Tag Archives: Bible

Jesus’ coffee controversy

Jesus coffee

Barista Mike Breach of NY turns lattes into portraits. Photo per mail.co.uk. I don’t own rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

To me, the great controversy is NOT why did Jesus turn the water into wine. It’s why didn’t He turn it into coffee?

Heart trash

intheheartThe surface may be placid blue. But underneath, all the contaminants known to man lurk, as this photoshopped pic from Maria Louise on Google Circles suggests.

What pollutions hide in your heart? Only God sees into darkest secrets, in the murky plumbing beneath the splendorous veneers. God wants to dredge and clean.

Your best life now starts with Jesus

your best life now

Fall into God, not into sin

Fall

We need both stop and go


People want only go. They want a green light for sin. But the reality is that you can’t have go without stop. Otherwise, you’ll crash your life.

The Bible is NOT a list of DON’Ts as is so often alleged. To the contrary, it is a guidebook of how to live your life with happiness and success and make it to God’s Heaven.

There’s no use fighting against each other.

This is all an ‘accident’

no God?Yeah, right.

The image comes thanks to Colorado Landscapes on Google+. I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money on it.

The hope for the future

the hope for the future are children… are children.

(I don’t remember where I got this image from. I’m not making any money on it.)

Dead enough? Halloween in the Bible

Halloween deathWhat do Christians have to do with the “devil’s day?” More than you might think.

First of all, the devil has no day. Every day belongs to Jesus.

Second, Christians are told to crucify their flesh, to live spiritual, not carnal lives. The sinner gives free reign to his flesh. There’s no death going on as you’re getting drunk with plastic vampire teeth in your mouth. The blood is fake.

But what Christians are doing is real. These verses sounds pretty Halloweeny:

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. — Ro. 6:4, 6, 11 NIV.

Do you think your party celebrating death-things is cool once a year? You should celebrate a real death 52 times a year (every Sunday).

MacBeth

MacBethShakespeare’s MacBeth starts with good intentions. He defends the king from a traitor. When he’s promised the kingdom, he swears off procuring it himself. If it falls to him, he’ll take it.

But the good intentions soured. Dark ambition took over his heart. When the king visited his castle, MacBeth killed him and made it look like it had been the king’s own guards. As next in line to the throne, MacBeth got the crown.

All his bases were covered except his conscience. He hallucinates that his hands are covered with blood. Then he argues with the ghost of the king in front of his friends. His kingship was short. What’s ill-attained quickly will go up in smoke.

Pain: when I think on my circumstances

Pain: when I think on my circumstancesJoy: when I think of others’ blessings.

I get discouraged by my own circumstances.

But when I think about other rising disciples in the church, I rejoice to see God blessing and using them.

Lesson learned: think about others.

Make the finish line

make the finish lineThe Christian life is not a sprint. It is a marathon.

The marathon — 26 miles — is divided into two parts: 1) the first 25 miles, then 2) the last mile.

Forget about who’s first. Just finish the rest. Too many Christians burn out, get confused, get bitter or otherwise fall out of their orbit.

He who persevere to the end shall be saved. — Matt. 24:13.

Those people who are dying from Ebola… We know them.

aid to Ebola region

Cheryl Tormey (behind) and Dal Basile, Lighthouse Medical Missions volunteers, with food to be shipped out to Sierra Leone.

With Ebola on the one hand and beheadings on the other, Santa Monica-based Lighthouse Medical Missions cancelled its Fall trip and instead is sending a container of food and medical supplies to West Africa this week.

Dr. Robert Hamilton – a Santa Monica pediatrician who’s braved dangers since 1998 to provide care to some of the neediest people on the planet – was originally eying a trip to Lebanon to care for Syrian refugees. But then jihadists began killing Westerners in retaliation for the U.S.-led air war against the Islamic State.

On the other hand, the usual Fall trip to West Africa was also ruled out because of rampaging Ebola infections.

So Dr. Bob, as locals affectionately call him, figured he could do the most good by simply sending supplies to Sierra Leone, where he has contact with 100s of pastors and church members who virtually work as permanent Lighthouse staff to help local needs 365 days a year. Lighthouse Medical Missions has realized 20 clinics, almost all in Africa, at a total cost of $1.5 million, Dr. Bob said.

Read the rest of the article and find out how to pitch in:  Help with Ebola.

Faulty (human) reasoning

faulty reasoningNicodemus can’t understand being “born again.” How can a man enter his mother’s womb and be “born again?” he asks.

