Monday, August 27, 2012

Abrahamic Covenant

We’ve been studying the book of Genesis in our Wednesday night Bible Study at church.  We’ve spent the last several weeks discussing Abram.  (We haven’t gotten to the part where his name was changed yet.)

It is through Abraham that God reveals his purpose and his goal for the universe.  It was in his promises to Abraham that God reveals that He has a plan. 

Genesis 11:10-32 traces the genealogy of Abraham.  In chapter 12, God calls Abram to leave his home and go to a land He would show him. I don’t know about you but I’d be asking God exactly where is that land I am headed to….  I like to map out my direction in life.  Abram obeyed and left without knowing the destination.  God continues to make promises to Abram.

I will. These words introduce the covenant promises in Genesis 12:2-3.

I will make you a great and mighty nation. 

I will bless you and make your name great.

I will make you a blessing.  From Abraham came the people of Israel.

I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you. 

In you will all the families of the earth be blessed.

To your descendants I will give this land.

The purposes of God, and the future of Israel, are focused on a particular place, Palestine.  As we read on into the Bible, we realize that these first promises give the Jewish people their sense of identity. 

Perhaps this overview will help define this.

Genesis 12 – Abrahamic Covenant – (see the I wills above)

Genesis 15 -

  • covenant to Abraham’s physical seed
  • land defined: Euphrates to Nile

Genesis 17

  • covenant with physical seed, forever
  • land of Canaan everlasting possession

2 Samuel 7 – Davidic Covenant

  • David’s line a royal family forever
  • David’s kingdom to be forever
  • Chastisement provided for, but kingdom to last forever

Jeremiah 30 – 31 New Covenant

  • Abrahamic promises reconfirmed
  • Davidic promises reconfirmed
  • Summary of elements
    • physical seed of Abraham in view
    • Davidic line through which covenant fulfillment is realized
    • land of Canaan in view
    • New Covenant made with Israel
    • involves individual and national conversion
    • looks to time of universal knowledge of the Lord

When God made his covenant with Abraham, there was no one greater for Him to swear by.  Therefore He swore by Himself, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”    (Refer to Hebrews 6: 13-18)

This promise is clear and important.  The promise is fulfilled through Isaac. The land is Palestine.  The contract with Abraham was unconditional.  Understanding the covenant is important to understanding the rest of Genesis.  The stories of Isaac and Jacob are told because they are inheritors of the promise.  Later on in Scripture, Moses would remind the people of their heritage and their promised destiny.  The children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob become a nation who is called to reveal God to a world without hope.


I referred to notes from my Old Testament class for this post.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dental floss and gum

Yesterday I slept a little longer than I should have and I had to hurry to get ready for work.  I’m driving on the interstate hurrying to get to work when all of a sudden I realized that I hadn’t brushed my teeth.  I really like clean teeth and this discovery was really gross.  What do I do?  I was halfway to work.  If I turn around and go back to brush my teeth, I would be late.  I decided to continue on.  When I got to work I had just a couple of minutes to spare and I pulled out the floss I keep in my purse and started flossing.  I don’t think my teeth have ever been flossed that well before.  Then I searched through my purse and found some peppermint gum.  I thought, it won’t be so bad.  My teeth are flossed and I’ll chew some gum to freshen my breath.  I went on in to work and made it through the day fine. 

Now, why do I tell this story?  I was thinking about how this incident relates to our Christian life.  There’s really no substitute for brushing your teeth.  One day with just floss and gum was fine but I wouldn’t want to live with just flossing and chewing gum.  I need my toothbrush for healthy teeth and fresh breath.

In my Christian life there is no substitute for reading the Bible.  I know some people read devotion books, or Christian books, or perhaps play some Christian music.  While all of those things are good things, they are not a replacement for time in the Word.  Just like the floss and gum are good things to have in addition to the toothbrush but they aren’t the main tool. 

The Word of God is referred to as the sword of the spirit in Ephesians 6.  A soldier wouldn't dream of going into battle without his sword. 

