Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Requirement To Others - Our Requirement to Ourselves

Paul writes in Galatians 6:1-5;

"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself - lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in one another. For each one shall bear his own load."

In this passage, Paul gives us some wise words of how we need to handle the burdens of our fellow brethren in addition to our own burdens. We know that we have a responsibility to help and encourage other brethren - and as Christians, we try to do that as much as we can. However, sometimes, we get so caught up in the lives of others - that we forget about our own. Paul reminds us in this passage that we must keep ourselves in check and "bear our own load." These are both areas that we could probably work on in our Christian lives.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Developing Desire

Remember the feeling you had when you first obeyed the Gospel? You were "on fire" for God! You felt as if nothing could stop you and all you wanted to do was serve God and learn more about His word. Has your flame "died down" since then? Has your desire to learn more about God lessened?

What can we do to develop our desire again? Here's a few suggestions;

1) Remember your life source. (1 Peter 2:1) If we don't crave the word - then we've forgotten. Remember how spiritually blessed you are - Heb. 12:5 - God's word is JUST as powerful today as it was when we first obeyed.

2) Eliminate sin from your life. When you're filthy, you take off your dirty clothes and put clean ones on - do that with the sin in your life. Sin will keep you from the bible but the BIBLE will keep you from sin!

3) Admit your need. (1 Peter 2:2) When a newborn baby cries, it is longing for milk - they KNOW they need it. We should long for the word because we KNOW we need it.

4) Lastly, we have to PURSUE our growth. We cannot become spiritually malnourished. Remember was Paul said in 1 Timothy? - " ... you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following."
We need to constantly be nourished on the words of faith.

Are you content spiritually? We should never be... We should always be trying to build up our desire.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why We Shouldn't Want to Sin (pt. 3)

One final thing that should make us NOT want to sin is the fact that sin's consequences are eternal, and they can cause us to miss Heaven.

It's important to know that our sinful actions can have serious consequences. We're warned of this by Paul is 2 Thess. 1:7-10. When we sin, we put ourselves in danger of having to face the wrath and the vengeance of God.

That verse also warns us of the possibility of missing Heaven. We can't let sin stand between us and getting to Heaven. There are so many glorious things waiting for us there one day and we'll be so sad if we miss out on them.

The thought of missing Heaven should be something that stays in our mind and drives the desire to sin out of us.

Why I Shouldn't Want to Sin (pt. 2)

Last night we looked a little bit about why we shouldn't want to sin because it hurts the One who loves us.

Another reason why we shouldn't want to sin is that it cuts us off from God.

When we sin, we're walking in darkness and John tells us in 1 John 1:5 "God is the light and in Him there is no darkness at all. - If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. "

Is. 59:12 tells us; "But your inequities have separated you from God and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear."

It's a scary thing to thing about us being cut off from God when we sin... but that's the truth. There's absolutely no way that we can walk with God while practicing sinful activities at the same time.

We also know and remember what Romans 6:23 tells us about this subject: "For the wages of sin are death." This is a spiritual death which will be an eternal death in Hell - which God will have no part in. The thought of being eternally "cut off" from God's love should drive the desire to sin right out of us.

Let us always think about how awful it is to be cut off from God and His love.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why I Shouldn't Want to Sin.

It's very easy to fall into temptation. Let's face it - it's something that we deal with everyday. Sometimes, the temptations are more trying than other times - and somedays, we're able to withstand them without any problems.

But I was trying to think of some ways that I could make it easier to resist the temptation to sin... And I'll share a couple over the next few days.

The first reason why I should want to resist temptation is:

I know sin hurts the One who loves me the most. Obviously God doesn't want to see any of His children fall - and when we do, it definitely pains Him. We often lose sight of the fact that God has feelings that can easily be hurt - like ours (Gen 1:26 - we were made in His image).

