Monday, December 31, 2012
On a spiritual note, God really has laid on my heart the lesson of trusting in Him and making me realize once again, over and over, that there is literally nothing to hard for Him. My friend, Sam, discovered he had Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in the Fall of 2011. He and I grew up together but went somewhat separate ways when I moved to Michigan and after he went to college. When I found out this news that he was sick, I was devastated. My Mom, who is very close to Sam's mom, helped me stay in touch with anything new that occurred. I do not remember when, but Sam went through chemotherapy and they aggressively attacked the cancer and were able to get rid of the cancer. However, I was just informed a few days ago that the cancer is now back but I do not know any more details. Sam joined an organization called Imerman Angels. You can find an article here about his first experiences with this group.
I bring Sam up for this reason: even when his chances were slim and everything in his life was not going as planned, he still trusted God. In the article that I linked above, Sam wrote, "I didn't worry too much about what I was going to go through,” LiBassi says. “My mottos were: ‘It's life, you gotta deal with it and make the best of it’ and ‘Life comes at you fast, but God is sovereign.’"
Man, I wish I could say that about my life when big or small things happen to me. Sam doesn't know this but he really has been a huge role model in my life even more so recently. Why? He has challenged me to really trust God with everything. You are told to just trust God no matter what happens but how often do we do that? It's been a blessing to see a childhood friend doing what he should be doing and really seeing God's handiwork.
My Mom and I were talking about obeying God. She and I were talking about me getting into a lot of trouble when I was younger. My Mom always told me, "Sam, just obey! It's easier that way. Why don't you do that?" I always responded with a shrug. She then told me that when God asked her to do something she would give the same response as I did with her. God said to my Mom, "Why don't you just obey? It's easier that way." She shrugged like I did and said, "I don't know." This is, once again, another lesson learned in 2012. Obeying is hard. You may not get a reward here on this earth obeying God's word or even your parents for that matter but why does it matter? This is something I struggle with because I want to be rewarded here right now and yet heaven's reward is far superior to anything here on this earth.
As you look back on 2012 and look ahead, reflect on the lessons that you have learned. It may be a great learning experience and a huge encouragement. I know it was for me.
Friday, December 7, 2012
In our Christian walk, we play an important part whether that be being a witness for Christ, being a layman in the church, being an encouragement to others, or setting an example for baby Christians. No matter what part we play we need to take it to heart because it makes up a much larger picture in our lives! There was an Adventures in Odyssey episode talking about this very thing. From what I remember, there was a group of people who were part of a body whether it was a literal body or a figurative body I cannot remember but they represented the head, the arms, torso, legs, eyes, ears, etc. One person left because they felt unwanted. They felt that their part was not worth staying and just quit. The person came back a few months later to find the building they met in abandoned and broken into all in shambles. The person found the head of the body and asked what happened. He said that everyone left and got different jobs and went out of state because that person left the body. They insisted that they get everyone back together but it was too late. It was a simple analogy yet the concept, although I don't recall every single detail, was very sound and stuck with me all these years.
I hear about people committing suicide because they don't think their life is important, which is sad. Everyone needs to hear about Christ. I hear more good about mega churches and contemporary Christian music reaching people because they are totally outspoken and they know their part in life than a lot of Christians these days in very conservative churches! I particularly don't like or agree with the music of these mega churches but most of the time, their doctrine is sound and the teaching they provide is spot on! Whatever these pastors and teachers are doing in these churches needs to be known elsewhere! Many more people need to know their part in life and how to utilize it! I just feel that the love of Christ is radiating out from these people. Ultimately, it is the Lord who gives these people the drive to preach and proclaim His word. I hope that we all find our part in our Christian life and use it to the fullest extent. God gave us gifts. Let's use them to fulfill His purpose.
I hope this makes sense to all who read this. I have a lot on my mind as of late and have been very burned out because of school. Praise the Lord I am done for the semester! I am looking forward to graduating and then getting married in December of 2013! I will keep you posted with the upcoming events. Feel free to ask any questions!
Thursday, November 29, 2012
An old friend called me today. I never did pick the phone up because I was too scared but more importantly, I was in class. I broke my friendship off with my friend back in March/April after receiving a phone call from him telling me things that would change my life forever. At the time, I was not ready to hear that my best friend was gay. I was not ready to talk about it. I was not ready for my life to be completely turned upside down but it happened in a split second. I didn't know what to say other than asking God to give me the strength to know what to say. Some things I said just came out and I wish I never said them. Promises I couldn't keep at the time.