In Hebrews 4:12 it says “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Just like your dental health, if you neglect using your toothbrush your teeth will not only not be clean but they will become unhealthy.  So it is with your spirit.  If you neglect your time in the Word of God your spiritual life will suffer.

That’s it for today.  Enjoy your weekend and brush your teeth.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Talk with God

It seems like I am doing a lot of follow-up posts.  Sorry about that but God is good and still teaching me in some of these areas.  This is a follow-up post to my post entitled “Fog”.  Read it first and then come back here.

As I talked with God this morning and poured out my heart to Him, He impressed some things on my mind.  (I wrote about feeling restless and unplugged in my “Fog” post.) 

Here are some things I jotted down as God impressed them on my heart this morning.

  • I’m in control. (God speaking)
  • I have you where I want you to be.
  • You need to be submissive to my will.  (ouch)
  • You need to “bloom where you are planted.”
  • Guard your heart.
  • Study My Word.
  • I’ll let you know when I am ready to move you into something else. 
  • Trust me in everything.
  • Believe that I have a plan for your life.
  • Believe that my ways are not your ways.  Walk in my ways.
  • You are a soldier but I am the King.  You don’t move into battle without orders.  And you don’t leave the front line of the battle I’ve placed you in just because you want to fight somewhere else.
  • Trust me. Love me. Spend time with me.  Walk with me.

I didn’t hear an audible voice but these are the things I know God was telling me. 

How about you?  Have you been quiet before the Lord lately?  Have you listened to what He might be saying to you?  You have to be still before Him and listen.

Listen to HIs voice.  Trust Him.  As I continue to learn to trust and obey, the peace that comes from God fills my heart.  I am content to wait on the Savior.  I’m not restless any more.

Homework Answers

This is a follow-up to the post entitled “Homework”.  Be sure you’ve read it first in order for this to make sense.

Bible Study was good last night.  Lots of thoughts and discussions as to who was Melchizedek.  In the end we decided that who he was is a mystery. 

Sometimes we get caught up in trying to understand things that perhaps God doesn’t necessarily need us to understand.  After all, a finite brain trying to understand an infinite God is quite a task.  I think there are some things that you just have to take on faith.  Who Melchizedek was is one of those for me. 

I am usually one who wants to know all the answers.  I always wanted to get everything right on my tests when I was in school.  I strove for excellence.  I think there is a balance to be had here in my Christian life.  I need to “study to show myself approved…”  I need to know the Scriptures.  However, an intellectual gospel is always in danger of trying to bring God down to my size; making Him fit my explanations; making Him look a lot like me …. 

The quest for answers sometimes leads to a rejection of the mystery.  The mystery then becomes something intolerable.  Living with mystery is part of our Christian life; it’s a part of walking by faith.

A.W. Tozer in his book “Knowledge of the Holy” said  “For God is greater than the mind itself. If we could conceive of His greatness He would be less than the human mind which could form the conception."   and  “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” 

Be careful not to try to put God on your level.  Some things we will just have to trust Him with and accept that we just don’t have all the answers.  The important facts are that He knows all things; He controls all things; and He loves us with an everlasting love.

Revelation 4:8 “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I drove to work in the fog today. I was thinking about how walking by faith is similar to driving in the fog.

I am feeling restless.  For the first time in my adult life I am not involved in a ministry of any kind.  I’m plugged into a good church and getting fed but I have no outlet.  I’ve worked with high school and college age kids since I went to college.  (and that was a long time ago.)  Now I have no outlet and I’m frustrated.  I feel spiritually constipated --- OK – sorry for that analogy.

We moved here believing that it was what God wanted for us and I haven’t changed my mind on that fact.  I really had a peace in my heart about moving.  However, that peace is gone.  I don’t want to say I am discontented because how spiritual does that sound?  Smile  Paul tells us that he learned to be content in all circumstances.  Perhaps I just need to learn contentment.  But then again, I don’t want to be content in doing nothing.  What a dilemma!

