The Rebelution The Modesty Survey

Friday, June 29, 2012

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Well, it has been a while since I posted: over two weeks to be exact. I have been thinking about a lot of things to write about and really a lot has come to mind but I have been so busy that I have not been able to sit down and actually write something.

One thing that has been on my mind a lot is friendship. Recently, I lost my best friend. Not in some car accident but, to spare the details and to introduce what I am going to talk about, he is living a lifestyle that, in accordance to the Bible, forces me to, if you will, de-friend him. He told me he was a homosexual. This is very sad because we were great friends. He encouraged me in the Lord, we loved to goof off, go fishing, talk about video games, and write silly stories. We really had a deep connection. When the lifestyle he pursued was introduced, it took me by surprise. I had not spoken to him for several weeks if not a month because he was acting strange. I felt that he was hindering my walk with Christ and I felt that I should distance myself but still keep in contact periodically. I was driving to work so broken-hearted because of issues going on in my life that I called him, sobbing. He stopped me and said, "Sam, stop crying. I need to tell you something very important." Through the tears he told me flat out that he was gay. My heart sank. It sank so low that I wanted to rip things apart and scream and cry at him and tell him if it was because of me then I would do anything for him to not be homosexual. Then, everything changed in a split second. The love of Christ coursed through my veins, pouring out of my mouth. This was nothing short of a miracle. I told him I did not support his lifestyle but I would continue to pray for him. I went to work that night very sad. It was a really rough night.

In any tough situation, especially like this you must seek council. I did which was probably the best move I could ever make. This did bring my focus back to the Lord, which was great but Satan really got a foothold in my life. But let's get to my point in all of this: why I chose to stop being his friend. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 clearly states my argument for me not being friends with him anymore: I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

Yep, it's a toughie....Yet, the Bible CLEARLY states that as a Christian, I should not associate myself with another Christian who is living an immoral lifestyle, like my friend is. It was and still is very tough to come to the realization that he and I cannot be friends anymore because he is saved or claims to be and is a homosexual. He knows the truth, he knows Christ as his Saviour, he has gone to church all his life, he has grown up in a good, godly, Christian home, and yet he has been told my the world that he is acting like a gay man because of what his interests are. This is not talking about people who don't know Christ because we can still be a light in their life and be a witness.

What do we do in these situations? For me, as well as everyone else should, I prayed, got counseling, I prayed some more, sought counseling some more, read scripture and was seeking God for answers. After this all happened, I really did have to evaluate who my friends were and also my life. What was/am I doing wrong as a Christian that could potentially make a fellow Christian stumble? I dislike it and still dislike evaluating and seeking what is best for my Christian walk. I dislike that I find so many problems but I do my best to correct those mistakes I have made and stop those things that may be a potential problem. 

This is a large pill to swallow especially since that these are friends we are talking about. Please, if there is a friend of yours that, according to the verses that Paul wrote, is living that sort of lifestyle and they are saved or claim to be saved, pray about it, seek counsel, and then make your decision. You may be the only Jesus they see.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Being A God Fanatic

Whether it be your favorite football, baseball, basketball, or soccer team, you have dedication to your favorite sports team. Granted, I know not all of you love sports, like myself, but just think of something you love or look at someone who has that kind of dedication to a sports team for the illustration. : ) You, as the sports fan, take time to look up the scores, check out the stats of the particular player that you find amazing. You may have memorabilia around your house or room or even in your car showing your love for that team. You buy season tickets to the Superbowl, world cup, world series, and whatnot to cheer for your team, that is if they made it….erm…moving on. You love your team and this is why you have such dedication to them. In the book of Psalms, David writes about how much he is a God fanatic. Psalms is filled with praises, hymns, and spiritual songs about the Lord! Psalm 99:1-3 states, “The LORD reigns, let the people tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake! The LORD is great in Zion, and He is exalted above the peoples. Le them praise Your great and awesome name; Holy is He.” 