I have been battling a lot since this has happened and my spiritual life has been affected because of it, sadly. I knew that I was not letting God handle my life and I have been miserable. Yet, God knows what He is doing. I am glad I have gone through trials not because I wanted to be far from God but it was good for me to realize how much I NEED Him! What a blessing! God's timing couldn't be better since I was chatting with a very good friend of mine a few days ago on Facebook. She asked me how I was doing spiritually and I told her I was doing OK but I really needed to be closer to God. She proceeded to tell me what she did to get herself closer to God. It was tough, just like working out every days, she disciplined herself by cleaning up her music, speech, movies, and lifestyle. She took the time that she spent on other things and read the Bible instead. This really put me in my place. I really have been examining myself as of late after this. Then, today, my friend called which was honestly perfect timing.
Now, it is time for me to make things right with my friend. I do not agree with his lifestyle and he knows this but he also knows that God loves him no matter what he does in his lifetime. I don't know what will happen after our meeting whether our friendship will be rekindled, whether he gets right with God and his family or he continues on with his life. I need a lot of prayer about decisions ahead because it is a big one so I would ask you to pray for me. All in all, like I said, I am very happy this happened. It's not fun, it's scary to go into the unknown but God will get me through this. He allowed everything to work together for good and I know He will continue to do so.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
My Dad always wants to be prepared for anything. He has a BOB or bug out bag with a lot of essentials that if you do need to literally get out of the house in 5 minutes or less this is what you grab. He and I have exchanged ideas about what should be in the bag and what I should put in my own from fishing gear to space blankets and food. Very simple yet very crucial elements to survive. It's almost like planning a wedding! Oh no. ; )
Seriously, I don't know why but Christ's coming again has been on my mind quite frequently as of late. Not that it's a bad thing but it really got me thinking: am I prepared for His coming? I was humming a song called, "Are You Ready for the Trumpet?" a few days ago. You can find a Youtube video here. It really is a very powerful song. The lyrics are as follows:
The hour is approaching when the souls of man will hear
A mighty shout resounding in the sky.
In power and great glory, King Jesus will appear
And take His children home to paradise.
It will be a celebration for the ones who chose His name
But total separation for the ones who turned away.
Are you ready for the trumpet, are you ready for the call?
Soon the angels will assemble to usher in the Son of God.
Will He come and find you faithful, will He know your name at all?
Every moment brings us closer, are you ready for the call?
The Bible speaks of two men who were standing in the field
Where one is taken and one is left behind.
Two women in the kitchen, one goes and one remains
So get your house in order while there's time
In the cross there is salvation,
through the Blood there is a way
To secure your destination on resurrection day.
There's an urgency to reach the world
We have no time to waste
For within the heart of mortal man
This very question is now made
Man! It gets me all excited just hearing the lyrics and reading them again! : ) I know we are all familiar with the Bible verses that talk about Christ's second coming from 1 Thessalonians 4 to the Parables in Matthew 24 and 25. There are many more verses and passages of scripture that reference and also encourage us to be ready and always watching for the Second Coming. I know this isn't a lot of meat in this post but this has a lot of meaning behind it. What would you do differently if you knew that Christ was coming tomorrow? Are YOU ready for the trumpet?
Thursday, October 18, 2012
I have noticed more and more that we think everyone is "recycling" God's word. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, if I remember my Bible correctly, it says in Isaiah 55:10-11, "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
So, if I am reading this correctly, God's word will never return empty or void! I am not encouraging someone to "recycle" past sermons but rather to revisit those passages. I know there are some pastors who take sermons they have preached 20 or 30 years ago and preach them again. I think that is a bit of a gray area from the standpoint that you can preach the same message and have a different conclusion or hear the same message and get something different out of it but preaching should be lead by God. You shouldn't run out of ideas and then have to use past sermons because the Bible is full of lessons to learn. I have read my Bible several times and am always refreshed when I read a passage and something brand new jumps out at me! That's exciting!