So my life is kind of foggy.  Not sure where the Lord is leading but that is where faith comes in.  Just as I followed the car in front of me through the fog this morning, so I am also following Jesus.  Keeping my eyes on him in such a way that I can’t see anything else through the fog. 

One of my favorite passages from Scripture is from Hebrews 12 where it tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus because He is the author and perfecter of our faith.   The same chapter tells me to run with perseverance the race marked out for me.  I guess I just want to see the whole race track and I can’t see the path before me right now.  That’s where faith comes in.  Going back to Hebrews 11, it says that faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what I can’t see.

Hebrews 11:6 says that it is impossible to please God without faith.  Remember that faith depends on what God is like, not what I am like.  God is the rewarder of them that seek Him.  I don’t find out what faith is by consulting my needs or how I feel, I find out what faith is by looking at who God is.  The more I know about God and his character, the more conformed my life is to His, the greater my faith in Him.  The better I know Him, the more convinced I will be of things unseen and the more God’s love and fullness will be displayed in my life.

A couple things can help with spiritual fog.

Get to know the Savior.  I can more easily get lost in the fog if I am not familiar with the area I am driving in than if I am driving in my hometown.  In my hometown I know all the major landmarks and all the turns in the road.  In my spiritual life it is easier to navigate if I know God’s Word and His character.  The better I know Him, the easier it is to hang on when times are tough. 

Keep your eyes wide open and keep looking.  When confronted with fog, I squint and search to try to spot familiar landmarks through the mist.  If I gave up and just closed my eyes and said I can’t see through all of this, I would surely crash.  The same is true spiritually.  I need to strain to see God.  I need to search for how He is working in my life.  He’s there and at work.  He will never leave me or forsake me. 

The fog in my life really doesn’t change anything.  I can’t make it go away but I can depend on the Lord to be there by my side to walk me through it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Roof is Falling In

I was reading and thinking about the story of the paralytic man in Luke 5.  The story starts with Jesus attracting another crowd.  People with all kinds of diseases and illnesses followed him around for a chance to touch him or talk to him.  This time they were gathered in a small house.  The scene would have been pretty chaotic.  People were pushing to get in.  The house was crowded to the point not one more person could fit in there.  Yet somehow, Jesus is there.  He’s calm.  He’s made  a makeshift classroom and he is teaching and healing people.

There was this group of men who decide to try to take their paralyzed friend to see Jesus.  Nothing is really said about the paralyzed man except that his only way to get to see Jesus was if his friends took him.  We don’t know where they came from.  We don’t know how far they had to carry him but when they got to the house it was full.  There was no way they were going to get anywhere close to Jesus.

Then the friends have a crazy idea.  If we can’t get in from the ground, we’ll get him in through the ceiling.  One of the friends probably scaled the house walls to see how hard it would be to get up there.  They not only had to get up on the roof but they had to get their paralyzed friend up there, too.  It doesn’t say how they did it but perhaps they found a ladder and a rope and hoisted him up. 

Now what?  How are they going to get him down to see Jesus?  They start ripping the roof apart.   What do you think the people inside the house thought when they heard noises on the roof and then the roof starts to come apart?  Perhaps tiles fell down on the inside.  Most likely dust and dirt fell down on the people below.  Suddenly, the sun breaks through a hole and shines into the house.  The men on the roof are working quickly.  They want to get their friend down through the hole before someone stops them from tearing the roof apart.  Imagine if you were the home owner! 

What do you think Jesus was thinking?  If you believe that he knows all things then he knew this event was about to happen.  Perhaps he was sitting back smiling and thinking “it’s about time you all got here.”  I’m sure he loved their determination and he admired their love for their friend.  They were willing to do anything to get their friend in to see Jesus.  Perhaps Jesus even chuckled at their efforts.  I’m sure the people around Jesus weren’t laughing.  They were probably mad.  Mad about the disturbance, mad about the noise, mad about the dirt, mad about everything.

Finally the man is lowered through the roof and lands in front of Jesus.  I wonder if he had a soft landing or if he kind of got dropped.   He was excited and anxious.  Would the “mad” people in the house beat him?  Would Jesus heal him? 

