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.