Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 31, 2011 4 comments
"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9
As I continue to read and research human history there is one thing that just keeps circulating and circulating around in every generation: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The human condition is one that so many people try to overcome with new technology, wealth, or even physical pleasure. Others try to fix this condition with knowledge. They think, “If only we could know enough and educate ourselves enough we could cure every disease known to man or fix every problem with money and ‘know how’.”
The plain reality is that we are selfish. Every human being deals with this problem. Many of us are always trying to figure out, “What’s in it for me?” or, “How can I get a leg up in this endeavor?”
The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough money or knowledge or know how. The problem is that we are selfish. We are born into this world as sinners and we need a Savior to not only save us from ourselves and our selfish desires, but to save us from the consequence of our sin: death.
Try as we might, we cannot overcome this condition on our own. Overcoming our selfish desires on our own is just too much in the end. On our own, all we think about is me, me, me. We will all die someday and life is far too short to live a selfish life.
I think back to the years that I only lived for me. I thought I was advancing things for the good of humanity, only to find out and finally see that I was living not only for my own destruction, but for the ultimate destruction of everything that was right and good. Once I realized that I was only repeating the mistakes of others in the past and not learning from them is when my life really began. In 1995 I thought I had given my whole self to Christ. I tried to serve Him in everything I did, but to be honest with you, it has only been a few years since I have realized and have begun to learn what it means to serve Christ in this new creation that I have become. I now realize how much I need to hear and obey the Holy Spirit in all I do. Do I want to serve Christ? Of course! The way to do that is to hear the voice of God and obey Him.
Once I made the very conscious decision to fear and respect God and not fear people is when my personal relationship with Jesus Christ began to really grow and take shape. I had no idea how much I let others influence and direct me with the fear I had in what others thought of me or would perceive about me. Once I gave that up, strived to do everything I did with integrity, lived a life based on God’s Word, and really let the Holy Spirit rule in my heart is when I could put my head down on the pillow at night and have no worries.
And do you know what Jesus had to say about worrying? He said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:31 – 34
I want to encourage you to not be like an unbeliever. Do not worry. Once followers of Christ start living in this way and the world sees what it really means to be His followers, they will have to stand up and take notice. We need to love. We need to learn from people’s mistakes and successes of the past. The key to the present and future lie in the past.
“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” – General George S. Patton Jr.
For further study:
If you call yourself a Christ–follower are you really following Him and His ways or are you a Christian by name only?
Have you truly given over all the areas of your life over to God?
Who and/or what do you really fear?
Do you really trust God or just say you do?
Do you agree with Jason’s take on this subject? Why or why not? Back your answer with scripture, not with what you “think is right” or “feel is right.”
Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, January 23, 2011 0 comments
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. - Ecclesiastes 1:9
We live in an interesting time. The fact of the matter really is though that everyone has lived in interesting times. Whether it be new technological inventions, politically charged times or through natural disasters. Every generation has its challenges. Every one.
As Christians we need to take this to heart. Truly not worrying about anything. We need to trust God in supplying our needs and sustaining our lives. Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 6:25 - 34 / “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
So do you actually believe this?
How much more valuable are you and your family than the flowers of the field or the birds of the air? You are much more valuable because you are created in the image of God. Do not be like a pagan who runs after trivial things. Trust your heavenly Father. He will supply no matter what you are going through.
My family and are doing our best to actually put this teaching into practice in all that we do. We also have been learning to trust Christ –followers to hear God’s voice and obey as well. Sometimes He puts it on people’s hearts to help us out in some way. You will notice though the Christ-follower must obey. We cannot just hear God's leading and then do nothing. We must do what He is calling us to do. What is so amazing is when He calls us as a family to do something that just makes no sense at all like helping someone in a financial way that we cannot afford in our mind or with time we don’t think we have and how He blesses us right back. In fact, we have actually sent money to someone we were led to help or support and then, usually, not soon afterward we receive what we gave to the ministry or people we gave to.
Let’s keep in mind that everything is God’s. He owns it all. I write this because other times we do not receive financially in return. We are blessed by giving and we keep James 1 in mind. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."
Remember that Jesus said this in John 8: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Hold to His teachings then the truth will set you free. Seek Him out. You will not be sorry! Your adventure in serving the God of the Universe is ready to begin. All you need to do is say yes, and then hear God’s voice and obey.
Live today. Tomorrow will have enough worry.
James 4, Focus on verses 13-17
Hear and Obey. Considering the recent shooting in Arizona and all of the lies and misreporting that immediately came after that tragedy, I would like to challenge all Christ-followers to raise the bar.