I understand that it get's discouraging sometimes to read the Bible whether it be because you don't want to or like I said, you've read the passage over and over again for a Bible study and just have beaten it to death and really are not expecting to take anything brand new away from it. This is why we as Christians always have to have an open heart and mind while reading God's word. If you don't, it's as if we're reading just some book that is merely for pleasure than to grow in Christ. So, the next time your pastor preaches a sermon you heard a thousand times or you come to a passage you know by heart or those genealogies in the Bible, don't turn the preacher off or skip those passages, listen to God and keep an open heart and mind. God will speak to you. I guarantee it.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
This entire job loss, though, was really a test of my faith. I was doing an exegesis paper for my OT class. I selected my paper on the binding of Isaac because I thought it would be simple. God had other plans. You see, this paper was due Thursday and the meeting I had was that night. While I was working on the paper, I got a call from my boss. She told me she wanted to talk to me. I was freaking out wondering what was wrong. I finished the exegesis paper, turned it in, ran into a teacher who I absolutely loved because he was so kind and generous, and went to my last class for the evening never really thinking anything of the paper or the teacher. I was, however, panicking because of the phone call. I went to the meeting, my boss talked to me, told me the story, and I went home. I told my parents what happened and we prayed. As soon as I started praying, the gears started to turn. I thought of the paper I just wrote. I thought about how much faith and trust it took for Abraham to take Isaac, his ONLY son, as God puts it "your only son whom you love", and put him on the altar to sacrifice him. No questions asked. Only, faith, trust, and obedience. Awesome. I was literally blown away as I was praying and all I could think about was how blessed I was. God gave me the strength to really focus on the tasks at hand. He gave me the faith and I trusted Him. I obeyed Him. Has it been rough for the past several days getting grips on reality? Of course! Do I worry about my coworkers and what they think of me because I am gone? Of course! I really don't need to because ultimately, God knows best. For that, I am humbly grateful for His understanding, mercy, and grace.
God puts trials into our lives to make us stronger, to increase our faith, our trust, our obedience. Don't look at the bad times as punishment as the world says we need to. There are countless stories in the Bible about God's children having their faith and trust increased from Job losing everything and his friends trying to make him doubt God to David, the man after God's own heart, and the many tragedies that he had in the Bible. Never give up on God because He never gave up on you.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
I've recently got into archery as a hobby. I really want to get outdoors more especially since work and school are sucking my life away, which is frustrating. I don't want to spend my extra curricular time hiding away in my bedroom watching Netflix or whatnot. Well, this particular bow is meant for bowfishing, a sport where you spear the fishing with an arrow attached to a string. There is no catch and release. You shoot to kill. It is legal in most states and people go bowfishing for carp and gar most of the time. I know down in the flats of Florida and other saltwater states, they go for stingray, flatfish, and other fish. Enough of that boring explanation.
This particular bow is a recurve bow. I have not shot a lot of bows in my life much less a recurve but it was inexpensive ($140 with all the fishing gear included, which is extremely cheap for a bow) and I wanted to try my hand at it. Well, after I bought it at Cabela's I went to the River Raisin at some small park called West County Park close to Dundee. Well, I went fly fishing there a few weeks earlier for carp and knew that this was the end of the season for them. I wanted to get in a few catches before the season for carp in the area was over. Well, when I got to the park, I set the bow up and walked to the spot where I was last time. I saw carp and was thrilled! First shot into the water broke the string attached to the arrow and the arrow smashed into a fallen log in the water. The carp, immune to falling branches and such, were probably laughing at me. I literally NEVER shot a bow until that day! So, I had to retrieve the arrow, which was the worst part (maybe best for some of you). I stripped down to my boxers and t-shirt and went in almost chest deep water to retrieve the arrow. *sigh* After that, I practiced a couple of times shooting into the water and into a tree to see the flight path of the arrow. Needless to say, I lost that same arrow and had to go back into the water to find it searching blindly in my underwear. That was loads of fun. *sarcastic*
People who profess Christ as Lord may not be Christians. They are not hitting the mark just as I did with the bow and arrow. They try and try and try but fail every time. These people may be Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, or some other religious group. They may call themselves religious and not claim to be a denomination. They all claim to be children of God but may not be saved. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus talks about these people who missed the mark by a mile. He says, "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'" Scary...Depart from Me...I never knew you. You can do as many good works as you want yet be so far from Christ's salvation because you think you can get to heaven by doing good works. Nope, that's not how it works. Titus 3:5 states "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit...." This act of thinking you can get to heaven by works is a sin. Why? Because anything that is not following God's will is a sin. This also goes for anyone who IS a Christian but does not obey God. They keep trying it their way and fail and fail and fail. They are rebelling against God. In your life, are you hitting the target? Are you able to safely say that I am a child of God? If so, are you doing what God has commanded and following Him? Or are you "missing the mark?"
