All my life I never really had a friend that remained constant, except for maybe one or two. Regardless of...
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; (Jeremiah 29:11-14a)
This verse and the following means a lot to me as a Christian. Though it may seem overused I can’t seem to get enough usage out of it. The rest of the passage, 12-14, is generally ignored, yet they are so powerful in their own way. The fact that we have a God that listens to our prayers and reveals himself to us is simply amazing. God is saying that He will help us, if only we call out to Him. Often I find myself in captivity. God has delivered me from and continues to delivere me as I call out to Him. We are not finished works, but far from it. We will fall, but it should not be because we gave up but by accident.
2Corinthians 5:17 says that “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Ephesians 4:21-23 states that “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
We are a new creation! We are not to simply pick up the old man and put him on because we feel like it, neither are we to do it because we have the promise of God’s redemption. WE are a new creation. We are supposed to grow into the image of Christ, learning and building our faith and trust in God, and not dwindling on the past. The past is gone, the present has come! Look instead to Christ, and remember what you did wrong, and learn from it. Don’t go back to it like a dog to its vomit.
Christ would rather us be cold to him than lukewarm. Revelation 3:16 says that “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,I will vomit you out of my mouth.” God wants us to be on fire, but humble, ready to learn and to grow, and not to stay where we are. Our life should be a constant walk towards him, rather than a nice long sit down at a bench along the way. We must live for Him, for only when we are ready to be used by Him, and resisting sin will He use us for our intended purpose which is greater than we can imagine.
Alright, the past few weeks I’ve heard a lot of stuff… Keep in mind that only the first reflective question is from me, the rest are from others, but for some reason I forgot who said what. Here is my J-term reflective thoughts and sayings that have impacted me in a nutshell.
Have you ever thought about how the longings of this world are just longings for God, but we in our physical bodies interpret them as something else? That we are so depraved that it took the death of Christ, God’s only Son, to redeem us from eternal death in Hell?
Those are some powerful thoughts, and I know for a fact that God loves us so much that for a short time He broke the Trinity and separated Himself from His Son so that we might be able to have the choice, the freedom, to live for Him and to live with Him for eternity.
“Sin keeps the man from the Bible, and in the same way the Bible keeps the man from sin.” (Nancy Gallaway) This statement is so simply powerful, because of the truth in it. We sin because we do not invest enough time in the Word which together with God will help us to become more like Him and less like the world, in truth laying aside the “old man.” Without God in our lives we are helpless in our sin, and therefore we must strive to put God first in our lives and spend time with Him in His Word, for that is when God really works.
I was able to watch Courageous the film this week, and I highly encourage you to watch it if you haven’t. The following excerpt is one of the final speeches and it really spoke to me as to how I should act now and in the future, when I hopefully become a father… Still have a bit of time until that happens though ;).
“There are some men who, regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did not do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same—and whenever possible, to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives but who desperately need help and direction. And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution. God’s Word shows us that God desires for every father to courageous step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. More than just being there for them or providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their Father in heaven. Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family? Who will pray for, and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do?
In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family because, by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ because I will.”
So where are you, men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord?
It’s time to rise up and answer the call God has given you and say,
I will! I will! I will!” –Courageous (film)
I’ll leave you with this:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55:22)
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (1 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Remain strong in God, cast your cares and worries on Him, and learn to spend time in the Word and in prayer. End times are approaching, times of hardship and trial. We must be prepared. “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14) Stay strong, brothers and sisters, spend time with God, continue to pray to grow spiritually and in your faith, and God will bless you for any time that you invest in Him.
Taylor University. That is my new answer to the famous question of “Where do you go to college” that we all will most likely get asked at one point. The changes have been hard, and adjustments somewhat difficult, but now I can see its all worth it. I would of never thought I would be here at this time last year; rather, I had everything, well college-wise, planned out for the next few years, and the last thing on my mind was transferring to another school. However, I have grown to love Taylor for the community (no, really) and the constant encouragement to both worship God and excel in your studies. The classes here are built on faith, and they have devotions before many of the classes start daily. Food is awesome, and though I know it will “get worse” as time goes on, for right now I am enjoying it as much as possible.
