Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Tone-deaf

“And though they worshiped the Lord, they continued to follow the religious customs of the nations from which they came. And this is still going on among them today. They follow their former practices instead of truly worshiping the Lord…” 2 Kings 17:33-34

Sometimes when my wife calls me or asks me to do something, I’ll pretend not to hear her. I know, I know, this is horrible. But it’s the truth. She’ll ask me to give the kids a bath or take out the trash and I just sit there looking off into space. I joke with her that I must have gone tone-deaf to her voice…she doesn’t think it’s too funny. Making my way through 2 Kings, I came across some verses that really stood out and honestly make me reflect on the way we view Christ. I say we because I am guilty of this as well. The verse above says that yes, they worshiped the Lord, but they also continued in their old ways. They never TRULY worshiped the Lord. They never TRULY surrendered to God. As I look at my own life and compare it to these verses, I can’t help but to relate. Yes, I worship the Lord Jesus Christ, I read my bible, I sing songs of worship, and I pray. But I also have not fully surrendered. I haven’t surrendered my emotions, my selfishness, my pride, the list goes on. I know what the bible says about this, but just like with my wife, I sometimes try to act like I don’t hear the Lord calling out to me. It’s usually when He asks me to do something difficult or out of my comfort zone. In these times it’s important for us to remember the promises of God. God said He would never fail us, forsake us, or abandon us. Hebrews 13:8 states that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” If this is true, and we believe what the bible says, we must take to heart what Jesus said in Matthew 28, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Jesus Christ is with us. Always. We Christians must turn from our old ways. We must forget the religious customs that came from this world and remember what the bible says about who we are and what we are called to do. We can’t afford to turn a deaf ear to God any longer, this world needs Him. Please, please don’t follow the footsteps of those mentioned in 2 Kings 17:40, “But the people would not listen and continued to follow their old ways.” Whatever God is calling you to do, no matter how difficult or awkward it may be, do it. God is with us. Trust in His word. “And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.” Philippians 1:6.

 

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Burn Out

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.” Romans 12:11 MSG

Easier said than done, right? A gentleman in my Wednesday morning bible study made an interesting comment today. He said that a group of college kids had came in on a mission trip and were “on fire for Jesus”. He also stated that he wished we could keep that fire going as we grew older, but the world would eventually beat them down as well. Maybe one would keep the fire but most would “burn out”. I have to admit, when he said this I was taken back, even a little angered that he could say this so nonchalantly. Like it was inevitable and that we could do nothing about it. When I sat down to write this post I was frustrated at his comment, upset with the ease of it. But as I started typing I realized something…he was right. But why? Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” If it’s easy and light, why do so many Christians burn out? As I prayed about it, a thought came to mind. Maybe the reason so many of us burn out is because we are not yoked with Christ, but ourselves. We try to take on the yoke of Christianity without Christ. Instead of leaning on Jesus and trusting in Him and His work on the cross for salvation, we are desperately trying to save ourselves. We trust in our own works, our bible studies, our prayer time, our volunteering to ensure our salvation. We end up trying to be our own savior. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are of great value, but they won’t save us. Only faith in Jesus Christ can save us, and through faith come the works. The bible studies and prayer time, the volunteering and serving should come as a result of faith in Jesus, not the other way around.  So looking back on the comment made of “burning out,” he was right, to an extent. Apart from Jesus we can only sustain the fire for so long. Eventually we will burn out. The world will beat us down and do its very best to douse our flames. If we hope to stand any chance of avoiding exhaustion and spiritual burn out we must rely on Jesus. Only He can sustain us. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV. My prayer is that you would find your strength in Jesus Christ, that He would fan your flames until they roar uncontrollably with His spirit. That you would lean on Him in times of weakness. That those of you who don’t know Him would stumble into the wildfires of my Christian brothers and sisters and upon seeing the flames of their passion for Christ, have no other option than to themselves ignite. I pray for those whose coals have all but burned out, that the Holy Spirit would blow in like a hurricane and set your soul ablaze. We are called to be the light of the world. I pray that the Holy Spirit would keep us fueled and aflame. Amen.

Stargazing

“As they were straining their eyes to see Him, two white-robed men suddenly stood there among them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw Him go, He will return!” Acts 1:10-11

