moral and ethical principles.  Sadly, we live in a world today where moral principles are slipping away.   Fewer and fewer people have spiritual morals that guide them in the choices that they make.  
Even "Christians"  will put their morals aside in order to fit in - whether it be in the work place, school, or even at home.  One of the traits of a follower of Christ is true integrity.  Many people will say they have integrity but when faced with peer pressure or a risk of being made fun of, they will put it aside in order to fit in.  I myself have been guilty of this, as I'm sure you have been too.
We have many biblical examples of people who displayed excellent integrity.  
In the book of Daniel we are introduced to 3 characters; Shadrach, Meshach, & Abed-Nego.  As the story shows us, these three men were threatened with a horrible death if they didn't bow down and worship the golden idol that King Nebuchadnezzar had made. 
Daniel 3:15 "... but if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace."  
Stop for a minute and put yourself in their shoes.  If somebody wanted you to do something you knew was wrong and they told you, "If you don't do this... I'll throw you in a pit of fire..."   What would you do???  
This is how Shadrach, Meshach, & Abed-Nego responded:
v. 17 "If that is the case, OUR GOD whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us from your hand, oh king." 
And as we remember the rest of the story, that is exactly what God did - He delivered them out of the fiery pit.  One important thing to see is the great rewards that were brought about from the three men's integrity.  
Because of their integrity and faith, God delivered them, but in addition, their integrity led Nebuchadnezzar praising God.  
Here is today's lesson:  When we are put in a situation to sacrifice our morals and principles in order to fit in or make somebody else happy - DON'T DO IT.   Now I'm sure a lot of people will have some kind of argument like, "Well, sure I don't agree with the things my boss does or says, but in order to get ahead at this company I have to agree with the things he says!"   
Take a step back for a second.   Who is more important in this world;  your boss or your LORD and Savior?   There is nothing more valuable to us than our souls.  And when we put our integrity aside we run the risk of our inheritance in Heaven.  Don't forget; if we miss Heaven - we've missed it all.
Always be true to God - and just like with the 3 men from Daniel chapter 3, there will always be amazing results.