As our country work through the primaries of our next presidential election, a number of my friends feel anxiety and concern. Most importantly, they feel hopeless. None of the candidates represent their values or address their concerns. With mounting pressure from a nigh-broken healthcare system, and rising costs, despair comes easy. Yet, our hope, as Christians, does not come from government. The following quote from a Steven Curtis Chapman song comes to mind…
I have a question for my Facebook family and friends. Do you truly seek after God? Do you seek after him the way you seek money by going to work everyday, or seek the happiness of your spouse by the little nice things you do? All too often I see people who think religion and faith is something you check off on a ballot box somewhere. When someone in the family dies, they know how to answer when the hospital chaplain asks which religion the family follow. Yet, on any other day, they act, talk, and walk just like any other unbeliever out there.
Jesus gives us a strong warning in Matthew 7. “21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Choose for yourself, this day, who you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
… but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV Read the rest of this entry »
I do not have children, nor will I probably ever. So, take the thoughts I share here with a grain of salt. Clearly, not having the experience of raising them puts me at a distinct disadvantage when giving advice in raising them. However, I also feel that distance provides room for objective, logical reasoning.
When you think about Christmas, and children, you can presume a few things about the traditions shared with them. Most parents teach their children about Santa Claus, explain that he brings them lots of gifts… as well as their relatives. Most children wake up opening dozens of presents.
As an adult, growing in faith in God, this practice strikes me odd for a couple of reasons. Why, do we feel the need to create a fantasy character who only seems to exists as an excuse to give gifts to our children? Could that create trust issues in God, or our parents, later down the road once they find out Santa exists only as a figment of our imagination?
Just as concerning, to me, I wonder if we do not teach our children the completely wrong lesson by showering them with gifts. We complain this generation feels so entitled. Is it any wonder when we take a holiday based on Jesus and the spirit of giving, and spend it lavishing our children with presents? We teach best through actions, not words… would we not better teach them the spirit by having them spend the day, with us, helping/serving others rather than heaping materialistic possessions on them?
Now, please do not misunderstand. I do not suggest parents should not give their children nice things. However, the context and method of how we gift to a young person has importance. I suggest that on a holiday based on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the spirit of giving, we demonstrate the wrong lessons by our current traditions. We then reap the harvest of such seeds when they grow with a spirit of distrust and selfishness.
Some parents try to counter these obvious errors by showing Christmas movies or sharing stories that illustrate the true reason for the season. However, I would suggest that actions speak much more loudly than words.
Choose this day who you will serve. Will you say, like Joshua, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”? Or will you continue to follow the pattern of the world?
As we head into the final stretch of the year, I realized I had not posted anything here, in a while. Rest assured, I have not died! As I mentioned on an earlier blog post, I recently started college back up, which takes the lion’s share of my free time. With that said, I do have a few things I plug away at. Read the rest of this entry »
If you are like me, you have a family whom you love. Yet many in that family do not love the Lord. Sure, a few have some good beliefs or theology. To some of my family, saving faith is nothing more than ‘voting for the right team,’ by choosing Christianity as your faith of choice. However, as I have wrote about earlier in the year, the Bible paints a different picture. To receive eternal salvation, one must be ‘born again.’ James 2 points out that even the devils know that Jesus is Lord, and tremble. Mental assertions to the truth are not enough. We must repent of our sins and follow Jesus. Read the rest of this entry »
Ecc 9.11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.
Second, we should not be surprised.
We live in an age ruled by darkness, evil and fear. Every day, people around the world die by violent acts. In 2013, nearly double the number of Christians deaths were reported (over 2,100 reported) than the year before for their faith. Experts believe this number to represent only a fraction of the number actually slain for their faith. Last year, in Syria, over 76,000 died in the war, most of them civilians. Lest we think we are safe in the United States, murders in our country tallied over 15,000. And, more staggering than all of this combined, we kill over one million unborn babies, many in the name of convenience, though ‘surgical removal.’
While the coverage of France dominates our headlines, I often wonder why we hear so little about these other deaths caused by murder. I can only imagine that it would not sell many newspapers or draw viewers in. Yet, every day, even all around us right here in the United States, people kill people.
Regardless, we live in dark times. While we think of other periods of history as dark (heck, we even call one of the largest periods of time, “The Dark Ages”), we have plenty of darkness right here, today, and all around us. While our modern, clean cities, and light hearted comedy television work to paint a picture that man heads towards a brighter tomorrow, these acts of brutal evil remind us that the heart of man remains incredibly wicked.
We work together, as a society, to attempt to eliminate, or, at least minimize the impact evil has on our day to day lives. I, personally, remain very thankful that the government, by God’s Grace, does restrain evil, to a degree. Yet, as we see through these (and other) violent acts, the hearts of men continue to beat with evil intentions. The darkness reigns. We can lock them up, take steps to protect ourselves and more, but, at best, we address a few of the symptoms, leaving the disease uncured.
Yet, God did not leave us without an answer. Jesus died on the cross not only to save us from the penalty of our sins, but from their hold on our life, as well. Though Him, we can experience not only salvation, but sanctification. He can, and will, give us a new heart, that beats with love for Him and our fellow man, if we lay down our lives and follow Him. This can melt the hardest of hearts, including a cold blooded murderer like Jeffrey Dahmer. Ultimately, God provides the only true solution for the problem of sin, and the fear it inflicts of those who suffer by its hand.