Jesus had already decided he was going to heal the man.  In just a couple of seconds, the Great Physician shared a quick dialog with the paralyzed man.  He forgives him of his sin and then heals him physically.  The muscles in the man’s legs were rejuvenated and the man stood up.  His legs might have been a little wobbly at first but he was standing.  He was probably grinning ear to ear.

He thanks Jesus.  He has been healed.  His life has been changed.  He leaves praising God.

Are you like one of this man’s friends?  Will you stop at nothing for one of your friends to meet Jesus?  Are you that determined that no matter what obstacle you encounter, you will not quit.  These men refused to be denied and their friend left with his life changed. 

What if we come to the place where we understand and believe that Jesus is our only hope?  That we must press towards him and not let anything stand in our way.  What if we lived out our Christian life with such determination that we wouldn’t even let a roof stand in the way of meeting with Jesus each day? 

How about you?  What is standing in your way of meeting with Jesus?  Or, what is standing in your way of taking your friends to meet Jesus?  He’s waiting for you.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Our pastor gave us homework in our Wednesday night Bible Study last week. I figured I might as well put my questions and answers here. That way when I get to Bible Study on Wednesday night I can just refer to my notes on my blog.

We are in Genesis 14. We’ve been studying about Abram and how God grew his faith. During the war between a number of ancient city-states in Canaan and Mesopotamia, Abraham's nephew Lot had been captured. He and his family and goods were carted off. One of the prisoners escaped and went back and gave Abram the news. Abram armed 318 of his own servants and pursued the captures to Dan and beyond. Abraham rescued Lot and his family and returned safely.

On his return some kings came out to congratulate him. One of those kings was Melchizedek, King of Salem. He brought Abram bread and wine. He was the priest of God Most High and he blessed Abram.

Question: Who was Melchizedek?

Some have speculated that Melchizedek is Yeshua (Jesus), or the archangel Michael, or Shem the son of Noah, or just an ordinary human, or even another divine being as a type of Christ? There is little said about him in the Bible, but we are given several clues.

Hebrews 7:2 gives us some help.

“First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.””

Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 5:6-10 also talk about Melchizedek

“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

In Hebrews 7:3 we are told that Melchizedek was "without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever".

This means that his position as a priest did not depend on his parents or his genealogy. (unlike the Levitical priests) His priesthood was a different kind. Scripture says nothing about his birth or death (unlike the patriarchs, who are carefully chronicled). He did not create a dynasty of priests, each dying and passing the priesthood to a son.

Psalm 110 predicted that the Lord would be a priest in the same way: not according to genealogy, but by special appointment. This order of priests was significant in several ways: 1) it was more important than the Levitical priesthood, 2) it implied that the Levitical priesthood was temporary and 3) the new priesthood was permanent.

We know that Melchizedek was important because Abram gave him 10% of his spoils of war. The old covenant required the Israelites to give 10% to the Levites, but Abram gave 10% to Melchizedek who was not a Levite. This demonstrates priestly honors before priests even existed. (Levi wasn’t born yet.)

Hebrews 7:11 identifies a new priesthood. It states "if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come—one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?" (v. 11)

The law and the priesthood went hand in hand but neither could bring the people to perfection. That is why Psalm 110 spoke of another priesthood. The descendants of Aaron would be replaced by a better priesthood, a better priest—and that has enormous consequences: "For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law" (v. 12). What law is changed? The law that said only Levites could be priests. Which law said that? The old covenant.

As we continue through Hebrews 7, we read: "He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe" (v. 13). We are speaking about Jesus, of whom it is said that he is a priest after the order of Melchizedek—but Jesus was not a Levite. He belonged to the tribe of Judah, and no one from that tribe was ever a priest, and Moses did not authorize anyone from Judah to be a priest (v. 14). And so the law had to be changed. (vs 18-19)

Jesus was appointed as a priest not by a law that focused on genealogy, but because he lives forever at God's right hand. From this fact alone, we can see that the Law of Moses is no longer in force.

