Thursday, March 31, 2011
A pastor at the church we go to posted blogged about how he had two buckets: 1. God Bucket and 2. Everything else Bucket. Basically, he was saying His quiet times with God, his praying, his meditating, studying, etc. was all done in separation to his family and home. This got me thinking as well because I can read and pray and help other people and minister to those who need it, but when I am with my wife and kids, I find my self doing things and saying things that aren't always loving. I can get very impatient, very selfish, and sometimes a bit grumpy. I am thinking to myself, something is not right! I should not be acting this way. So this week, one of my prayers was, God show me anything else I need to give up. Well, I felt He definitely answered after a decent night sleep. We can read scripture, pray all day, help our neighbor, but if we don't love, then what? I do need to grow in the different spiritual disciplines, but I also need to take on the Character of Christ. He was humble, patient, kind, gentle, not easily angered or impatient, sounds a lot like the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. I need to give up my character, because it is not good enough. Christ's character is enough and I can take on His character through the Holy Spirit! Does not Christ dwell in me? So should His character, not mine. Our families are the ultimate test of character. It is also the ultimate window into the people we really are. Isn't that what they say about character, its what we do when no one is looking? Well, what happens between the walls of my house are only witnessed by a small hand full. So should I not put on Christ there too? God kept reminding me, deny your self and pick up your cross and follow me! Be slow to anger, be kind, gentle, long suffering, keeper of no wrongs. Its not that 1 Corithians is just a great wedding verse, but it is a picture of the character of Christ. Let us submit our character to God so that He may give us the Character of Christ!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Imagine yourself as a homeless, crack addict, full of shame and sin. For years, living on the streets doing whatever it took to get your next fix. Then one day, out of no where a man takes you to his mansion and says to you, “For now on, you will live with me, anything you need, just ask.” The first day is great, but after the honeymoon wears off, you find your self still falling into your bad habits. You start to steal from your benefactor, you start to distrust him, you say to yourself, “I don’t deserve this!” And ultimately you begin to fall back into all the shameful things you did when you were out on the streets. It is the same way with you and I. Before Christ, our actions, thoughts, and deeds led us to death, but now that we know Christ, our actions, thoughts, and deeds lead us to life. But, and I mean a BIG BUT, we have to learn how to live this new life in Christ. Paul says in verses 13-14 (NIV), “...but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Say no to the things that separate you from God. Say no to the things that separate you from our spouse, children, families or friends. We have to make the choice to live by the Spirit and deny ourselves the sin we once loved. I will encourage you with this:
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV)
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
We are always down for a road trip! When I drive, I love to get there as fast as I can, or at least I used to drive that way. I always thought my chances of getting pulled over was low. But one day while driving in VA, I got pulled over for reckless driving, which is punishable by up to a year in jail. My heart felt like it got hit with a sledge hammer. I tried to picture what it would be like if I had to go to jail. I would be crushed to be away from my family. Oh, my poor wife would have to move in with my mom and probably get a job because I wouldn’t be able to support my wife and kids. Of course my wife was freaking out, “I don’t want you to go to jail!!!” “Dear, neither do I !!!”
Thankfully, a couple months later, I had the ticket reduced to a speeding ticket and just had to pay a fine. I felt free!
Now, since I got off of the misdemeanor and know how to get it reduced, do I go out and speed even faster? Do I drive reckless everywhere I go because I got out of it once? No way, first I never drive in VA again, but second I learned from my mistake and slowed down. My family and future is not worth the need for speed.
Its the same way as Christians. Do we continue to live the life that leads to death? Or do we live in the power of Christ? Salvation is freely given to those who ask, but our lives are no longer ours, but Christ’s. Paul says we were once slaves to sin, now let us be slaves to Righteousness. (Rom 6:18)