Just as the apostles who were caught standing around staring at the sky, I often find myself in the same situation, standing around looking to the sky. I’ve got to a point where I am just at a stalemate, not really doing anything to spread the Good News, not doing anything to find lost people, not doing anything to further my relationship with Jesus, not doing anything really, just standing around looking to the sky. I think this is the case for a lot of Christians (whether they want to admit it or not). We reach a point were we are showing up for church but not much else. We have to keep fighting the Good Fight. We have to keep spreading the Word. We have to keep running the race. I worry that we as Christians are not doing all we can to reach others. I fear that we have reached a point where we no longer see the urgency to spread God’s message of grace and salvation. We as Christians have lost our drive. As I read through some of my older posts, I feel like I don’t even know the man that wrote them. The words have passion. The words have intensity. What happened to that man? It has been almost six months since my last post. Granted I started working a full time job and no longer have all day to study the bible like I used to, but still, why have I put off the most important part of being a Christian, reaching lost souls. The whole reason I started writing was to reach others (and I get super uncomfortable doing it on stage or in person). But even reading the last sentence, “I get super uncomfortable,” tears at me. I’m sure it wasn’t “comfortable” for Jesus on the cross, I’m sure it wasn’t “comfortable” for the apostles to leave everything they held dear in order to follow Him, and I know it wasn’t comfortable when they were all persecuted because of it. We live in a world of “comforts”. Most of us have been blessed to live in a world where we can freely and openly worship without fear of death or physical hardship. Why then is it so hard for us to get out there and spread His word? One of the last things Jesus told us to do before He ascended into Heaven was to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus even says that He is “with you always, even to the end of the age,” why then is it so hard? We as Christians have to stop staring at the sky and focus more on those around us. I’ve had the opportunity to visit different churches around my area and the message is almost the same at everyone, we have to start reaching out. The preachers are all pleading with the congregation to act. We have gotten complacent, me included. I can’t begin to count all the times I have had an opportunity to reach out to someone and simply did nothing. Why? I read the stories of men and women in the bible that gave their very lives in order to spread God’s message, and wonder when we lost that drive. In most cases here in America, and other areas of the world for that matter, we don’t have to worry for our lives if we spread the message. We may be mocked, made fun of, or laughed at but not martyred for it. I for one am tired of being a “cowardly Christian” as I heard one preacher put it. It’s time to stop standing on the sidelines, staring at the sky, and start getting involved. Hell is real, and while we have no fear of death because of the grace of God, there are millions out there that are still lost. Millions that may never know the love of God unless we stop stargazing and start reaching out, no matter how “uncomfortable” it may be, because just as the white-robed men told the apostles as they stood idly by, “He will return!”

The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled

“He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 NLV

It’s been less than a year since I started believing the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ. I read verses like 2 Thessalonians 2:10, and shake my head and think of people that it reminds me of. People that I hear or see talking about how silly “religion” is and how can people really believe that a man in the clouds is going to take us up to heaven on streets of gold and live happily ever after. I shake my head when I think of these other people, until I realize that up until not too long ago, I was one of those people. I grew up going to church, but it was mainly to see my friends and for the youth trips to Gatlinburg, TN. Once I got out of high school and out on my own, I formed this misguided opinion that there just could not be a God. How could something as awesome as God really exist? I questioned people’s faith, I mocked and ridiculed them for their beliefs, and I straight up made fun of people that believed in this so called, “God”. Looking back on it, I never made fun of anyone for being a Buddhist, or Hindu, or even a scientologist for that matter (ok I probably made fun of scientologists) but the point is, I was singling out Christianity. Why? Why was Christ the center of my focus as far as religion bashing went? The answer to that question is in the verse at the top of this blog, deception. I was being deceived by the father of lies, the evil one himself, Satan. I heard a saying once that said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing man that he did not exist.” That saying has stayed with me ever since I first heard it. I honestly believe that Lucifer would much rather you deny he exists than to worship him, because he knows that if you worship Satan, then you must believe in God as well. And if you believe in God, there’s a greater chance that Jesus Christ will come into you life. But if you deny that Satan exists at all, then the devil is already winning in your heart. Whether you believe it or not, one day Jesus Christ will come back. And just like Romans 14:11 says, “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” It goes on to say in verse 12 that, “each of us shall give account of himself to God.” So you can keep saying you don’t believe the living word of God that is the Bible, or the fact that He sent His only son to die for each and every single person that walked this earth. I don’t care what color you are, what part of the world you just so happened to be born in, Jesus Christ loved you enough to die for your sins so that you could go on to have eternal life in Him. As long as you have air in you lungs and a beating heart in your chest, you have time to turn your life over to God. I pray to almighty God that if you haven’t received Christ, that He would lay an undeniable conviction on your heart to hit your knees and repent. Because if you don’t, it’s not going to be that eternal sleep of nothingness when you die like I so often hear about from nonbelievers, it’s going to be the fires of Hell for all eternity.

A lesson In Humility

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV.