It was strange actually having to go through the process of meeting people again; you don’t really realize how set in your ways you become until you are pushed out of the cycle. In this past year I truly learned that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) We can set up our entire plans for our lives, but we will soon find out, and did I learn that God usually has something different, something that will cause discomfort for a bit, but will be that much better.
Taylor is a change, but I think it is a change for the better. I have been spending more time with God and excelling in my studies. God truly showed part of His purpose to me by sending me here and I am grateful. Through this process of switching schools God has instructed me how to depend on His word and go to Him in prayer. Listening to Him and feeling a bit of discomfort was totally worth the position that I am in now. Glory to God, “For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised,” (Psalm 96:4a)
Hello my fellow PBU’ers,
Well, I never thought in May that I would be in this position, let alone writing about it, but I will be transferring to Taylor University for the Fall 2011 semester and forward. Through many decisions, trips and conversations I believe that God is calling me somewhere else, and that place is Taylor. I will sincerely miss all of you guys, both in conversation and the fun times, and may God bless all of you both in your academic journeys and beyond!
If you were asked what your favorite band is, what would it be? Now, the more important question is, does that band glorify God? Music is a gift from God, and is highly influential to us and to others around us. Music is a personal choice, and I’m not judging. I just want to share what God has been doing since I switched from secular to Christian music.
I began like most kids brought up in Christian homes, I think, but as I grew older, I began to listen to “alternative” music more and more, than finally began to delve into the secular realm. Why? Well, the music appealed to me, but I began to wonder why I started to do things in my life differently, and why I was not growing very quickly in the Lord.
I began to look over my life, and saw that music had its grip on me, and boy oh boy, did I not want to let it go! It made me “happier,” but I saw that it was leaving me with an empty feeling that made me want more and more of an upbeat kind of music. I began to see the influence that this music had in my life, and decided that I would remove all my secular music from my iPod, and things have begun to look up from that point on, both in my spiritual and my day to day life.
Music has the power to change anyone, but the problem is, many of us don’t realize this until it is too late. It’s fun, or makes us happy, but the thing is, it could be very well inserting worldly attitudes that we try to remove from our lives back into them, and also be making us look away from Heaven, even temporarily, enjoying the smaller and quick to leave pleasures of secular music.
Is secular music inching its way into your playlists? Now, I know I sound like I’m looking down on anyone that may be avid listeners of this genre, but the truth is that it will push all the godly music away and soon you will find yourself rarely listening to Christian music and mostly listening to the secular kind. I would encourage you to see what music you listen to, and not ask if others would approve, but if God would. Most secular music I can say with all truth that He would not. Try removing the music from your iPod that would not bring honor to God, and see the difference it makes even in your mood for the day! It has greatly blessed me to make the change, and I would wish the same for you. Look back and see, “For out of the abundance of the heart his (or her) mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) What is your mouth speaking, or rather, singing today?
It has definitely been a while since I last posted, but something has been troubling me for a long time I just have to let it out. Please forgive me if I offend you in any way, and in fact, please let me know.
Do you consider yourself a selfless person? If you are a Christian and this is so, I would ask you to look again. We are told in Mark 16:15b to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” If you consider yourself selfless, then ask yourself if you continuously share the good news of Jesus to others. I will quickly say that I for one do not. However, this is what we as Christians are told to do, and not doing so is selfish.
Let me explain: why do you not go and tell others of the gospel? Here are the reasons that usually pop up: what will they think? I’ll not say it right? It would bother them, and so on. Who is therefore the reason why you don’t go to the unsaved? Why do we unabashedly do things in the sight of God that we would be embarrassed if others saw, yet are afraid of what others would think if we told them about the greatest gift? Please, join me in a change. A change is needed, and you, yes you are part of the need. People are going to hell and not heaven because they are not being shown the true way, and yet we, because of fear, simply ignore them.