Sunday, September 9, 2012
I guess my point is all about submission in a relationship. A weird topic because usually submission happens in marriage. Well, I heard a message this morning about wives submitting to their husbands. My pastor took verses from Ephesians 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18-19. Ephesians 5:22-24 says, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything." Colossians 3:18-19 says, "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them."
It says in Ephesians 5:24 that how the church submits to Christ so should the wife submit to their husbands. Now, let's look at the underlying message there. We are not REQUIRED to submit to Christ as a church. I can be saved and be living in sin and not submit. I submit to Christ because I love Him. With this being said, the next part of the verse clearly states the answer to how a wife should submit. If the wife loves the Lord, she will submit to her husband. I need to rant for a second. Sometimes, I really hate the English language. For instance, I really have a problem using the word "submit" because we have given it such a bad definition i.e. you must do everything that your husband says you must do. We have such a narrow definition of the word submit when it has End of rant. Going back to what I was saying, this is a very touchy subject. People in the churches these days take the verse the wrong way and want their wives to literally obey them as if they were slaves, which is wrong. I will say this though, which is very difficult to those of you who are married and have husbands who are unsaved. In 1 Peter 3:1-5, Paul says that a wife should be submissive to her husband even if he is an unbeliever so that her actions will speak louder than words to bring him to Christ. Wow! Now that is tough! Paul continues to say that you should not make yourself beautiful just on the outside but on the inside as well. Verses 3 and 4 says, "Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." Paul nails it when he writes these two verses. So, you should not only dress well as to avoid unwanted attention from other men except for your husbands but also be kind and affectionate and godly, being Christ-like to show your unsaved husband that Christ does in fact live in you!
I know this is not everything. I could go very in depth on this subject but I do not have time nor am I a Biblical scholar enough to write extensively on the subject. If you are in the mood or in need of more light on the subject, go here to obtain a more in-depth view on the entire chapter of Ephesians 5.
Also, the reason why I was thinking about all of this even before my pastor spoke on this is because, Lord willing, I will be engaged soon to my girlfriend of 2 years, Lauren. I ask that you would pray for me as well as for her as we both strive to please Him but also struggle with pure thoughts even now. Pray that the Lord would help us be victorious in the battles ahead. We appreciate any prayer that you pray for us. I will keep you all posted on the engagement. : ) God bless.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Since all great ideas form in the shower, I was thinking this evening before work about why I go to church. As a 22 year-old guy, my parents feel as if I am not under their rule per se all that much. Now, granted, I am living at home and they EXPECT of me to do certain things, i.e. get up at a reasonable hour, don't run around the house naked, invite hippie freak girls over the house without their permission, you know, the little things.
As I started to think more and more about this idea, I realized that, sometimes, I go to church for the wrong reasons. Sometimes I don't feel like going to church to get a fulfillment from God but to have a good time with my friends. Sometimes I go to church to please my parents or to please God, which is foolish since God knows my thoughts. It then struck me that it has been a tradition of ours to go to church whenever the doors have been open. I know it is bold to say "tradition," but just think about it. I mean really, when your boss says, "Hey, what are you doing on Sunday?" Most of the time, you say, "Oh, I am going to church." Its' not, "I'm gonna sleep in, get up, mess around for a couple of hours until the football game, have some friends over for steaks and then go to bed." No, USUALLY, in a Christian home, the whole family goes to church.
What does the Bible say about going to church? If you are part of a church that you go to faithfully, even if you are not a member, like me, you are still part of the body of believers! Hebrews 10:25 says, "Not forsaking our own assemblies, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day draw near." The Bible says to be in a relationship with other believers to be encouraged and also to encourage as the last days draw near. What else does the Bible say? In Romans 12:5, we belong to each other. "So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." This is great since we need to grow in the faith, practice forgiveness, and learn how to serve others. Another great point that the Bible makes is in Ephesians 4:2. "With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another, in love." If we didn't fellowship with other believers, we wouldn't grow as we ought. We learn gentleness, humility, and patience, developing a Christ-like spirit as we fellowship in the body of Christ. There are many more points to look at but I believe that this is the greatest. If we are to be like Christ, we should do what He did when He walked this earth. He went to church, too. Luke 4:16 states it clearly: "And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read." People, this was Jesus's CUSTOM - a normal practice of His - to go to church! I am very sure that if Jesus met with fellow believers to encourage and to also be encouraged, shouldn't we do the same, for the right reasons?
