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Monday, February 17, 2014

God's Promise of Life

{Isaiah 1:18-20; ESV}
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

One of the wonderful promises God has made to us is that He will remove our sin and make us new. Let me put it another way: God will redeem our lives!

God will take all the junk, the sin, the pain, and the tragedies and exchange them for eternal life. This promise speaks to the heart of many people because we want our lives to have weight to them.  We want our lives to matter!

At this moment many of us feel like our lives are being wasted. The consequences of sin hold us in bondage and the addictive nature of sin has turned us into people we don’t want to be. Our hearts come alive when we discover that God promises to change this reality.

There is another side to this coin. God has promised to help us, to re-create us, and to take away our sins, but He also expects us to accept the help and redemption that He offers. The key to receiving God’s help is faith. Faith is not just about having a belief in God, but it is trusting God. I like to say that belief + action = faith.

See more at Paul's Ponderings: Experiencing God's Promise of Life 


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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Desire to Produce

Woven within the masculine spirit is the desire to produce. Men need to be productive in order to give their lives meaning and purpose. This is why some men spend time creating through writing, carving, or inventing. It is why other men spend time building things like tables, hot rods, or houses. This is why some men spend time growing gardens, raising animals, or planting trees. It is why other men spend time restoring old houses, antique furniture, or rusty cars.

Men need projects that are both fulfilling and rewarding. It is essential for men to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

We live in a culture where many jobs no longer offer men the opportunity to produce. There are numbers to be crunched and PowerPoint presentations to be put together, but real productive work is missing. This reality eats away at the spirit of a man. Men require productivity.

See more at Paul's Ponderings : Masculine Craving - The Need to Produce 


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Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Slavery of Sin

Take a moment and think about what John Maxwell and Jim Dornan wrote in their book Becoming a Person of Influence; “Slaves is the right term to describe people who lack integrity because they often find themselves at the whim of their own and others’ changing desires” (p. 32)

The movie version of The Lord of the Rings has made J. R. R. Tolkien’s story accessible to thousands of people who would never bother with actually reading the story. One of the characters that people seem to identify with is the character Gollum. Gollum is a pitiful creature because he has been corrupted by the power of the One Ring. The Ring consumes Gollum’s life, and there is nothing he can do to break free from its power.

This is how Colin Duriez describes Gollum in The J.R.R. Tolkien Handbook:
“In The Lord of the Rings a once-hobbit who bore the marks of long centuries underground guarding yet possessed by the One Ring which he called ‚ ‘my precious’, and which he had deluded himself into thinking was a birthday present to him” (p. 106).

The possession of the Ring had changed Smeagol to Gollum, from a Stoor Hobbit to a pitiful creature. The Ring may have granted Gollum unnatural long life, but it also physically changed him. Worse than the physical change was the control the Ring had on Gollum’s desires and dreams. They were twisted and corrupted so much that all Gollum could think about was to regain possession of his “precious”.

See more at Paul's Ponderings : Freedom from the Slavery of Sin 


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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Trust God with Your Life

{James 1:1-4; ESV} 
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 

 It is no secret that life is filled with heartbreak, disappointment, tragedy, and an assortment of other troubles. We understand that God has not promised us an easy life. We are also aware of His ability to use the junk of our lives to mature our faith and transform us into the people He created us to be. The reason we should find joy in our suffering, is because God redeems our pain to make us new creations.

Yet, we also know that this is easier said than done. When our lives are going smoothly, or at least manageable, we can say, “I trust God no matter what happens.” It is easy to trust to God when things seem to be easy.

 When the clouds descend and the storm hits often our trust in God disappears. If we are not careful we may even begin to question God's heart. We may even begin to question His existence.

 How do we encourage each other in the midst of trials without sounding like a cheerleader? You know the person who says, “Just try a little harder. You can do it. Hang in there.” That type of encouragement is worthless. It is like trying to encourage a guy with a compound leg facture to get up and run a marathon, “You can do it. I am in your corner. I will pray for you.” We would recognize such behavior as cruel, and rightly so, because the problem isn't a lack of effort but a broken leg.

See more at Paul's Ponderings : Trust God with Your Life


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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Truth and Right Living

Following Jesus is more than having correct doctrine about God. Having knowledge of God is not the same thing as having a relationship with Him. A person can know the Bible, but be far away from God.

I don't want to make Bible study seem unimportant. Study is a very essential discipline in the process of spiritual formation. It is crucial that we have an accurate understanding of what the Bible says. Reading and studying the Bible is the main way God guides our lives. Therefore, correct doctrine is very important, and correct doctrine begins with the Bible.

The Apostle Paul wrote this to Timothy; Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:16; ESV).

What we believe about God matters! Remember, it doesn't matter how sincerely we believe something, if that belief is not true, then what we believe is wrong. Our believing something sincerely doesn't make that something true. The Truth that Christians believe must be rooted in Scripture. The Bible reveals to us the truth we need for life. Part of Christianity is about knowing the Truth.

Yet, we know following Jesus is more than just knowing Truth. We have all witnessed people who knew God's Word, but lived as if it wasn't Truth. Truth without appropriate action makes no difference in our lives. Think back to what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:16. He told us that there are two areas of our lives that we need to watch closely: what we believe and how we live.

The problem many church families in the United States are facing are people who have access to the Truth, but choose to ignore that truth so they can do their own thing. These people claim Christ, but they pick and choose what they want to believe so they can live life on their own terms. They are neither watching their doctrine or their lives closely.

This damages the witness of the Church because the World looks at “Christians” and see them living like everyone else. The World doesn't see the love, the gentleness, the peace, the hope, the forgiveness, or the self-control that should be visible in the life of Christians. Instead the World sees hypocrisy, jealousy, bitterness, hatred, greed, and the list could go on and on. In the end the World looks at the Church and sees a reflection of itself.

See more at Paul's Ponderings: Knowing Truth and Living Right

 

Accept the Differences

Most of us understand that people are different and those differences are a good thing. The world would be a boring place if everyone beli...