We need to reach the point that we WANT to avoid sin at all costs because we know how much it hurts our Lord to see us fall. John 3:16 tells us that He loved us so much and He gave us His only son so that we could have the chance of Heaven one day. And yet, we still hurt Him over and over again by transgressing His law.

more to come...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"American Idolatry"

I was browsing the internet today and I came across this article and I thought it was pretty interesting! - Thought I'd share it for today's thoughts:

One of the most popular TV shows in this country is called American Idol. Ever since it first aired, I've jokingly referred to it as American Idolatry. I say jokingly, because we understand that an "idol" doesn't necessarily carry the same meaning as it did in ancient times.

Today, when most people think of the term "idol", they might think of a person, someone who is greatly admired, or looked upon as a role model. Back when I was younger, if you asked me, I would tell you that my favorite baseball player, Ken Griffey Jr., was my idol. He wasn't someone I worshiped as a god, but someone I greatly admired.

That said, what about the basic (and Biblical) definition of an idol, an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed, (cf. Lev. 26:1) does this have any bearing on our lives today?

I mean, America is "one nation under God", where the primitive practice of idolatry is long gone, right? So we can just ignore any New Testament passages warning of the sin of idolatry (Gal. 5:20; 1 Cor. 10:14 "flee idolatry"; 1 Jn. 5:21 "keep yourselves from idols") because that's not really a problem today, right?

I would argue that today, perhaps more than ever, we have a problem with idolatry in this country. Our "American Idols" are not so much statues of wood or stone (cf. Isa. 37:19; Dan. 5:4, 23; Acts 17:29), but a number of things to which Americans devote themselves, and ultimately place before God (cf. Ex. 20:3-5; Deut. 6:14).

We need to be mindful and careful of the things that we give our time and attention to.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Foolish Man

Proverbs 26:11 says, "As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a man repeats his own stupidity."

How true is this verse! The thought of a dog throwing up is not a pleasing one... And if you've ever seen it happen - it's not pretty to see either. Well, the thought of sin should bring the same kind of reaction as a dog throwing up... It's disgusting.

But how often do we sin or do something that we know is wrong, feel really guilty afterward, and then let ourselves do the sin again a few days/weeks/hours later? That's exactly what this verse is talking about. When we repent of our sinful actions, we need to commit to that and fully repent - and not return to that sin.

So let's not be like the dog that returns to his vomit... if/when we sin, let us see how horrible and disgusting that is to God - and turn completely away from that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Word From The Psalms

David wrote in Psalm 37; (paraphrased) "Do not fret because of evil doers. Nor be envious of the workers of inequity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good... Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord and trust also in Him. And He shall bring it to pass... Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him... Do not fret - it only causes harm. For evil doers shall be cut off - but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth..."

There's a lot of wise words in this Psalm from David. It's very easy to become distracted by other people in this world. We see other people prospering and driving fancy cars and living expensive lifestyles, and we say, "Man. Why can't I have/drive/live like that?" And sometimes those thoughts consume us... and we lose sight on what is really important. David is saying here that we shouldn't put our focus in the people around us... but we need to be delighting in the Lord and committing to Him - and everything we need will be taken care of. It's a refreshing and wonderful thought that we need to remind ourselves of every now and again.

We can't love this world. We can't love stuff. We can't want to have somebody else's lifestyle... But we can and we NEED to be loving God and fully committed to Him and His Will for us. That is what is going to truly make us happy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Some Thoughts on Prayer

Prayer is about God - not about us. Too often, when we pray, we are only concerned with our own wants and needs and wanting God to hear those things and take care of them. The desires that we bring to God in prayer need to be desires that have to do with His Glory, Purposes, and His Will.

It's very easy to say a prayer to God and ONLY talk about ourselves in that prayer. "please be with me... Please help me... Please give me... Please forgive me..." However, it's a little bit more difficult to say a prayer where we ONLY talk about God and His goodness.

Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

To "seek first" this Kingdom of God, it means that we lay aside our own demands and simply trust God to give us what we need. He knows what we want. He knows what we need - and He's going to take care of those things. In the meantime, we need to give Him the glory and praise He deserves.

