Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"I am going to PUMP you up!"

So recently I have noticed some of my t-shirts still smell a little even after its been washed. Bad detergent you say? How about I forget to to put my dirty shirts in the laundry after my work outs and after they have marinated in my sweat. Ewww! For the last 6 months or so I have been working out in some form, swimming, basketball @ 6am, lifting weights or the good ol' elliptical. Over time I have noticed some changes; I am fitting into my old clothes, I am moving from flab to fab, (Yes I just said fab and meant it in the most masculine way!), and I am feeling more confident about myself.  I also notice I am looking at myself more in the mirror and thinking more about what I look like or what I want to look like. In other words I am idolizing myself. I find it easy to focus and celebrate my own strength at times, which means I am not focusing on God's word and I am not keeping my trust in Christ. I continually go to God in prayer, trying to focus on Him and giving thanks for the time to workout and give God the glory for any changes.
God has been showing me that in all aspects of my life I need to trust in Him and find strength in Christ and wait for his perfect timing, not my own, even though at times it doesn't make sense!
Self sufficiency is instilled in us since we are little kids. Even our country was founded on the desire to seek self sufficiency and thanks to Ben Franklin, we have sayings like, "Pull yourself up by your own boot straps!" As humans, we tend to want to do things by ourselves, even from toddlerhood, we want to "Do it by my self!!!" And in addition, we also tend to focus our conscience on our own strength! I am good at this, I am good at that, and we begin to identify ourselves with our skills and talents. In sense we idolize our selves, negating the need for Christ. "Oh I don't need Jesus!" Oh YES we do! For our strengths are really weaknesses! When we are faced with problems in life, if we try to solve them with our own might and intelligence, we might find great frustration and disappointment. But if we put our trust in God and wait for His perfect timing, "He works out all things for good for those he loves!"
Common sense is not always Christ-sense. But it is following Christ-sense that brings joy, peace, and victory. I am sure it made no sense at all to Abraham to bring his son to be sacrificed, considering God's promise and how long it took to be fulfilled, but he trusted in God and waited on God and God provided a ram to be sacrificed. I am sure it made no sense for Peter to walk out on the water, but Peter did take a couple of steps and it wasn't until he took his eyes off Jesus did he begin to sink. Faith is not by sight, but believing that God will keep his promise in spite of the circumstances presented. God doesn't want the world to know how great I am, he wants the world to know how Great He is! It is through our weaknesses that God shines through. Instead of embracing our strengths, start to look your weaknesses in the eye and give them up to God and watch how his power will flow. For we are to be jars that God uses to pour out His love and grace. But he can't fill us up with him if we stuff ourselves in the jar.
Distractions are all around us, but God's word help us to keep focus on Him. "Remain in me and I will remain in you" - Jesus

Monday, August 2, 2010

"Price check on aisle 4!"

Driving home this weekend, in the middle of a 3 hour drive, I noticed all the crazy drivers speeding, cutting off, tailgating, and practicing sign language. Then I remember how I used to drive like that minus the sign language, until the day I got the big one!!! Driving through Virginia, I wouldn't recommend it unless completely necessary, I got pulled over doing 80 in a 70 mph. Now if I was in NY, that wouldn't be that bad, but unbeknownst to me and left unmentioned by my father who happens to be a police officer in VA Beach, 80 mph and over is considered wreck-less driving which means a ticket and a court appearance to some where in Nowhere, VA. Also, considered a misdemeanor, jail time was also a possibility! Talk about freaking out on the side of the road! Thankfully no jail but I ended up paying close to $500 when everything was said and done! Not something I had just laying a round. Ever since, I have been very careful when I am driving and use my cruise control quite a bit. I got a glimpse of the high price for high speed and did not want to pay the piper again.
I write all of this because I think sin works a little like this. When we are tempted with sin and start considering it, we think about the benefits not the costs. I mean thats how Satan sells it, "its all about the now and no one will get hurt, its just between you and me!" We rarely consider the cost. What if we did consider the costs and ignore Satan's lie? His lie is that it won't cost much or anything at all, but we may never know the true costs of our sins. How many of us have realized that the ultimate cost of our sin is our own death and the death of Jesus. My sin put Christ on that cross, I was supposed to be there and He has taken my place, Hallelujah!
But what are the costs of our "cheap sins?"
Lets look at some of the costs:
  1. Distance in relationships, wives, parents, children, friends, church family. How often do we think others are creating distance when actually our sins slowly drift us down the coast of all our relationships.
  2. Money, how much money do we spend on fueling our lusts in order to find some satisfaction in life.
  3. Separation from God, loneliness, paranoia. A constant fear and anxiety that cripples us from daily life.
  4. Mental health: how stressed do we get trying to clean up after the messes we leave due to our sins.
  5. Lose trust and respect, our reputations may be at stake.
  6. Health, sickness, death, etc. I am not saying all sickness or health complications are directly due to sinful acts, but sometimes bad behavior has bad consequences (ex. drunk driving, stealing, promiscuity, etc.)
Please note that this is not a completed list. Let us, let me, consider the true cost of sin when we are faced with temptation. Consider your family, your friends, your relationship with Christ. What have you lost to sin? Was it worth it? No, it never is!
Jesus does not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear, but we must remember to seek strength and help from God when we find ourselves tempted. We can not win on our own, Christ already beat death, it is up to us to allow God's power to work in us!

We must be wary of un checked sin, because that is how our hearts become hard against God and lead us down the road of Death! Thankfully, God takes the dead and raises it again!