WOW! Let the people tremble? He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake? Sounds like one awesome guy! He is not just any guy! He is the LORD God Almighty who made us and we are His people! God is far better than any sports team in the world! We give sports far more praise than we do to our God. Continuing in Psalm 99, verses 4-9 state, “The strength of the King loves justice; you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; Holy is He! Moses and Aaron were among the priests, and Samuel was among those who called on His name; they called upon the Lord and He answered them. He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept His testimonies and the statute that He gave them. O LORD our God, You answered them, and yet an avenger of their evil deeds. Exalt the LORD our God and worship at His holy hill, for holy is the LORD our God.” What really makes me jump up and shout is that David mentions Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. All three of these men praised Him and cried out to God for deliverance. The Bible then says, “They called on the LORD and He ANSWERED them.”
That is so awesome! I know the Lord hears our prayers and our praises but to once again, see the Lord working is truly amazing. So very encouraging! Psalm 100 states, “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” 

Notice the emphasis on LORD? Yep, that’s a lot of power behind that! Shout joyfully to the Lord. When was the last time you praised the Lord on your own? Take out that Christian CD that you listen to ALL the time and have silence and just worship the Lord in song on your own! Sing those songs with meaning, slowly, thinking of the words! I used to get frustrated in church since the director used to sing slowly. Until around 6 months ago, I realized why we did this: to, as I just stated, think about what we are singing. To give the focus to Him and not on ourselves as the worshipers. The LORD deserves our praise and so much more! Why can we not give Him our praise for it is the least that we can do after He has not only created us but also saved us and given us so many great things. Sing to the Lord a joyful song, sing to the Lord, your voices raise! Sing to the Lord a joyful song, a song of love and glorious praise, for He is LORD of Heaven and earth. Angels serve and saints adore. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to whom be praised forever more! Give Him the praise, give Him the glory and honor that He deserves. This is my prayer for you, as the reader. Give thanks to Him and bless His Holy name.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Patience is a Virtue

It frustrates me whenever I am driving to school that there are cars that are in front of me that want to get around these trucks. I laugh at them since when they do pass one or two cars at a time, they get to the traffic light and it is red. Them passing the truck did nothing to help them get to their destination any faster! In fact, it wasted time and money! They wasted their time by blowing past the semi and wasted thei r money on the gas that they spent going around the truck only to get a few feet ahead and get stopped. To me, this sounds a lot like my life in school or better yet, my Christian walk sometimes. I want to get done with school for the day, I want to get through my devotions, I want to get married, I want to have a job, etc. There are so many things wrong with this picture. The most important is my patience with the Lord. My life verse and a very famous verse in the Bible is Isaiah 40:31 which states, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Well, obviously, whenever I want to be done with school right then and there, whenever I want to be married or in a relationship and NOT be content where I am at that current moment, that is really destroying my faith in God which then, in turn, opens doors for Satan’s minions. Yes, I know that is kind of extreme and I know that Satan and his minions do not attack us right away but in all reality, it is true. Granted, I am not blaming Satan or his demons for our lack of trust or the way we act. It is human nature. We are born sinners. The bottom line is it is a trust issue with the Lord. We do not trust the Lord enough to give all our anxienties and all our cares to Him to take care of. Yes, it is so hard to give those problems to the Lord whether it be our job, our love life, our time management and whatnot. This is why it is so important to read scripture and to HIDE it in our hearts (memorize it) but more importantly talk to the Lord! Once again, keep short accounts! You may say, “Well, Sam, this seems redundant!” Well, it is what we are SUPPOSED to do! Pray, seek His face, search the scriptures daily like the Bereans, trust in the Lord with all of our heart. If only we could believe the Bible and see that everything worked out for good and be like Joseph or Daniel. Both of these men prayed constantly. They did not have a pocket New Testament to read to encourage them yet they are far more spiritual and had a better walk with God than any pastor I know! Why is this? Because they TRUSTED God! They WAITED on Him! They walked with Him, talked with Him, had fellowship with Him, had short accounts with Him, were not afraid of the men who threatened their lives since it was God who told their ending and not men.
Yes, it is so hard to trust in the Lord, to have that patience but we must even when our faith is so small! My prayer for you, as the reader, is to take away from this that this is not redundancy. It is but another life lesson filled with the same things that we have learned as children in Sunday School: to trust God and to give Him our lives fully, 100%. Trusting God, as we know, comes with prayer and dedication to Him. It does not come overnight just as getting physically stronger does not come after 2 or 3 workout sessions. If you have patience and trust the Lord, I promise you, you will see Him move mountains.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Who are You?