Friday, August 24, 2012
So, this evening, I had to go to work. I am at work currently but sitting with a patient but I will get to that part. So, I was wandering the house working on cleaning up the computer room, ordering books for my classes, doing everything BUT sleeping! All the while, I was devising a scheme to get out of working. The problem with this was everything that I was thinking of was a lie, which was wrong, obviously. So, I laid down and slept for a bit tossing and turning, thinking still about what I could do or say to work so I could call off. Eventually, I got up and I was talking to a friend on Skype. I was complaining saying that I *really* didn't want to go to work...He told me to call off but then said that he never did. It was a good work ethic to not do that. Well, let me tell you. I am very glad I didn't call off. It would have been wrong and I would have lied not only to the people at work but to everyone else including my parents. I got to work and a few hours later, I was called to sit in the ICU. Nothing major but I honestly believe the Lord blessed me because I did right.
It's hard to do the right thing especially when you don't feel like it. I look back at Daniel 1-3 where the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is told. Pretty amazing once you think about it. I know we have all heard the story before but it truly is amazing! Not only were they captured and sent to a strange land, they kept obeying God even when the consequences were death. They never ate of the king's meat nor did they bow down to the false gods. When they were thrown into the furnace, which was so hot that the men who opened the furnace were consumed by fire, God put His loving arms around them.
I know my situation was not deadly but I could have been fired for falsifying information. It was a good reminder for me to keep doing right even when it is hard. You never know who is watching. As I write this, I think of Daniel himself as he prayed three times a day with his windows open never keeping his talks with the Lord a secret. He did right and was thrown into the lion's den for doing right! Once again, God protected His children. I think about the Patch the Pirate song, Do Right. Here are some of the lyrics:
From the very start, have purpose in your heart
To do what's right, and never question why
Never count the cost though everything seems lost
The price for doing right is sometimes very high
Right is always right and wrong is always wrong
And we must learn to seperate the two.
If you love the right, the Lord will give you light;
So seek the right in everything you do!
I really like the words, "If you love the right, the Lord will give you light; So seek the right in everything you do!" This world is corrupt and the pressure to sin is all around us. Keep on seeking His face through constant prayer and scripture reading. When those temptations arise to do wrong, look on those verses you read or learned and ask God to give you that strength to overcome those obstacles in your life. Seek the right in everything you do!
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I took a shower, got dressed, packed my things for work in case I got called in, and took off for evening church at one of the church member's houses. We had some fellowship time before we gathered for a devotional and prayer time. One of the deacons spoke on Psalm 119:41-48. He talked about how we are free in Christ because of His mercy and grace. It was a great little discussion but what was the biggest blessing was the praises. There were numerous praises regarding people being lead to Christ or having opportunities to lead people to Christ by planting seeds. I told my brothers and sisters in Christ about the vehicle and how God allowed me to be called off of work this evening. It was so great to share the blessings and hear other blessings tonight. We went to prayer and once again, I was blessed by the requests that were brought before the Lord. It is great to pray with others to really talk to God with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
The night wore on and I took my leave. I got home and, after talking to my parents, we both went to bed. I ended up getting called in around 10:30 this evening but the point is I was able to go to church! Even through all of this, the Lord blessed my wishes and answered my prayer! I was talking to a nurse this morning saying, "I hope I get called off so I can go to church this evening!" It really is so cool how the Lord blesses His children. Whether good or bad, the Lord is good, all the time.
Has there been a time in your life that you have been blessed unexpectedly in the good times and bad? Please, I encourage you to share those happenings in the comments below.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
I went to church today when I honestly did not want to. I came back from a bachelor party after my friends and I got rained out. Yes, we were stupid and were fishing in a thunderstorm where the lightning lit up the sky red. It was scary. All in all, it was a memory I will never forget. As we were sitting there fishing for the big catfish that lay in the shallows of good old Lake Erie, I was zoning in and out about my spiritual walk. I kept asking myself, "Does my life reflect Christ?" I was asking myself this because I honestly have been really struggling walking with the Lord. I feel that I do not talk about God all that often. This is not to say that this will get me to Heaven or get me anywhere as far as spiritually goes but it is good to talk about God with others and I have missed that very much. You know, having a heart-to-heart talk with your best friend about God. I know when I talk about God and talk to the Lord that definitely helps me in my spiritual life. It really gives me something to think about. What's better than talking about God? : )
I went to church this morning, like I said, not wanting to go. As awful as this sounds, I was even scheming ways I could get out of going or just go somewhere for a while so my Dad wouldn't know that I didn't go to church. Well, after much debating with myself, I went. It was raining and I really couldn't focus all that well since it was raining quite hard. I didn't want to focus on God. I turned off my music so I could just focus on driving. I got to church a bit late and went to Sunday School. Bam! First blessing. We talked about evangelism. What a blessing! I was beginning to cheer up because this is what I wanted to talk about, what I wanted and needed to hear. Talk of God and even better leading people to Christ! There were several questions that were asked that were quite challenging and yet the teacher answered them quite well. This encouraged me greatly to know that, even though he was not the pastor, he knew exactly what to say and when to say it. Everything about the message or lesson really hit home. It really began to get
me back on track.