Judas Iscariot reasoned that it was time to cash out on Jesus. He reasoned Jesus wasn’t going anywhere after all, and that he should make the most of three years of following the loser named Jesus.

Job’s friends reasoned against their friend. Instead of consoling him, they blamed him. You must have sinned because look at the proof: God’s not with you anymore.

The very same logical fallacies atheists accuse us of using, they too use! (When a pseudo-intellectual brandishes an exotic Latin fallacy, it tends to quiet the non-Latin speaker.)

As Christians, we too can “reason” ourselves out of the will of God. We can “reason” our way of out going to church, tithing, outreaching, our marriage, etc.

To avoid this pratfall, bathe your decisions in prayer. Make sure you don’t spend your time praying trying to convince God that He ought to approve your previously determined decision.

Even in the second watch of the night

second watchAs a sandanista, Alex had a super strict commander. Good thing too, because other platoons woke up to find two-thirds their throats slit. The contras in the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1980s took advantage of any platoon with sleeping guards. They slipped in, put one hand over the sleeper’s mouth and with the other cut his throat. It was a noiseless death that allowed them to move to the next and the next, killing 100s, and slink out before dawn. Because Alex’s commander maintained strict discipline, his platoon never fell victim. They were vigilant.

And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. – Luke 12:38 NIV.

As a Christian, I feel like I’ve dropped my guard, eased off the gas pedal — now in the second watch of my life. I’m 47.

On my first watch, as pastor in Guatemala, I was diligent in prayer and the word. Forced to return to the United States four years ago, I don’t get much “playing time.” Consequently, I’ve toned down the regimen. And I feel bad.

We go through different seasons in life. In my “first watch,” the souls of Guatemala took priority. Now in my “second watch,” my kids get it. God is doing wonderful things in their lives. Can I keep following hard after the Lord?

Image

If you seek, you will see

See seek

Prepare to prevail

prepare prevail

There’s no monkeying around. If you want to win, you have to work at it. No matter what you do. Don’t practice until you can do something. Practice until you cannot fail at something.

Romancing Ruth

RuthShe chooses poverty, discrimination and likely abuse all to be with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. What gets into Ruth to leave behind the connections and culture of Moab and go to Bethlehem, where she has no chances?

Without any job opportunities, she decides to “glean” behind the harvesters, a back-breaking sun-scorching 12 hours of picking up dropped grains in which you’d expect to get about one meal for one person. A panhandler in the U.S. fares far better.

Yet she was hot. Since she was a foreigner, someone could have taken advantage of her, and she couldn’t expect legal protections. Ruth opened herself to all these dangers and adversities to be loyal to her new family and serve God.

God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. Boaz takes note of her sacrifice and kindness rendered to her mother-in-law. Eventually he marries her. As a result, her finances and future are secured.

When others doubt you…

genuine person

Genuine yet regarded as an impostor — 2 Cor. 6:8 NIV

Despite your sincerest efforts, people will doubt you. It happened to the Apostle Paul. He was accused of being a false apostle because he didn’t want gentiles to get circumcised. (He was vindicated by the head honchos in Jerusalem, but still itinerant preachers cast doubt over his person.)

If it happened to Paul, to Job, to Jeremiah, to Daniel, to Amos, to David, to … to JESUS, why be surprised if it happens to you.

This is not to say that you, or anyone, is perfect. It is only to say that we live in a fallen world, and we are not the only ones to possess a cynical sin nature. Others can view us how they want.

In those moments, may our God strengthen us to keep fighting the fight of faith, to keep trying, to not give up.

Surviving well

surviving wellIt’s not just a matter of surviving but surviving well.

They didn’t even smell of smoke. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been thrown into the fire by the despot. While inside, they walked around with Jesus and suffered no harm. King Nebuchadnezzar beckoned them out. Astonished, he forgot all about their disobedience in not bowing to his idol. He recognized that Jehovah was the only true God.

They not only survived, but they survived well. No smell of smoke on them.

Joseph survived prison well. He didn’t execute bitter revenge on his brothers who sold him into slavery.

As the years pile up, we pass through evil, wrongs perpetrated by family or friends. The challenge is not go cynical. The challenge is have the light-hearted delight for life of a child still.

Going on 24 years of marriage

marriage anniversaryIt’s one thing for young pups in love to send each other “forever” memes. We need to see older mature (?) married couples still in love. My wife and I celebrate 24 years this month. Praise God! It is not always easy but always worth it to work on it instead of throwing it away. My kids agree too.

