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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Desiring the Word

As many of you have probably noticed, this is my first blog in quite a few days.  So what I am writing about is something that I personally struggle with at times.  Desiring God’s Word can be very difficult at times.  We can get caught up in how busy our lives are and we simply forget to dig into scripture.  This is a very common problem.  But, it is, without a doubt, a problem.  Isaiah 43:6-7 may help us better understand how big of a problem not desiring God’s Word is.

“I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for glory,
whom I formed and made.”

As the scripture says, we were created for glory.  We were designed to seek out and desire God, and all his glory.  Part of His glory is His Holy and inherent word.  The Bible is God revealing himself to us, and in my opinion that includes a substantial amount of glory.  So, we are, as Christians, inclined to desire God’s Word.  Because of this, when we fail to desire God’s word we are in rebellion against God, and that is a fairly large problem.

But, you shouldn’t feel like this is a problem only you have.  As I said, I personally struggle with desiring the word, and when we look into scripture we also find that David struggled with it as well.  However, David prayed passionately to desire God’s Holy word.  We see this in Psalm 119:25-32.

“My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments
for you set my heart free!”

So, as you consider these things, I urge you to long to desire the glory of God revealed to us in His word.  Remember that you were made for glory; God formed and made you for that purpose!  It is my hope that you already have a tremendous desire to study God’s word, but if you don’t then pray like David.  Pray that God would teach you his statutes, his law, and his rules.  And pray that He would also give you life and strengthen you according to His word! Through this I hope that you may grow closer in your relationship with Jesus Christ, and that you may long to be in his word daily.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Power of Words and the Nature of Sin

The Power of Words and the Nature of Sin.

Check out this blog post by The Gospel Coalition.  This is so true.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Who do you serve?

One of my pitfalls as a human being is that I am a big people pleaser.  I don’t like it when people are upset with me; I just want to make people happy.  You may think that’s a good thing, and I’m just keeping other’s best interests at mind.  But, being a people pleaser can have a serious down side.  At times I can be tempted to twist the words of the bible, use them incorrectly, or just leave a verse or two out in order to make people happy.  However, in Paul’s letter to the Galatians he makes it very clear that this is wrong in ch. 1, verse 10.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Paul is doing much more than solidifying his ministry.  He is calling the reader to evaluate their heart.  Is your heart seeking to please man, or God?  Do you seek to serve man, or Christ?  Paul wants you to see where your heart is.  He wants you to step back and look at who you are trying to please.  If you are pleased by man, then you will seek to please man.  However, if you are pleased by God, you will seek to please God.  The one who wishes to please God is who becomes a servant of Christ.

Serving Christ can be quite difficult though.  It’s not like people are going to be so happy that you’re seeking to please God.  In fact, they will most likely get offended.  They’ll say you’re “taking things too far”, or that you’re “being way to radical”.  But, this should not surprise you, it should actually be expected.  Paul makes this clear in 2 Timothy 4:3-5.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.  As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill you ministry.”

Paul makes it evident that people don’t want to hear what the Bible really has to say.  Instead, they want to hear what makes them feel good about themselves.  They want to hear about how they can have all the pleasures of the world and of heaven, and telling them otherwise can create some tension.  That tension is one that will also breed hatred.  And it is a hatred that we should rejoice in, because in that hatred we fulfill Jesus’s teachings in John 15:18-19.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

So, as you go throughout your daily life, strive to be a good steward of God’s word.  Treat it with great care and respect.  Be careful to remain true to the text, and teach sound doctrine.  Do not fall into the temptation of teaching a people pleasing gospel.  For a people pleasing gospel is not a gospel at all.  Point people to Christ.  And finally, embrace the hatred that comes from the world; because that hatred means you’re doing something right!

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Are you LOVE?

One of my favorite movies of all-time is “A Walk to Remember”.*  It’s a great story of a bad guy who falls for the good girl, and he turns his whole life around to be with her.  In the movie Mandy Moore plays a character named Jamie Sullivan.  As the movie goes on, we learn that Jamie is captured by the whole concept of love.  The whole idea of love is so meaningful to her, in fact, her favorite scripture is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Jamie knew what love was, and she taught Landon Carter (the bad boy, played by Shane West) what love is.  But, she didn’t necessarily teach him what love is by getting him to read the scriptures.  Landon learned what love was, because Jamie was love.  She was a pure expression of the definition of love.  The way she portrayed 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is how we are called as Christians to live our lives!

Actually, the way Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, he makes it out as if love is the very centerpiece of Christianity.  In verses 1-3 he says without love we are worth nothing.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

This is where I get around to the question; Are you love?  This is a very important question to answer.  Paul is saying that without love, if love is not in your heart, if you do not reflect the very essence of love, then nothing you do on this earth is worth anything.  He basically says that without love you are a noisy and worthless creature that is without gain.  He even says that love is above both faith and hope in verse 13.

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

So, as you go through your daily walk with Christ, I encourage you to not only love everyone, but to be love.  Be a reflection of the definition of love.  Strive to be patient.  Strive to be kind.  Do not envy others.  Do not boast in your own achievements.  Don’t be arrogant or rude.  Don’t insist in your own way (don’t be that guy that’s always right, even when you’re wrong).  Don’t be irritable or resentful.  Don’t rejoice in others wrongdoings, but do rejoice in the truth.  Bear all things, believe all things, hope in all things, and endure all things.  By doing this, it should become much easier to walk in the great commandment given to us by Christ in Matthew 22:37-39.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

*I understand that by admitting “A Walk to Remember” is one of my favorite movies, I may have lost respect among the male population.  However, I will not waiver in my opinion.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Intimacy with the Lord

One thing we commonly forget as Christians, or at least I know I do, is the continual presence of God through his Holy Spirit.  Since we have been made a new creation in Christ we have been blessed with this presence.  Now, when I say presence, I mean it in the most intimate way.  This is something we can only experience as followers of Christ.  In fact, scripture says in 2 Timothy 3:7 that people who appear holy, but don’t actually commit their lives to Christ cannot experience this type of presence of the Lord.