On another topic, we as Christians are to build each other up, and yet we go around spreading rumors that do not help our fellow brothers and sisters, or others that do not know God yet. We also just as easily fall into a group complex where we stay and do not reach out to others, but exclude them. Would God approve? People are being hurt because we do not think before we do. Time is ticking…. What will you do?
Phew… Its been a while O.o
After a recent class in Pentateuch, I came to the realization that we pass over so many things in the Bible because we believe that we know the particular story or part of the Bible. For instance, did you know that Moses was called a Bridegroom of Blood in Exodus 4 by his wife Zipporah after she saved him from being killed by God? That Methuselah died a year before the Great Flood? (Listed in the “boring” genealogies in Genesis.) That dinosaurs are mentioned in Job 40 and 41? It may sound silly, but did you also know that the last word of the Bible is “Amen?” Finally, that the Bible talks about some facts that science did not discover until afterwards, such as the uniqueness of the stars (1 Corinthians 15:41), the value of blood in the body (Lev. 17:11), the earth is round (Isaiah 40:22), and the hydrologic cycle-evaporation, rain, etc (Job 36:27-29). These are just a few things that we can see easily but may have never noticed. This is why we must not skip over portions of the Bible because they are “known, or overused.” We should study the Bible as a whole so that we might use what is learned correctly unlike Satan when he tempted Jesus.
I have begun to be shown by God that some of my friends are truly just people who hang around to get enjoyment from humor and so forth. I truly wished this was not true, but I began an experiment a while ago that included me just becoming more serious around others. I began to see a slow change in several people occur. I began to feel ignored, even rejected by some. God is really taking me through a time that I know will be good for me in the future, but is a hard trial for me now. Are you’re friends really “friends?” Do they just stick around for the benefits that they give you? Friends are meant to have a two way relationship, and I would truly encourage you to look around to see what friends are truly “friends.” True friends are people to look for: they encourage, build up spiritually and emotionally, and support what you do (unless it should not be supported). They will tell you if they see a “blind spot” or if they see something that you can change for the better. Are your friends all that and more? I would truly encourage you to take a better look at those around you. I was aruptly brought to the realization that various friends were drawing me away from God, and I did not realize this until I was away from them. Though it will be hard to let go, God will always be there to support you. He is the Friend that is there for you and will tell you if you are in the wrong. Many friends will fail and move on, but He will always be there for you by your side with encouragement. Look to God, and He will give you strength.
Have you noticed how “easy” it is to be a Christian nowadays? All you have to do is say that you are one, and it is usually not questioned by those asking the question. It seems to also be defined by works these days, and as much as I am ashamed to say it, a lot of people that I know are not Christians are easily mistaken for being one because of the good they do for others, while others who profess themselves as Christians are really giving Christians a bad name. Christianity is not an easy thing, but is rather a sacrifice of one’s life to Christ. James said to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4) Christians are created to face trials, not so that we might suffer, but so that we might finally become what we were created by God to be, in the image of God Himself. If your Christian life is easy, you should take a bigger look at your faith, and take a step out of your comfort zone in order to better give glory to God our Father, who is worthy of praise. All of us can always grow more in the image in God, so what are you waiting for? Grow the kingdom of God, and grow in the knowledge of God so that you might better serve Him.
When I first began to learn how to snowboard, I always found that there was something new to correct and improve on. This continues to be the case. I discovered to my great dissatisfaction that whenever I improved or fixed the new problem, another surfaced. In many areas of my life that is happening; for instance, whenever God gives me the strength to conquer a bad habit, sin or temptation, another one is always bound to show its face. This is the world that we live in, and I believe that this cycle is intended for evil, but can actually be for our own good! Through the fire we become pure, through the battles that we face everyday we can grow in our relationship with Jesus, for it is only by His strength that all of the above are overcome. We become stronger only through exercise, but the same is true about the flesh. I guess the point that I meant to say is, whatever the trial might be, don’t be discouraged! Look to God, for “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV) God has a purpose for everything, and through our weakness, He is strong. We not only can conquer the evils of the flesh, but we can use them for the glory of God! So, remain strong, with the knowledge that all things will work out for the good of all Christians.