Love for gays

love for gaysKaty Faust, who valiantly reaches out to gays with compassion and truth, visited our school. It is the second time I’ve been blessed with a fellow blogger coming to talk to the Christian students. Raised by a lesbian mom, she has the credibility to bring some balance to the national maelstorm raging over “equality.”

On the one side, there are Christians who condemn gays and forget that we are all sinners needing forgiveness. On the other side, there are gays who say you are a hater if you believe the Bible. Increasingly in national media, the later dominant and the former are stereotyped. (Westboro does not represent Christianity.)

This blog has never touched the issue of homosexuality nor do I intend to treat it here, but I can recommend Katy’s blog, though its tongue-in-cheek title makes me cringe, here.

Thank you, Katy, for bringing balance and answering kids’ questions with empathy.

Highly esteemed abominations

worship detestable thing

image from blog.kqed.org. I don’t own this image, and I’m not making any money on it

What is dear on Earth, is detestable before God. Arrogant fame, selfish ambition, destructive behavior come to mind.

While the world fawns over its winners, the Christians huddle in unseen prayer. The world ridicules, still we read our Bibles.

Then suddenly, what was all-important loses all its importance… when we die. And everything that we gave scant importance becomes suddenly and eternally consequent.

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God – Luke 16:15 KJV.

You must die

seed diesAll animals resist death with every fiber in their body.

So when the Bible says that we as Christians must “die to ourselves,” we understand that the flesh will scream and fight with everything.

Unless a seed dies, it will not live, Paul says in 1 Co. 15:36. It seems like I’ve had a lot of dying to do lately. And I still have a lot ahead in the foreseeable future.

How to not get derailed when:

  • your best efforts meet only criticism?
  • everyone drops unwanted advice on what you need to improve?
  • the people you love are exasperated with you?
  • you don’t have the support of your family?
  • your achievements are ignored and your faults are blown out of proportions?
  • finances are not so good?
  • by most worldly measures, you don’t measure up?

Look steadfastly toward the end of blessing. If you’re serving Christ, keep serving Him.

Many seeds need to be dried before they can be planted. It sounds like Jesus was referring to these. Jesus had to die in order to resurrect. So too, we must “crucify the flesh” in order to experience God’s transformation.

Don’t be surprised if you are a “mature” Christian and God puts you through a process of “killing you.” It is all for good.

Smile despite the trial

smile trialWhen we praise God through difficulties, we get the victory.

Yeah right! Maternity leave is ‘freer time,’ so volunteer as volleyball coach

Lindsey Christian | LCA volleyballLindsey Christian gave birth three months ago, so – naturally – she volunteered to coach LCA’s girls’ volleyball team.

“I loved volleyball,” said the 2002 LCA graduate. “I felt like it was time to give back.”

Time to give back? Right after having her first baby?

“I saw my mom (AD Pam Sommer) looking everywhere for a coach. I was on maternity leave, so I had the most free time I’ve ever had. I realized I could do it,” Lindsey said. “Okay, so maybe I’m a little bit crazy.”

Read the rest of the article.

Christian service

serve

I don’t own the rights to this image, and I’m not making any money on it. It was a cool image that I doctored up.

In the world, being served is supreme. In the Lord, serving is supreme.

I am glad to see in today’s news that many are volunteering to be doctors in the Ebola zone. I have not seen in the news that many of these are Christians, risking their lives for service to their Lord.

But even if the service you render is not so “glamorous,” it is still important. Do the job that no one else wants to do at your church. God doesn’t reward the preacher more than the bathroom cleaner. In fact, the one gets the congregation’s applause and thus is at risk from losing his reward. The Bible says, if you so much as give a cup of water to a prophet because he is a prophet, a prophet’s reward you will receive. God is the best accountant for piling up rewards.

Greatness in the seed

seed apple treeHow does something so small as an apple seed produce something so big as the tree that produces sweet fruit that nourishes and delights?

Never despise the small beginnings of a seed. Do small things today towards a great result.

Try another door

knock on doorTwice Paul was halted. He tried to go somewhere, but God didn’t open the door.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, HAVING BEEN KEPT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, BUT THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WOULD NOT ALLOW THEM TO. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” – Acts 16:6,7,9 NIV.

Sometimes, the doors don’t open for years and years and years.

Maybe the reason why the door is not opening is because it’s never going to open. Try another door.

Seedless Christians?

seedless ChristiansSeedless watermelons have been engineered so that you don’t have to spit. You can devour sweet, wet, red fruit without the hassle of separating out the seeds. Scientists have also genetically engineered seedless grapes, bananas, oranges, lemons, tomatoes. They are a contradiction in terms because fruit is defined by the seeds they carry.