I couldn’t have found a better verse for my life right now. It’s funny, when I write these blogs I always pray that they could help someone out there that may stubble across them and be struggling with something. Or for those of you that do follow them, a verse or phrase that could shine a little light in your life and brighten your day. It seems that lately though, God has been using my own blogs to help me through issues. Chapter 2 in the book of Philippians is a very humbling read. Paul says in verse 5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” that’s the official “W.W.J.D.” message. In all seriousness though think about how the world would be today if everyone thought as Jesus did. Imagine the change that would take place in our homes, at work, at school, or even in the political offices. It’s not always easy to think with a “Christ-like” mentality though, I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ would not have been as excited as I am about double xp weekends. Chapter 2 was a real gut check. Verse 14 says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing,”. All things? There are a lot of things I can do without complaining, but one thing I really and truly despise, is shopping for home decorations. Maybe it’s because my wife doesn’t let me turn our living room into the batcave, or maybe it’s because it doesn’t take me 4 hours to pick out a lamp. Regardless the reason, I will seriously find every excuse I can possible can to avoid going to places such as The Old Time Pottery Barn. Now if Paul, who happened to be imprisoned in Rome at the time, can tell us to “do all things without complaining” while he was in shackles and chains, I could probably go look at some mirrors for a few hours without saying too much. Right after Paul tells us not to be a Debbie-Downer, he continues in verse 15, “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”. Our world was crooked and perverse then, and it’s crooked and perverse now. We as Christians, must shine God’s light on this dark world. Paul describes his brother, Epaphroditus, as a fellow worker, a fellow soldier. That’s the mentality I try to have when I think about my duty as a Christian, the same as Paul’s, a soldier of Christ in His holy army. We fight a battle everyday on this earth. There are dark forces working against us, not trying to sway our beliefs, but to eliminate them all together. Organizations such as the Freedom From Religion group, are doing everything they can to eradicate God in every sense of the word. I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ took a stand for what He believed in when He chased the money changers out of the temple. We can’t just sit back and shake our head when there are groups actively trying to erase God from our lives, and in many cases, succeeding. I pray that we would all start to seek things which are of God, instead of our own selfish desires.

Carry On My Wayward Son

Most of us have probably heard the story of the prodigal son. If you haven’t, the story is in Luke 15:11-32. It’s basically about a guy with two sons. The youngest of the two asks for his share of the inheritance and sets out to see the world. Not long after he leaves home he has blown through all his cash in “prodigal living” which basically means he partied all his money away. After working for a while feeding pigs, he realized that even the servants on his fathers land had it better than he did at this point. So, he decided that he would go home and beg for his fathers forgiveness. As he was traveling home he prepared this speech that he would say to his father in hopes that his father would allow him to return. The bible says that his father saw him when he was still a great way off and ran to him. Before the son could get halfway through his prepared speech his father cut him off and told the servants to bring out a robe, and start a feast, his son has returned! Now, the other brother heard the music and asked one of the servants what was up, the servant told him that his brother has returned. The older brother got mad because his dad never gave him a party for always being faithful, but as soon as his younger brother returned from blowing all his money on parties and harlots, they have a feast. The father says in Luke 15:32 NKJV, “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” I really like this story because it reminds me of my own, except for the older brother part. I was dead in sin and lost to the world. I’ve done my fair share of “prodigal living” that’s for sure, but when I started on my way back home, my Father welcomed me with open arms. The Lord doesn’t care where you have been, He cares where you are going. It doesn’t matter how far away you have traveled from home, your Father will always welcome you back. Luke 15:10 NKJV, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Knocking On Heaven’s Door

I honestly believe that every word in the bible is put there on purpose. Every word, every sentence, verse, chapter, and book have a message or meaning. Sometimes when I go back and reread a verse I’ll get a different interpretation than the first time I read it. But I always get something out of it. When I was doing my bible study this morning I was thinking about what kind of a message I could post from Luke 13. I could have posted about Jesus healing on the Sabbath and how we get wrapped up in the laws of God instead of focusing on the love and mercy that is Jesus Christ. Or the parable of the fig tree, that’s a message all on its own. But the verses that really stood out to me today was Luke 13:23-25 NKJV, “Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘ I do not know you, where you are from,'” The guy was basically asking Jesus if a lot of people were going to go to Heaven. The question of salvation can be a tricky one. Some believe that once saved, always saved. Some believe that you can lose you salvation. I believe that once you truly give your life to God, it won’t be an issue. Once you fully surrender to God, it won’t be a question of “am I truly saved?” or “can I lose my salvation?” Romans 8:38-39 NKJV says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Once you truly give it all to God, nothing in this world or the next, can ever take away the love of God that is Jesus Christ. I have felt the power of God first hand, the change that takes place in your heart when you accept Him as your savior. Once you truly feel the Holy Spirit, it won’t be a question of salvation anymore. Once I was truly saved, I felt a calling to spread the word of God. I write these posts in hopes that they would reach someone out there, someone lost, someone far from God. The question I find myself asking now isn’t “is God real?” or “am I truly saved?” I know that God is real, I know that I am saved. My concerns now aren’t for myself anymore, they are for my friends, my family, my readers. The verse above isn’t a scare tactic to get you to go to church or read your bible, it’s the living word of God Himself. One day He will come back, and I fear for many out there it will be too late for repentance. It will be too late to give it all to God. “When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you,'”