For the past week or so, I have been thinking about relationships between people. We go throughout our day, chatting with folks whether it be online, a few minutes here and there in class, or on the phone. Some of these people you may not really know such as your classmates but others , such as your parents or siblings, you know very well. Why is this? Why do you know some people better than others? It may be obvious since you live and breathe your family. Let’s say, though, that your family is just like anyone of your classmates, however. The only difference between the classmates and your family is that your siblings and parents have written autobiographies of their lives up until certain points in their lives. You read these biographies to get a feel for their lives, their hurt, love, humor, eating habits, dislikes and likes, and so much more. Yet, you never really sat down and chatted with them since you are “too busy.” You are always making an excuse when they ask you to chat with them.
Does this sound familiar? If it does you know exactly what I am talking about. We as Christians put God off. Prayer is just as important as talking to your family. No, it is far more important since this is our Heavenly Father. Yes, we read and read and read the Bible, we search commentaries, scripture, books on certain passages of the Bible to know God and yet we really do not know Him personally. Why? Because we think reading about Him is enough. We don’t think prayer is important. Prayer is VERY important if not the MOST important part of the relationship with God! If you don’t talk to God, how in the world do you think you will see His handiwork? Do you think it will appear out of the sky and have a big sign that says, “God is at work here in your life right now.” NO! There is, yet again, no magical formula to make you have a better walk with Him. Just as the athletes work hard, we must work hard to accomplish our goal in life as well. Part of that goal is to know Christ, to know God.
Be honest with yourself. When was the last time you spent AT LEAST 15 minutes in prayer? Do I dare ask if you spent more than 30 minutes in prayer more than once? I know for myself that I do not pray that much and when I do, sadly I say that I don’t have time to pray all that much. Granted, I try to pray throughout the day and I do not believe that this is wrong since it is important to have short accounts with the Lord. However, it is also good to have long conversations with the Lord. How much time do you spend talking online? On Facebook? Surfing the net? Watching television or playing a video game? My Mom always told me that the time I spend on the computer/playing video games, I have to spend twice that amount outside. WOW! Lots of time outside for me…. : ) Take that time that I would be spending outside to pray or at least part of that time. I promise you, it will make a big difference in your life.
In closing, I pray that you will, as the song says, “take time to be holy.” Seek His face and learn more about Him. I challenge all of you to pray for at least 15 minutes at one time. It is but very little to read about God. Fall down on your knees, worship the Lord in song, cry out to Him in fervent prayer, and have a nice chat with Him. He deserves it and so much more.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

No, Not One

About a year ago, one of my accountability partners gave me a slip of paper which had a verse on it. The verse was 1 Corinthians 10:13. I was familiar with it and wow, what a powerful verse that is! It says, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (NASB)."

I'll say it again: WOW! That is awesome! I know we all struggle with certain things in our Christian life such as (in all seriousness) what to eat (gluttony), what to wear that isn't provocative (lust), what movies we watch (being of the world), what we say (having clean speech), and I know we all have the problem of wanting someone else's property so we sometimes go and pirate/steal it (covetousness). These are just a few of MANY examples that we as Christians struggle with. We give the excuse of, "Oh, it is a bad habit." Who cares?! It's still sin! There is no level of sin no matter if you kill, lust, lie, or cheat it is all the same in God's eyes!

Going back to the verse, 1 Cor. 10:13 CLEARLY states that there is NOT ONE temptation that we cannot escape from! God, as the verse says, has given us the ability to escape no matter what. Once again, it boils down to the cliché Christian attitude of blaming everything on Satan and saying, "He tempted me again and I messed up." Satan is not omnipresent. He cannot be here by our side tempting us all the time. Give credit where credit is due, in a sense of course. : ) We feel that we can give Satan the credit for our failures and it makes it all better. Bunch of lazy bums we are!

Yes, we all may fall short of the glory of God but God has given us a way of escape. He has given us salvation, He has given us His word to read for protection to defend ourselves against those attacks. We must equip the shield of faith and the belt of truth to stand against the Devil's lies! The Lord has allowed us to speak to Him directly through prayer! He is never far away and yet we push Him away to make it appear, in our own lives, that He is far away, just to make another excuse.

My prayer, for you as the individual reading this, is that you will put on the full armor of God. You will not allow Satan's demonic forces to get into those "loop holes" in the armor and weaken our faith. We fight because we love the Lord. The Lord allows us to go through these trials to strengthen us, to work patience in our lives as it says in James 1. No matter if the going gets tough or it is smooth sailing have that armor on to be prepared for those battles. God will see you through those temptations to get a victory once again.

BTW, I still have that slip of paper in my Bible. : )