As a high priest, Jesus presented a sacrifice for sins. Jesus Christ was the high priest who opened the way for people to approach the throne of grace (the Mercy Seat) with confidence so that they “may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

By saying that Jesus became a priest after the order of Melchizedek, Hebrews is emphasizing that Jesus “became a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent” (Hebrews 7:16-17), but because of the promise made to David that he and his descendants would become priests forever after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4)

So to wrap this up, let’s take the focus off of who was Melchizedek and put the focus on the only identity that counts for eternity. Who was Jesus Christ?

He was the sinless Son of God who was sent to the earth to die for me and you. He willingly allowed himself to be nailed to the cross. He suffered, bled, and died in order to wipe away our sin. Then he defeated Satan and death and rose from the grave. Today he sits at the right hand of God the Father. He loves you with an everlasting love and desires for you to come to repentance and enter into an eternal relationship with Him. All he requires is that you confess your sins and He will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You simply accept His payment on the cross for your sin and then you will forever be a child of God.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

John 1:12 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Soul Searching

I’m doing some real soul searching today.  We are in the midst of revival services at church and I’ve been challenged each night by the speaker.  Today was especially challenging as I thought about where I am in life and what I am doing.

If you follow my blog at all, you know we sold our houses in Georgia and moved to Pennsylvania.  This is not a “sellers” market.  We took huge financial losses in order to move but felt the Lord was leading us to do that.  Originally, I felt it was because we were to be closer to our families.  Now, I’m not so sure.

The challenge this morning was to get out of our comfort zones and into the battle.  The accompanying Scripture was 2 Kings 7.  The story here was about a city under siege.  The enemy had surrounded the city and had cut them off from food and water supplies.  The people inside the city turned on each other to the point that they started to eat their children.  God promised them victory if they would just step out and fight.  They stayed inside their walls.

The church does the same thing.  We stay within our walls.  We turn on each other. We fight and argue over petty things.  We kill each other – perhaps not physically but how about emotionally?  The real battle should be outside the church walls.  We should be coming to the aid of people in the community and focusing our fighting efforts at the devil.

Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

As a church, we are not to occupy until Christ comes but we are to fight until Christ comes.  We are to man the battle lines, get involved in the lives of the hurting, give hope to the hopeless, do something…

This really challenged me.  I’ve been involved in Christian ministry most of my adult life and now find myself in a new community, new church, new job, and I don’t know what to do.  Where do I fit in?  Where can my gifts and talents be used?  I don’t want anyone to feel like I am pushing my way in.  People have been at this church for a long time.  How does a new person really get involved?  Or perhaps God has something else in mind?  How do I know? 

I will continue to seek the Lord and ask for wisdom and guidance.  I will not be satisfied to be on the sidelines when there is a war going on.  A war for the souls of men and women.

What about you?  Are you in the battle or on the sidelines?   Have you found a place where you can serve the Lord and really make a difference?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Loving God with my whole soul

Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus replied Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all our mind This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself”.

I started this series of posts earlier this week and I dealt with loving God with your whole heart and your whole mind.  I started with those two because they were easier for me to write about. 

When I look at the Old Testament I see that sometimes “heart” and “soul” are used interchangeably.  However, here they are separated and so that tells me that God is trying to make a different point.

I think heart, soul, and spirit are hard to define.  All are talking about what is happening on the inside of a person.  I think loving God with your soul has something to do with the inner part of our life. It has to do with loving God with who we are - the very core of us. So, not only are we to place God first in our heart – but we are to love Him with all of our inner being.

If something is messed up in my soul, my whole life is messed up. If I have bitterness or unforgiveness in my soul, it saturates everything in my life. And so loving God with all of my soul means to love Him with my entire inner being. That means real love: not fake love, not “religious actions”, and not anything externally. 

This means everything my inner life experiences - everything I feel, decide, believe, think, choose, want, dwell on, turn to, and pursue – is about my soul. The soul is about what makes me happy, what fills me with joy, where my sorrow and sadness is, and what gives me peace.  God wants a kind of love that “saturates” and “permeates” every part of me.

