Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This is hard to fully understand or embrace, at least it was for me for awhile. I believe Paul is eluding to the fact that Jesus came and crushed the law (scripture anyone?). We aren't to be like the religious folk who believe their salvation is in their law abiding works, no; we are saved by faith alone. God imparts the grace to take our blinders off and reveal His truth to us then we exercise our faith that is essentially gifted to us.
Paul is saying that we shouldn't condemn ourselves or others so everything is permissible but many of these things in the world shouldn't be done because they have no value. Why would we waste our time doing something of no value? We usually do it because it feels good for a minute and we listen to the lies that say there is value in these things (always selfish). An easy way to check ourselves is to analyze our motivation and decide whether it is for ourselves or others. If our motivation is for the benefit of others then we typically won't be wrong. It is when we are serving ourselves that everything gets sticky, we hurt others, we offend people, and we rub folks the wrong way.
I think this scripture is a great reminder and is well laid out in the sense that Paul makes a controversial point but then brings it back to the basic home of serving others not ourselves. Priceless advice.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Here is where I'm at... I'm not making my spiritual training number one in my life. It's second to my physical. I was talking to Jules last night on the phone and praise be to God I just blurt out that I need him to seriously challenge me and hold me accountable for setting my alarm in the AM and opening God's word. To be still and read and soak it up before I turn on this world. Now for some of us that might be a little grindy. Kids, work, roommates, etc. But if you find yourself making excuses or it seems like too much work, then usually it's the right thing to do. (Thanks Terry) Johnny Mac Piece McNugget pointed out this scripture to me in his devotional I read today. "By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life." -1 Peter 1:3
What's your excuse now? I can't find one and believe I looked all morning laying in bed. Most of us here are athletes and God has blessed us with some serious competitive fire. Use it! Want to study and obtain God's word. Memorize scripture and be a leader for others around you. Not for the recognition or to pump up your pride but for Jesus Christ! He saved you dumb dum! So let's crank up some accountability in this group and study HIS WORD. Pick a time and shut off everything and read. Pray that God would transform your mind and allow you to be more like him. If you don't feel that guilt after reading this then your a really good Christian and I'm not, so whatever. ha
Thursday, December 24, 2009
God gave man dominion over all the earth, and the earth supplied his every need. All he had to do was accept and enjoy the earth as provided for him. But Adam sinned and Satan usurped the crown. A new chain of command was born: the earth now rules man.
To know how true that is, all you need do is look at the amount of effort expended on restoring the ecological balance of the earth. Environmentalism is a popular watchword of our day. Yet with all our modern technology, we are still unable to gain control over the earth.
Look what happened once Adam sinned: no longer could man easily harvest what the earth provided--now he had to toil by the sweat of his brow (Gen. 3:18). Women would experience pain in childbirth (3:16). Murder soon followed in Adam's family. God had to destroy virtually all mankind in the Flood because they had become so debauched.
Much of the animal kingdom now lives in fear of man and cannot be tamed. Where once the earth produced good things naturally and abundantly, now it produces thorns, weeds, and other harmful things. Extremes of heat and cold, poisonous plants and reptiles, earthquakes, typhoons, floods, hurricanes, and disease were all products of the Fall. Man was no longer a king but a slave--a dying creature fighting a losing battle with a dying earth.
Amazingly, the earth is aware of its condition: "For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it" (Rom. 8:20). Now it eagerly awaits for the day when the sons of God, believers, are manifest in the kingdom, for then it will be liberated from the bondage of corruption (vv. 19, 21-22).
There is coming a day, in the wonderful plan of God, when man will receive once again the dominion that he lost. May our Lord hasten its coming!
Suggestion for Prayer:
Thank God that He will one day redeem the earth from its subjection to the curse.
For Further Study:
Read Isaiah 60:21, 65:25, 2 Peter 3:13, and Revelation 21:27. What will characterize the new earth?
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
1 Corinthians 8:19 "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more."
The background for this chapter is that many people (Corinthian believers) were struggling with their own gray area. The example used is the one of believers buying inexpensive meat to eat that had been offered to idols in Pagan practice. Some of the believers felt it was okay while others thought that demonic entities could be in the food and then could enter your body as you consumed it. There was no scripture to lay claim to either side of the argument so it was a huge gray area for the people. Johnny Mac throws out some examples that are current in our times, drinking alcohol, playing sports on Sundays, styles of music, wearing make-up for woman, playing the lottery, etc... All these things are seen as a gray area to many believers. Paul clears this up in the end with this idea (v 23, v 24, v 25-27, v 28-30). He basically says that Christian Liberty should be seen as edification over gratification (v 23), others over self (v 24), liberty over legalism (vv 25-27), and condescension over condemnation (vv 28-30).
My personal opinion on this matter is that these gray areas are not a deciding matter in whether or not one can be saved/salvation therefore like Paul says we should not condemn ourselves or others with regards to these issues. If you're feeling unsure about an issue or gray area in your life pray diligently about it and let the Holy Spirit guide your heart. If you can honestly say that you have no conviction in correlation to your actions, I would assume you're alright. Remember that this only applies to gray areas (issues that are not written about in the Bible), knowing myself I've tried too many times to apply this principle to areas that are spoken about in the scriptures only to learn a tough lesson.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Let's all take some time out to let the woman in our lives know how much we love them and give them the affection that they need and deserve. We as Christian men need to respect woman at the highest level to be an impactful living example. Just a thought. "Stay righteous e-Fellows."
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This verse struck me and made me question "who is unrighteous?", am I? I know that I want to make sure by studying and filling myself with God's word that my life has been in pursuit of Him. Notice Paul's warning to not allow yourself to be deceived, that speaks volumes of how easy it is for us to fall into deception. After listing all sorts of catagories of sinners Paul points out that some of the members were catagorized like that once too. Paul's point is to show God's saving grace regardless of who you were. He can save you from anywhere and can use you from anywhere too. God wants desiring souls who are thirsty for conversion.
I felt the Spirit leading me to take time out for all of us today to just rejoice in how great our God truly is. He doesn't need our hands, a platform, our strategies, techniques, or our plans he just wants our hearts. At that point God can show His awesome power, purpose, and plan. It is hard for me to really understand His saving grace (I know many who come to tears when thinking of it) but I can honestly say I'm learning. Here is for serving a God who is worth fighting for!!!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Mark 1:16-18 (New International Version)
16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18At once they left their nets and followed him.
We don't need those nets.....we are nets. We love you Jesus....
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This scripture is written in the context of a church having a member sin without repentance. To make matters worse the church just excepted his sin and kept on going as if it was okay. The dude was sleeping with his dads wife (stepmother to him), ya you heard me right! And we think that the stuff we see on Springer is "new school". His sin was bad enough but for him to continue to live in this sin unrepentantly (not acknowledging it as wrong) was ridiculous and it even made the Pagans cringe (according to Johnny Mac). Paul is telling them they need to rebuke this guy and if he still is shameless they need to boot him out of the church. Paul makes his point clear with verse 6 that I love, "a little leaven leavens the whole lump". If you got a batch of dough and you put a little leaven in it the whole lump rises, the same way a little mildew can spoil a whole loaf.
We can look at this scripture in a couple different ways.
1) watch who we surround ourselves with and when our friends are claiming to be part of the flock (christian) and living in unrepentant sin we need to hold them accountable despite the uncomfortable nature of the conversation. When you accept Jesus you sign on for this.
2) we need to be aware of the sin that can creep into our lives. The small sins that starts to infect other parts of our life and then explode into a huge (possibly public) issue.
This really goes back to one of my favorite themes "keep fighting against temptation and sin".