So too, the Christian is defined by the seed s/he carries, seeds of evangelism, seeds of change, seeds of revolution. A seedless Christian is one who remains continually unmotivated to do much for Christ. He is inwardly focused, self-centered and immature.

Seedless fruits were altered to make the fruit more palatable to the eater. If you are a seedless Christian, you are more palatable — to the devil.

The good news is, of course, that we can pray to become full of seeds. We can begin to aim our lives in a new direction and do the things which Christ has called us to do. A Christian, by definition, saves others from their sins also.

Self Preservation

self preservationNatural instinct propels you to fight or flight, to keep your neck above all else.

This is what Esther did. Her uncle was asking her to risk everything to save her people, the Jews, who were decreed death in a rash issue of legislation from a despot. Her knee-jerk reaction: But I could die if I dare to approach the emperor unbeckoned.

Unlike animals, humans can sacrifice themselves for others. A soldier throws himself on a hand grenade to save his buddies. Jesus throws himself onto the cross to save all humanity. The missionary throws himself into the mission field risking Ebola infection.

At some point, looking out for #1 becomes sin.

For some, thrills-seeking is an adrenaline rush, to have brushed with death and escaped unscathed.

A Christian is not called to dare-devil. But he IS called to sacrifice up to his finances, time and even life in order to reach others with the Gospel. To renege is sin.

Discouragement

discouragementWe tend to think discouragement is a feeling, not a sin.

But because of discouragement, Daniel’s contemporaries let themselves go. Exiled to Babylon, ripped out of their beloved homeland, deprived of hope, there was nothing to live for. With only depression, without a future, without hope, they might as well live it up. They would eat all the king’s delicious food in his service. Who cares that it contaminated them? that it was dedicated to idols? After all, what would be the point of consecrating themselves to God? All was lost in the exile.

But Daniel decided to avoid the unholy food and wine. He continued to consecrate himself to God.

At the end of the day, he never returned to Israel. He spent the rest of his life in exile, as a counselor (slave) to foreign kings. But he made impact for God in foreign lands. The book of Daniel is the account of how God ceased to be for the Jews only. He started being the God of all nations. Jonah, Daniel and Esther are necessary stepping stones to Jesus, who ultimately was and is the Savior of all nations.

While Daniel’s contemporaries lost hope, God was initiating a completely different plan. They couldn’t imagine what God had up His sleeve, so they “let themselves go.”

Daniel is a great example to me.

Showing off

showing offIn our through-the-Bible survey of sin, we come to the very interesting case of King Hezekiah, who simply showed off his riches.

Immediately after flaunting his treasures, the Prophet Isaiah came to him with an ominous message: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. — 2 Kings 20:17 NIV.

When I was a missionary in Guatemala, no one would ever flash their riches. If they did, criminals would strike.

We humans show off our cars, beauty, muscles, figure, clothes, watches, fans, likes, basketball skills, manliness… What do we NOT show off? Christians even show off their righteousness in the church.

It’s pride rubbish.

While showing off might bring you a perverse joy of provoking others to envy, it can bring no real good. It corrupts our heart.

We should accept people and love people. We should never be boastful in our actions.

Morality of convenience

morals of convenienceGod GAVE Jeroboam a kingdom.

But Jeroboam set up false gods to NOT lose that kingdom.

Thus he slung aside the very God who blessed him in (what he thought was) a savvy plan to retain power at all costs.

Unfortunately, this is what happens to the majority. If you don’t have a moral code (like the Bible), you make your own code. And often the code evolves based on decisions of convenience. Your changing rationalizations may qualm your conscious. But in fact, you have no morality whatsoever.

Evolutionists and atheists are currently arguing strenuously (they are straining to make it work) that morality appeared as a result of evolution. As I have said previously, such a notion undermines evolution itself (in which survival of the fittest alone matters (whether you call “fittest” “strongest” or “prettiest” or whatever)).

All of this is NOT to say that I am holier than anyone. NO! I am probably a worse sinner than you. But I recognize that the wrong I do is wrong. I don’t call it right because my flesh desires. Instead, I cry out for forgiveness to Christ and try afresh to serve Him keeping His moral code, found in the Bible.

What is going on currently is not modern science. It has been happening since the beginning of time. By psychologists, it’s called “justification.” Since living below our moral standard (the God-given conscious creates anxiety, we appease our conscious by changing our morals).

Jeroboam is an example in concentrate. In punishment of Solomon’s sins, God threatened to strip the majority of the kingdom away from his son, which He did to Roboam. Jeroboam was the beneficiary, receiving power over 10 tribes of Israel to the North.