We need to always tell the truth. We cannot get entangled in telling lies or half-truths to further the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. This will only be a detriment to the cause of Christ. We must seek truth and then tell the truth no matter where it leads. Truth is truth. Jesus Christ is very clear in His teaching: “The truth will set you free.” We tend to forget to read that verse in context. It is true that the truth will set you free but only in light of the whole text: Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We must be His disciples to really know the truth. We must read and study God’s Word. We must listen to and then obey the Holy Spirit’s leading. If you are not a sold-out follower of Jesus Christ in everything you do and are not striving to serve Him in all you do, then at certain times, as is clear from the text, you will not know the truth and will be deceived with lies from the evil one.
We need to heed Scripture. If we, as true Christ-followers, obey God’s Word and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, we can influence this dying world. We can encourage those who think they are Christ-followers to wake up from their slumber and choose to truly follow Christ.
It’s time to actually live what we believe. When we do this, those who hear God’s voice and obey Him will be set free with the truth.
For further study, read John 8:31–47, Joshua 24:15, and James 3:3-12.
One final note: I would like to remind everyone that sometimes it’s best to simply refrain from saying anything (for instance, choosing not to comment on an internet thread, rather than joining in the debate). Self-control is a very good thing!
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." - Winston Churchill
We have been designed by God to follow Him. He placed within us a desire to worship Him. However, Satan takes what God means for good and twists it. For instance, Satan used Scripture to tempt Jesus to sin. However, Jesus quoted Scripture to combat Satan and cut through his lies. Putting Scripture to memory in your mind and heart is one of the best ways to be on the attack against Satan’s wiles.
Satan can make sin look so appealing sometimes. From the earliest days of the world, Satan has twisted the truth to try to draw mankind away from God. He convinced Adam and Eve in the Garden that the forbidden fruit was appealing and harmless. They succumbed to his conniving ways and chose to disobey God, introducing sin into the world.
God told Adam from which tree he should avoid eating fruit and informed him of the consequences he would receive if he sinned against God. He gave Adam and Eve free will.
Did you spot the morsel of wisdom there?
In that little story, God showed us an incredible lesson in being a godly parent. He showed us that we should not force our children to obey. As Ephesians instructs, we should not exasperate our children.
I can imagine that students reading this right now are thinking, “Sweet! See? We can do anything we want.” Well, yes, that is true, but there is a catch: We must face the consequences of our actions.
As parents, we need to teach our children that there are consequences to our actions, just as God taught Adam and Eve. In fact, the human race is still reaping incredible strife from the choice they made to disobey God . . . but don’t blame them. We would have done the same thing.
Students, I know that consequences of bad decisions can hurt and are painful for a time, but discipline is not meant to be enjoyable. It is meant to teach us what we should and should not do. By accepting the consequences of our actions, we learn personal responsibility. We learn to mature and stop being children. I understand that, as a student, you want to feel and be treated like an adult. I know I did. Keep in mind, however, that it is a painful — but rewarding — path in learning to be a responsible adult and to live a godly life pleasing to our Lord.
Here are my challenges to you: Start to become observant of Satan’s temptations — when he twists the truth to try to draw you away from obeying God. Begin memorizing Scripture and storing it away in your heart. That way, when Satan does tempt you and twists the Word of God, you, like Jesus, will be ready to attack with the truth of God’s Word. However, when you do give in to Satan’s bidding, as we all do at times, stand up and accept the consequences of your decision. Not only will you be less inclined to make the same mistake again, but you will also be stepping toward a godly life of obedience as an adult. Something all of us adults still need to work on every single day with the help of the Holy Spirit.
For further reading, check out these Scripture passages:
1 Peter 4:1–19
“Dear Mr. DeZurik,
I wanted to apologize to you. I opened an (account with a social networking site) without my parents’ permission and lied about my age. Then I asked you to be my friend. I was wrong to do this. I will be closing the account and not opening one again until I am old enough.
I recently received the above note from a young man who is learning a hard lesson — how to be a man of integrity. He’s learning how to be godly even though it is difficult.
It was such a blessing for me to receive the note and apology from this young man in person. Most likely it was uncomfortable for him because he did not know what my reaction would be. Of course, I forgave him and encouraged him to become the man of God he is called to be.
I’m encouraged by having friends like his parents who, like my wife and I, are trying to raise godly children. It is not easy to admit when you’re wrong or to teach your child to take the difficult road (the “narrow path”), but God has called us to this kind of living. In the long run, taking the narrow road will reap rewards in your life, your child’s life, and society as a whole.
As children of the most high King, we must not only teach God’s ways, but also live His ways in order for people to understand the life that He offers.
We must live for our King and not for our own selfish, evil desires. The carnal must die, and God must increase in our lives.
For further study, read Matthew 7:13 – 23, 1 Peter 1:13–15 and Colossians 1:24–29.