What comes from loving God with all my heart, mind, and soul?

1. I make godly choices.  My choices show who I am committed to and they reflect my core values. My choices define me and show my lifestyle to the world.  Choices flow from what I treasure the most.  As I treasure my relationship with God, my choices will demonstrate that I love God.

2. I obey His Word.  When I keep his commands and live by His Word, I am expressing my love for God. There will be times I don’t feel like it but that is when I obey out of love. 

3. Live a life of humility.  Jesus was the ultimate example of this.  Meekness should be expressed in our attitudes and speech.  What we say and how we say it enhances or quenches our testimony.  The choice is ours.

Matthew 12:34 “ For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  

Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

As I choose to love God with all my heart, mind, and spirit, I will be living a life that is in direct opposition to what the world teaches.  It won’t be easy but Jesus didn’t promise us an easy life; he did promise us eternal life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Love God with all your mind

Yesterday I wrote about loving God with all your heart. What does it mean to love God with all your mind?

Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus replied 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all our mind . This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself'".

Love is an emotion, right?   It comes from your heart.  So how do I love with my mind?

I think it involves devoting our minds to knowing Him. It involves studying the Word. Really studying, thinking, meditating, digesting, and not just reading.

“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

I think it also involves a conscious effort to think clearly about God; ensuring that you don’t entertain false ideas in your mind. 

Don’t let the world influence your view of God.  Instead let God influence your view of the world.

Start to develop a Biblical worldview. What does that mean? It means as I stand here and look at any situation, I look at it using the Bible as a lens to filter information.

Exercise your mind and learn as much as you can about the God you serve. Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have. 

“take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”   2 Corinthians 10:5 

Guard what your mind takes in. The old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” comes in to play. Our thoughts are to be constantly directed toward God.   Use care with books and media; especially with the internet and movies.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” if anything is excellent or praiseworthy” think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me” put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

I also think this means to use the mind God gave you to glorify Him. Use your gifts, talents, abilities, and intelligence to advance the kingdom of God.   

Are you using the mind God gave you to serve Him? If not, why not?  Are you focusing your mind on things that will point you to God?  You can start today.  Set aside time to study the Scriptures, guard what you read and watch, and think about things from a Biblical perspective.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Whole-hearted love

Our pastor asked a question in the service Sunday morning that made me think.  He asked who loves God with all their heart, all their mind, and all their soul.  Immediately hands went in the air.  I hesitated at first and then put mine up.  However, it caused me to think about what this really means.

Matthew:22:37-40 “Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all our mind” This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself".”  All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.”

The question remains, how do I do that?  I think a part of this hinges on being thankful for everything in your life, including past and present.  Is there anything that you are not thankful for?  If there is, then it could be blocking you from giving God your whole-hearted love.  Out of a thankful heart flows praise, worship, and obedience. 

I Thessalonians teaches us to give thanks for all things.  Whatever situation you find yourself in, give thanks.

Perhaps you are angry with someone who has wronged you.   Remember that
1 John 4:20 says “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 

Determine in your heart not to hold a grudge.  Determine in your heart to forgive everyone who has hurt you.  Choose to replace anger with love.  (Trust me, I’m preaching to myself on this one.)

Why does God allow us to experience painful situations?  It is for our own good.  Yeah, right.  My own good … how could these things be for my good? 

God is teaching us to be overcomers.  He is teaching us that we can trust him in all situations.  He is teaching us to be a conqueror. 

