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Monday, October 17, 2011

Public Service Announcement!

Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..."

Calling all men!  Please do this!  

That is all!  Stay strong.
  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Turkish Delight

I've never eaten Turkish Delight, but according to a little bit of research, it's a candy, dessert type deal that was originated by a dude named Bekir Effendi in the late 1700s.  It can be made up of several things, mainly a type of gelatin that has different fruits, nuts, and sweeteners in them.  It eventually became a dessert for royalty throughout Europe. 

I've never tried it.  Some people have told me it's great.  Others have told me it's terrible.  In C.S. Lewis' masterpiece The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, turkish delight was offered to one of the children in order to distract them from what they truly needed to be focused on.  It was his downfall.  When we delight in things that aren't meant for us to delight in, we get in trouble spiritually, socially, and materialistically. 

Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." 

This is a powerful verse from King David.  He knew what it was like to allow himself to delight in things outside of God's will.  I'm pretty sure he didn't wake up one day and just decide to become an adulterer and murderer.  Wrong delights are dangerous.  

God promises to give us our desires if they match up with His desires.  If we "delight" in Him, our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies are consistently focused on the will of God in any and every situation.  


Where does your mind take you?  Do you allow yourself to stay wherever that is if it's not God's will?  


Romans 13:14, "Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires."


Temptations are going to come.  Everyone gets the "Turkish delight" thrown in front of us from time to time.  Will you allow yourself to focus and dwell on that or turn towards Christ?


A few suggestions to "delight in the Lord:"
  • Read the Bible often.  If you've never read the Bible consistently before, start with the gospel of John.  Philippians is good too.  Check out www.youversion.com and sign up for a Bible reading plan.  Something as simple as a verse a day can really give you something to hold on to and think about as you encounter life.
  • Watch a sunrise and/or sunset.
  • Spend some time in nature.  Mountains, oceans, forests, vast plains...God created all this.  It's amazing!  Soak it in.
  • Find somewhere/someone you can serve.  Check out a local nursing home, hospital, homeless shelter...somewhere you can put others first.
God loves you.  Delight in Him.  Stay strong.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Renewed!

Things break.
Exhibit A:  The tailgate handle of my truck.

Right now my truck is in the shop...leaking antifreeze.  It's old...parts break.  My dad taught me to take care of it back when he bought it in 1988.  I remember him teaching me to change the oil, lube the chassis, change out belts/hoses.  He taught me how to take care of a vehicle...wash/wax/preventative maintenance.  It's old now, but still runs pretty well, and looks all right when I get a good detail job on it.  Renewing my truck is a fun and rewarding thing.  I know it's temporary and will eventually break, but until it totally dies, I'm going to do my best to preserve it
Glades Rd. and the Turnpike...the spot where Ol' Gray hit 200,000 miles.
Material things aren't the only things that break down over time.  We do too.  I'm not just talking about our physical bodies.  We all know that's the case.  I believe our spiritual lives...our relationship with God Almighty...it has the potential to break down.  I see it happen all the time.  People get excited about God, and then the things of this world battle for top spot in our lives...and man what a battle it is.

What/Who is going to be #1 in our lives?  In a world that attacks us with opportunities to focus on something besides God, we need to be renewed on a consistent basis.  Note: not all these "things" are horribly evil in and of themselves.  Church/religion could be one of them.  Family could be one of them.  Barbecue could be one of them.  Jobs could be one of them.  Bowling could be one of them.  Satan tries to insert things into our lives that could potentially take the place of God or become an excuse for not pursuing God.

Life becomes difficult for everyone.  If we aren't renewing our relationship with God, we are setting ourselves up for failure.  How do we do that?

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–
His good, pleasing and perfect will."   
Romans 12:2

Paul tells us to purposefully focus our minds on God.  When you look at this world, learn to look at it through the eyes of God.  Have Him in your thoughts constantly.  Study about Him purposefully.  Serve Him abundantly.  If you fill your mind with Christ, you will be reminded often of what God wants you to do.  You will be able to know His will.  You will be able to stand against temptation and have the strength to pursue God in any situation.

Here's the bottom line:  you are going to do what you want to do.  Are you in God's Word?  Are you seeking Him in prayer?  Are you serving Him?  If not, ask yourself why?  Do you truly want to? Are you willing to do/give your best in order to preserve and protect the relationship God has made available to you?

God loves every one of us.  He is waiting to renew us.  His Word is available to all of us (www.youversion.com).  The world is telling all of us what we should pursue.  Christ told us to pursue Him.  Let Him become your sole purpose in all that you do.  Make Him a priority so you can "finish the race." (2 Tim. 4:7, Acts 20:24)  Stay strong.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The most important thing

John saw it.  John watched it.  John studied it.  John sacrificed for it.  John cared for it.  John defended it.  John fought for it.  John taught it.  John loved it.  


TRUTH

Here's how it's defined.


truth |troōθ|
noun ( pl. truths |troōðz; troōθs|)
the quality or state of being true 

     • (also the truth) that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality 
     • a fact or belief that is accepted as true

John was one of Jesus' original 12 disciples...probably the "disciple whom Jesus loved." (John 21:20). John gave and devoted his life to following Jesus.  He watched Him heal the sick, hurting, dying, and dead.  He saw Jesus display His power over nature by walking on water and calming storms.  He listened to Jesus teach incredible truths to the most intelligent men.  He was one of the few disciples to watch His beloved Savior be transfigured into His glory and suffer as He prayed in the garden the night of His betrayal.  He followed and listened to Jesus' accusers and was there on Golgotha with Mary to watch Jesus die.  He was one of the first to witness the empty tomb, and also witnessed the resurrected Jesus numerous times before Jesus ascended to heaven.  He watched and heard the commands of Jesus impact and change the lives of thousands of people, and he dedicated the rest of his life to teaching the truth that Jesus taught.


He heard Jesus claim to be the truth (John 14:6), and also listened to Jesus proclaim this:


John 8:31-32, "Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachingsAnd you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Bottom line...John cared about the truth because Jesus cared about the truth.  All through 1 John, John battles and argues strongly for the church to hold on to the teachings and example of Jesus (the truth) instead of settling for the ways that seem easy or right to the world.  John spends 5 chapters challenging the church to embrace, protect, and proclaim the truth of Jesus.  He finishes his book with one simple phrase:

"Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 1 John 5:21

Battle for the truth in your lives.  Let is change you.  Protect it.  Proclaim it.  Don't settle for anything else that tries to squeeze it's way into your life.  Stay strong.


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