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The Waiting Game

A nudge, give me clarity.

A feeling, give me a sign.

A command, will I listen?

Have you had a feeling?  You know the one where you seem to have found a sixth sense? No, not like in the movie…”I see dead people”.  More like someone is watching you, or knowing the time is right? How often? Do you wait on these feelings before acting?

I am challenged in my life. Over the years it’s seems that I’ve had clear feelings about the direction I should be taking with my life. Am I right to expect this now, or am I using it as an excuse? Are you?

What are your plans for your life? Have you thought about it, or do you coast by day by day with no plan? Let me talk about this idea of a plan first, then we’ll wrap up.

I think as American’s or those living in wealthy countries we typically have or had at one time a plan for success. It’s who we are. Maybe these plans got sidetracked or squelched. Maybe there is no light at the end of the tunnel, seemingly. Let me challenge you to consider the plan outlined in the Bible. See if it can be sidetracked or squelched as compared to your personal plan.radical

God challenges us to “Go”, to “Make Disciples”, and “Baptize” from Matthew 28. God’s plan is all about telling the story of salvation, to making it known what this thing called sin is and to helping usher in as many people into the Kingdom of Heaven as possible. If you believe as I do, then this is a worthy cause. Much higher than my goal of making tons of money (which as you know can’t be taken with us upon death).

I’ve been reading an excellent book by David Platt, called “Radical”. I highly recommend it for Christians and non-Christians. Why non-Christians? Because this book truly and unabashedly explains what a true Christian should be all about. It clears the air over the argument that “I don’t want to be a Christian because of what the Christian’s I know are like”. It paints the picture of what God expects and ironically, it’s straight from the Bible in which we’re supposed to be reading, supposed to be learning from though prayer and meditation. It’s a challenge, but should that be a surprise?

Consider these biblical truths…. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All liars…will have their part in the lake of fire. You are saved by faith not by works. Everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Believe and be baptized, every one of you.

God’s plan is for us to all be saved. Who is going to spread the word? Have you considered that the Bible does not say that only a couple of people are to GO? All of us are to spread the Gospel. All of us are to BE teachers and speakers and vessels for God’s plan to spread. If we choose not to, we are fooling ourselves, we are passing the buck. We are waiting for someone else to do the work, when we have already been called.

Do we wait for the feeling, the nudge? Or, do we listen to the clear command that has already been placed on our lives? You have been called to be a part of the plan. There are no excuses.

For clarity, FEEL the nudge.

For a sign, READ what is already there.

To listen, OBEY His command.

Commandments I-IV

A somewhat updated blast from the past, I’ve linked to my articles on the first four of the Ten Commandments.  Commandments 1-4 have to do with our relationship with God.  Commandments 4-6 are about our relationships with others.  Here are the first four!

The 1st Commandment

The 2nd Commandment

The 3rd Commandment

The 4th Commandment

What’s in a Commandment? #10

How many of you were just waiting and waiting and wanting to read this last post of the 10 commandments?  Come on, were you coveting this post?  If you were, please reconsider your day job.  :)

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

In a nutshell, we aren’t supposed to sit around thinking about what someone else has, you know thecovet pool phrase, “Keeping up with the Jones”?  They have it, we want it, we go out and buy something to make ourselves feel good, we can now say we have it too!  Doesn’t this stem from coveting or wanting what our “neighbor” has?  Do you like their new pool?  How about that new lawnmower?  We know it’s wrong to steal (we talked about that commandment already), so coveting doesn’t get the job done.  We head out and buy something and this fills the void until we covet again.

We all know that having strong desires can lead to murder, stealing, lying etc.  Coveting kind of falls into the “pre-existing” condition category of many other sins.  When we covet what someone else has, it can lead to all sorts of bad actions.

What’s in a Commandment? #9

Liar, Liar pants on fire…okay, really, why are the pants on fire?pants on fire

The 9th commandment seems pretty simple.  At face value, we shouldn’t give false testimony against our fellow members of society.  We shouldn’t lie about them to another person!  This commandment has easily been applied to lying in general being wrong, rightly so.

How about those little white lies or what you say when talking to a child, you know, protecting a child from hearing what you don’t want to tell them…?  Here’s an idea.  DON’T TELL THEM or simply say THEY ARE TOO YOUNG TO UNDERSTAND.  Why lie in place of a truthful explanation????

Is there really a situation where lying is the only option?  Is it ever the BEST option?