Remember that Romans 8:28 has a conditional statement built into it.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

It says that it is for those who love God.  Only as you trust God and give thanks can God take that bad situation and turn it into good.  As long as you remain angry, hurt, bitter, unthankful, it can’t work out for good. At that point, you may not even be able to see good if it were there.  You must become thankful.  You must trust God and thank him for the situation.  Only then can you experience the love, peace, and joy that comes from walking with God.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalms 100:4-5)

Going back to my idea about being a conqueror, realize that every time you go through a difficult situation, it isn’t because God doesn’t love you.  It is quite the opposite.  It is because He loves us.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35 – 39)

When you become thankful in the midst of tragedy and hurt, it becomes a part of your testimony.  It shows God is at work in your life.  When you truly lean on God in the midst of a crisis, it shows your faith to others.  The action of choosing to trust and to praise, shows that you love God with all your heart.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I would have been a Superhero

Did you ever think about what you would have been like had you been Jesus?  He was all powerful and all knowing and yet fully human.  I would have been a superhero.  I would have been flying in the sky and swooping in just in time to save the day …. just like Superman or Wonderwoman, in my case.   

I would have used lightening bolts on my enemies.  I would have been a big showoff.  I would have been walking and even running on the Sea of Galilee – just because I could.  I would have been parting the Red Sea and watching the people run and then letting the water back down ever so slowly.  I would have made Harry Potter look like an amateur.  I would have been healing every sick person I came into contact with and smiting every Pharisee for mocking me. 

When I look at the life of Jesus, I don’t see anything like this.  He was quiet, patient, humble, and even private.  He didn’t show off and he wasn’t interested in impressing people. 

He was fully God and fully man.  A hard concept to understand.  He didn’t really need time to rest and yet he took that time.  He had an intimate relationship with the Father because he intentionally spent time with Him.  Jesus took time to get away from outside influences and focus on his relationship with God.  He didn’t have to, he chose to.

Life is busy and it is hard to set aside time for God.  Each person needs to use the time that works the best for him.  I can’t do it in the morning.  No way. I am not a morning person.  My best time is at night.  It actually helps me unwind from the pressures of the day.

Make it a point to make God a priority in your schedule.  If you don’t, something else will use that time slot.  And, like Jesus, find a quiet spot to go and get away from the distractions.  


Some ideas are taken from the book Honestly: Really Living What We Say We Believe.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Day

Today is Chick-Fil-A appreciation day.  My post today is intended to support them.  Since I don’t live near a Chick-Fil-A any more and I can’t enjoy one of their delicious sandwiches, I am writing a post in their defense and support.

In case you haven’t heard …. Mike Huckabee declared August 1 to be Chick-Fil-A day in support of Dan Cathy and his remarks about marriage.  Mr. Cathy was attacked for having an opinion about marriage. So I don’t make any mistakes telling you what he said, I’ll simply quote him.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

That is all he said.  He didn’t say anything negative about anyone or any group.  His company does not discriminate against anyone.  When asked his opinion, he simply told the truth.  He took a stand on the biblical principles that he has based his life and his business on.  His stance is 100% biblical.

Read Genesis 2:23  

“And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

Now read what Jesus said in Matthew 19:4-6

“And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

It seems pretty clear that the Bible defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.  Defining marriage in any other way is an abomination to God.  (Read Romans 1:22 – 32)

It is interesting to see people taking offense at Mr. Cathy’s statements.  Why were they so surprised at his statements?  Chick-Fil-A has been true to its Christian values ever since the foundation of the company.  (Hence their closed on Sunday policy.) 

People are calling Chick-Fil-A intolerant of all views.  I didn’t read anything about intolerance in Mr. Cathy’s statement.  All I read was an opinion.  Since when is an American not allowed to have an opinion.  Isn’t it ludicrous that the people saying he is intolerant are actually the ones being intolerant? 

The clash is really a clash of worldviews.  One is based on the Word of God as the absolute truth and the other is based on man’s opinion (which changes with the times and which means they allow all views except the biblical one.) 

As our culture continues to move farther and farther from our biblical roots, we will continue to experience issues like this and even worse.  People will continue to “do what is right in their own eyes.”  (Judges 21:25)   With no absolute truth to base their lives on, what other choice do they have? 

We all need to be more like Dan Cathy.  When given the opportunity, stand up for biblical truth no matter what consequences arise. 

One final thought - If you the chance, “eat mor chickin!”. 


You can support Chick Fil-A day by “liking” it on facebook here