Next, was the service itself. It started out with singing about God and then we had communion. Awesome! : ) Another thing to help me focus on the Lord! Then the speaker came up and talked about Jesus and how we follow Him day by day and how we should put our complete trust in Him. At the end of the service, I was very happy. Why? Because we were talking about God.
We as children of God should be talking about Jesus with each other. It encourages us and helps us to understand Him better because we communicate our own ideas with each other which then allows us to get a better understanding of how we think individually. Hey, it helped me get through the Lord's day with a great attitude! : ) It's so cool how just talking about God makes you filled with the goodness of Him to reflect His love and light. I find I am a happier person when I talk about God with someone else because, as I said before, I see their ideas about Him, how they worship Him in their own way, and we can share the more intimate moments that we had with God with each other. It really is an uplifting time for all.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
I was confronted by some past sin recently and was then directed, by God, to focus on an old Patch the Pirate when he goes down under to Australia. I vaguely remember the premise of the story. Something about a wombat going in some spaceship, one of the crew members getting a buzz cut by a boomerang, some talking kangaroos that could punch people and even some of the crew sleeping in her pouch with her son, you guessed it, Joey. I know there were life lessons in the songs about forgiveness (Maybe? Forgive me, it's been a decade since I last listened to it) but the one song that stuck out to me the most was someone said something about Joseph running from sin. They sang the song "Put On Your Running Shoes." It spoke of Joseph having control over all of Potiphar's household except for Potiphar's wife. When Potiphar's wife was tempting Joseph, he "put on his running shoes."
As simple as that is, it is really good. Running from sin sometimes is quite difficult. My cousin and I were talking about sin and what sin or sins affects our life the most. The sins that affect me the most are music and keeping myself sexually pure. I have a past with both music and lusting (being very frank here). I am a guy and the lust of the flesh and eyes is ever prevalent. I personally feel that music can and will cause a hindrance in your spiritual walk with God but I am not here to talk about convictions and whatnot.
My point is this: I sin often. For crying out loud, I sin every day! When I attended Bob Jones, my PC (prayer captain) said to our prayer group one night, "Tomorrow, I want you all to focus on what you are saying and thinking. Write down every time you sinned or were half way through sinning. That way, you are conscious about what you are saying, thinking, and doing so you are less prone to sin." This was a great idea. Hard but a great idea nevertheless. To tie this into what I was saying previously, I bring this up to say this: how conscious or how aware are we of us sinning? Do we know we are sinning and let it slide or do we go around everywhere we go thinking about what we are going to say, do, and think and then act accordingly if it is a sin? No. That's difficult but we should. Then, when we are subconsciously tempted or tempted outright, we can run far away from that temptation when it knocks at our door.
So, what to take away from this? To sum things up, do your best to be consciously aware of sin before creeps up on you and the temptation becomes too great for you to handle. That sounds terrible but you need to be honest with yourself. God can protect you, yes but don't expect to win at the last minute. It's like you're playing basketball, it's the 4th quarter and you're down by 15 points. The coach doesn't say with 10 seconds left in the game, "Okay guys, I know you have not played your hardest and we haven't put in our best player yet but since it's almost game over, I guess we can play our hardest and put in the best player on our team to try to win this game." NO! You don't ever hear a coach say that! That's the same thing with dealing with sin! Yes, it's difficult to battle sin but it is worth it all in the end. I challenge you to do what my prayer captain said to us that night: to focus on what you are saying, thinking, and doing so you can see how much you sin and how much you need to run from sin. It WILL open your eyes to how much sin is in our lives and how much we desperately need a Saviour!
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Father, Where Shall I Work Today?
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then He pointed me out a tiny spot,
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh, no, not that.
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me!”
And the word He spoke, it was not stern,
He answered me tenderly,
“Ah, little one, search that heart of thine;
Art thou working for them or me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee.”