“[They are] always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”

This “knowledge of the truth” is something that only we as Christ followers can receive, and it is much more than just a head knowledge.  A knowledge of the truth is a very intimate, present, loving, heart knowledge.  It is something that every follower of Christ is blessed with!  But, it is easy to forget that this blessing is something that we have access to every single day.  We are assured of this in 1 Corinthians 2:12-13.

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given to us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting truths to those who are spiritual.”

It is awesome to me that we receive the very Spirit of God, so that we can understand the things of God!  However, the presence of the Spirit is not just so we know the things of God, but that we would actually KNOW God.  The level of intimacy in which the Lord wishes to have with us is clearly described by David’s relationship with God in Psalm 73:23-26.

“Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Notice the intimacy that David describes.  He says that he is continually with the Lord.  He even says that the Lord holds his right hand.  He says that he is guided by the counsel of the Lord.  Then, David says that the Lord with receive him to glory!  This is what the Spirit does for us.  The Spirit is continually holding our hand, and guiding us with his council.  How awesome is that!  We have a Holy Counselor that takes us by the hand and says, “Hey, I’ve got this.  Follow me here, and stay away from that.  Oh, and when things get tough, don’t worry, I will always be here for you.”  How comforting is that!

But, David doesn’t stop there.  He goes on to say that the Lord is his only satisfaction and sustain-er in heaven and earth.  His only desire is to be in an intimate relationship with the Lord.  Why does he desire this?  Because David recognizes that his flesh and heart will fail, but the strength of God will endure forever.  And to have the strength of God with you always is the most comforting thing one can possess.

So, as you go through your daily life, remember the continual presence of the Lord.  Recognize that he is with you always.  It is an intimacy that God longs to have with you, and as a Christ follower you should long to have with him also.  In that type of relationship lies rest, peace, comfort, and satisfaction that no other relationship can simulate.  I hope that you seek this sort of relationship with the Lord, and find the joy that comes with it.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

My repentance has been granted

When you hear about the Holy Spirit descending, you probably think about Pentecost in Acts chapter 2.  I wouldn’t expect you to think about anything else.  But, this morning I spent my quiet time in Acts 10-11, and I was reading about the Holy Spirit falling down on to the Gentiles.  Up until this point, the Holy Spirit had only been granted to Israel; up until this point, repentance had only been granted to those from Israel!  

I’ll tell you why this means so much to me.  My blood line is not Jewish, therefore, I am not Israeli.  I AM A GENTILE.  This means that I was not covered by the law.  I needed to have the assurance of the Holy Spirit, the gift from Christ that is given to all who believe.  Act 10:44-48 marks the giving of this gift to the Gentiles, and is such a gracious act on the behalf of The Father.

  “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.  And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.  For the were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.  Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

In this passage lies the very reason I may rejoice in the Lord.  The fact that the Holy Spirit has been granted to both Jew and Gentile is so amazing.  For, God’s people were the Israelites, but God, out of his grace and mercy, has extended redemption to all people!  So, as you go through your day today, remember the Lord’s mercy on your life; also, find comfort in the declaration of Israel in Acts 11:18.

“When they heard these things they fell silent.  And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”” 

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Hope in Christ

With today being Independence Day it can be very easy to get caught up in how “great” our country is.  With all the national pride, and fireworks.  All over Facebook and Twitter you see the glorification of ‘Merica.  People wear their red, white and blue.  Parties everywhere have birthday cakes for the U.S.A., and of course a good American meal consisting of barbecue, baked beans, and cole slaw!  But, can anything that America offers really give you hope or peace?  No, it can’t.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love America.  A love for this country is ingrained in who I am.  The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are all represented in my family.  My Father worked in U.S. Capitol building, and one of my uncles worked in the Pentagon.  My two favorite sports are baseball and NASCAR (neither of which was I blessed with any sort of talent).  The fact that I consider NASCAR a sport may make me more of a true American than most of you reading this.*  But, as much as I love where I live, I do not rest my hope in America by any means.  Real hope can only be found in the glory of Christ.

Romans 5:1-5

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Hope that does not put us to shame!  I don’t know about you, but that statement is extremely comforting to me.  As a Carolina Gamecock fan I had a significant amount of hope put to shame about a week and a half ago by Arizona in the National Championship.  I know many people who have placed their hope in the American economy, and then we had a recession.  But, what Paul is speaking of hear is a hope that will never fail, one that will never be put to shame!

This hope that Paul speaks of is found in “the glory of God”.  This is referring to the glory of Christ that will be revealed in the second coming of the Messiah.  It is a hope that “does not put us to shame”.  This means that it is going to happen, without fail.  How do we know that it won’t fail us?  “Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit”.  And we know that God’s love never fails because of what is said in Lamentations 3:22a, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases”.  

So, in conclusion, be proud that you are American.  But, do not place your hope of a better tomorrow in America.  Rather, place your hope in things above, fix your eyes on the Lord.  The glory of Christ will never fail you, and his love will endure forever.  As a result my we declare as the psalmist in Psalm 43:5b, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

  

*If you don’t know me personally, I take NASCAR very seriously.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Uncategorized