Let's try to be less selfish when we pray and let's try to focus on what God wants us to be praying for.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reminding Ourselves of What Is Right

As Christians, as we attempt to grow spiritually each and everyday, - a good part of our growth comes from being reminded of what we already know. Of course we need to be studying and learning new things and facts about God's Word, but the truth is that most of us already know most of the things that are needed to have a relationship with God. What happens though, is that we don't always KEEP THOSE THINGS IN MIND - so it's very important to "refresh" our minds.

Think back to days of high school or college - and remember when you had a test in a certain subject. Most likely, you studied quite a bit for that test or exam - and probably did well on it. Now, if you were asked to take one of those same exams today, would you remember anything? - Most likely, not so much... because you haven't been refreshing your brain on that material.

That's what happens with our spiritual knowledge. We all study/have studied God's word before. And we probably know it fairly well. However, like any other material we study, if we don't constantly refresh ourselves and study it over again, we're more likely to forget it and not apply it to our lives.

Peter says in 2 Peter 1:12 "For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you." So even Peter knew the importance of being spiritually reminded on a regular basis.

Studying God's word on a daily basis and reminding ourselves of things that we probably already know is so important. We become foolish when we think we know God's word "well enough." There's always more to learn and we can always use a reminder.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How Do I Grow In The Love of God?

Matthew 22:36-38 ""Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to them, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind - This is the first and great commandment.""

Sometimes we lose sight of the fundamentals in our life. - A main one being our love for God. We must learn to love God more each and every day. Loving God means praising and glorifying Him - in everything that we do. In our thoughts, our words, our actions - everything we do!

Loving God means we have an obedience to His will. John 14:15, Jesus says, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." and then in verse 21, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. - And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

How do we manifest our love for God? - We do it through praising and glorifying Him, in keeping His commandments and obeying him, and ALSO through loving the Truth. 2 Peter 3:18 says, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..."
We show God our love by growing in the knowledge of His Word and meditating on it daily.

We need to let God know how much we really do love Him.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our True Character

Proverbs 27:19 "As in water, face reflects face, So a man's heart reveals the man."

You ever hear the saying, "Your true character is who you are when nobody else is around?" I believe that statement is very accurate. It's easy to appear one way to somebody or a group of people and then act entirely different when we're by ourselves.

A very common problem that a lot of Christians face is this; they have no problem acting like a die hard - true hearted Christian when others are around, but when they're alone, they tend to not act/think like a Christian at all. We need to work hard at not letting this happen in our lives.

If we are displaying to others that we have Christ in our lives, we need to be true to that - at all times (not just around others). We need to closely keep ourselves in check when we're alone to make sure our hearts and minds are staying true to God.

Our hearts reveal who we are - we need to have a heart that is on fire for God.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Standing Up For What's Right

As I was sitting here this evening contemplating about what to write - I really couldn't get my mind off of a situation that I was faced with in the last couple days. This is certainly going to be different than my usual entries, but I thought that somebody could maybe find it encouraging - so here goes...

Recently, I auditioned for the main role in a short film about a guy named Shepard. I ended up getting the part and committing to the role. Over the weekend, there was a table read in which all the cast got together and looked over the script. At the table read I noticed that there were a couple scenes in which my character had to say the words "hell" and "dammit." Obviously I immediately got uncomfortable about what I had gotten myself into.

After I got home from the table read, I felt sick about it and all I kept thinking was, "What do I do about this?" After taking the afternoon to think about it, I decided to email the director. In my email, I expressed my concern about the issue - letting him know that I felt uncomfortable swearing on or off camera. I asked him if it would be possible to just change the few lines that had cursing it in and just go from there.

The director finally got back to me late this evening. His said in his email that he decided to re-cast the role of Shepard. It was definitely not the reaction I expected but immediately I felt a burden lifted from me. Even though he sounded rather disappointed in me, I knew that I had done the right thing. To the world, something like this seems ridiculous - and I'm sure it did to him. But as Christians, things like that need to be a big deal. - they need to be an immediate "red-flag." They need to make us uncomfortable.

Nothing is worth sacrificing our spiritual integrity for...

I hope and pray that my email and my stance on the issue will maybe have some kind of influence on the director and crew - you never know.

I apologize for the different format in tonight's entry, but like I said, maybe it can be an encouragement to somebody.