Okay, a classic white lie revolves around relationships.  Am I fat?  Do I look good in this dress?  Honey, was it good for you?  How do you answer these questions?  Should you lie to make someone feel good?  Let’s think of the many incredibly disappointed singers that finally got an honest answer at the hands of Simon Cowell on American Idol.  Do those white lies add up and one day cause great emotional harm when the person finally hears the truth?  Some of those singers were awful (some of it was staged) but in the end some of them truly felt they were good because many people lied to them.  You have to figure out the best way to handle life’s questions on your own.  I’m just saying that lying is the EASY way out and it’s wrong.  In the end, lying can do nothing but cause problems or pain.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor

Bible.com also writes a good explanation on this topic:

http://206.135.15.32/answers/alying.html

What’s in a Commandment? #8

I was just a kid…I didn’t know better.  I liked what I saw, I knew it would taste good, so I snatched a mint from the candy bin.  I wanted to be sure it was good before deciding to buy it, right?  Of course, I had no money.  Here’s part of the problem…I knew it would taste good, but somehow I wanted to be sure it tasted good?  Come on!  I stole a piece of candy.

How about that pen from work?  Legal pad of paper?  Box of paperclips or even that handful of rubberoffice supplies bands?  How about that “free” cup of coffee that you deserve because you are the one who changes out the filter?  I like the commercial about filling your gas station cup of soda up, drinking some, then adding more soda to the cup.  Stealing!  We don’t seem to understand the concept.

A thief is someone who takes something that doesn’t belong to him or her. Did you catch that?  It doesn’t say in there that a thief is someone who takes something that another person deems valuable enough to consider it stolen.

Think of it this way.  Would you asked your boss if it was okay to take home from work pens, rubber bands, paper or paperclips for your own personal use?  If you think your boss would say no, then you wouldn’t ask.  However, the good news is that IF you ask and they say yes…it’s no longer stealing!

It’s a good litmus test.  If you won’t ask for it, then you shouldn’t take it until you ask for it!  And…if you ask for it, then you must respect the answer.

8. You shall not steal

Irrespective of it’s value, you are a thief if you take something that doesn’t belong to you.  Once a thief, always a thief, just like a murderer or an alcoholic will always be a murderer and an alcoholic.

Just another of ten reasons we need a Savior.

What’s in a Commandment? #7

adulteryIt makes sense, a little, that adultery would be listed after murder…but after “honor your parents”? I’m starting to think that God has a different opinion on a lot of things!  I’m joking.  My point is loosely based on the idea that the ten commandments are listed in order of importance.

So, moving on.  Yep, next we move on to another sexual conquest while we are married and we land in the “we’ve committed adultery ” club.  God doesn’t like this, naturally.  Jesus added to it though.  So, if you’re sitting there reading this on your iPod or while sitting in a comfy chair thinking, “I’m clear on this one!”…Hold the phone.

We have:

7. You shall not commit adultery

We all know the gist of this simply commandment, but Jesus clarified this by saying, “You have heard the commandment that says,

‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If you’re a Ray Comfort fan, you’ve undoubtedly heard this one.  It pins most of us down very well.  Whether you view yourself as straight or gay, male or female, have you ever looked at someone with lust?  Have I lusted? Yep, I sure have.  If I said otherwise I would be in violation of the 9th commandment (yet again).  Oh, what a slippery slope we like to try and climb!

And with that, we have the 7th commandment.

What’s in a Commandment? #6

Murder, eh?  If you look at the original language murder is a better word, murder 1arguably, than using kill.  Murder shows “intent to kill”, planning, or a desire to “do the deed”.  Kill can be accidental, which doesn’t fit the spirit of the commandment.

We also have the added declaration that hatred can be equated to murder.  Jesus said,  “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” (Matt 5:21-22 NLT)

This thinking is also supported by the Old Testament law presented in Deuteronomy 19:4-6 (NAS) where is reads:

4“Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he kills his friend unintentionally, not hating him previously–

5as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the handle and strikes his friend so that he dies–he may flee to one of these cities and live;

6otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously.

Hatred is linked to murder, and lack of hatred is linked to accidental killing or manslaughter.  The cities of refuge were there, more so, to protect the relatives of the one killed from committing murder (#6).  Often, we flip this around and think the cities of refuge were more for protecting the person who accidentally killed someone!  I John 3:15 (NIV) also speaks of hatred, proclaiming, 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

So…

6. You shall not murder.

Don’t be too quick to conclude that you aren’t guilty of this commandment…