But he worried that the Jehova-ists would become disloyal because true worship was ordained in Judah, in the temple in Jerusalem, in territory of Roboam. So he astutely set up a false god on the road to Jerusalem (why not shorten your journey?) and another god far away from Jerusalem (to draw people away from Jerusalem. This was his desperate bid to retain control.

But when you flout God, things don’t go well. As a result of his brainstorming, Israel years later lost its very existence in the exile of Assyria (which forced intermarriage of exiled peoples). Only Judah survived (thus, the name “Jews” today.) When in 1948, a Jewish nation was re-formed, they named it “Israel,” but they might have been more correct to call it “Judah.”

Jeroboam thought it was a good strategy to change his morals. Whatever good you think might come by re-inventing the wheel, you might not want the consequences of abandoning the Bible and its moral code.

In the movie “Valkyrie,” twice bystanders face a decision to either support the insurrection against Hitler or support the Fuhrer himself. Either one could have guaranteed the success of the anti-Hitler conspiracy. Perhaps out of fear of Hitler, both opted to support the evil dictator. Months later, they were dead. Many in Nazi Germany simply found it convenient to go with the flow of the moral order in Nazi Germany.

Just because it’s convenient doesn’t make it moral.

Lust

lust

I don’t own the rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

David has been amply criticized for being a Peeping Tom. Not hardly anything has been said about Bathsheba taking an outdoor bath in plain view of the king’s palace (only the king had a second story house).

Lust is a sin for both male and female. Tempted and tempters.

It came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon… And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her. — 2 Sam. 11:2,4 KJV.

This one act of impulse threw David’s kingdom into helter skelter. The man full of passion for God became discredited by his passion for a woman. The aftermath was devastating. His son raped a half-sister. Another son conspired against King David and nearly killed him. The shockwaves sounded far and wide.

Recklessness

recklessness

I don’t own the rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

Ultimately, the chosen became the rejected. Saul was too rash, too unthinking, too disposed to decisions based on convenience, not correctness. Thus the king lost his kingdom.

When commanded by God to destroy all the riches of the Amalekites, Saul let himself be swayed by the people’s cravings for plunder.

When he was supposed to wait for Samuel to offer sacrifice, Saul unwisely performed priestly duties that didn’t correspond to him.

God revoked Saul’s kingship and gave it to David.

When you are young and immortal (tongue in cheek), you are prone to imprudence. As you grow older, (hopefully) you grow wiser. It’s a good thing to grow out of — if you live through the stupid stunt stage.

Amorality

amorality

Atheists love to cite the Book of Judges because in it there are the most barbaric atrocities. Going from bad to worse, it literally spirals out of control. If only the atheists took into account the global message of Judges. Instead of thinking it discredits the Bible, they could understand it simply documents reality when a people lose their moral compass (yes, I will say it, when they lose God).

“Every man did what he thought was right in his own eyes,” is its refrain. The author intended to make the case for the need of a king. But it resonates beyond monarchical Israel. When we lose God, we fall into amorality, having no morals.

Of course, the evolutionists have floated the preposterous idea that we humans evolved morality. On the one hand, this thesis undermines evolution because it affirms that we are fundamentally different than animals. On the other hand, it strikes against the essence of evolution: the survival of the fittest.

Have you ever noticed that some “pride” movements are so named because of the innate consciousness of sin (and shame)? Fortunately the abominable “white pride” movement is dying out.

Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, you have a conscious. You know inherently what is good and what is evil. To cast that aside incurs danger.

Greed

greedAchan was aching for a little bit of silver.

The problem was that God had declared His all the loot of the siege of Jericho. It was like an offering to God. After that first siege, all subsequent spoils would be free pickings for the Israelite warriors.

Achan couldn’t wait. He scooped up some silver and a fine Babylonian tunic and buried it in his tent. He knew he wasn’t supposed to do that, but, as they say, he couldn’t resist.

As a result of his greed, 36 Israelites were killed in the next attack. God was no longer with them. This sin first had to be purged (and Achan killed), and then the conquest of Canaan could continue unabated.

A little bit of greed got him into big trouble.

Be careful with the endless lust for more and more and more stuff.

While the rest of the world lives on $1-$2 a day, we Westerners have an insatiable appetite for more and more. Such excess is sin. Be content with what you have! :D

Stubbornness

stubbornness

They crossed the line. One too many times, the Israelites provoked God. After He showed them His goodness by giving them food and water and delivering them powerfully from the Egyptians, they accused Him of being bad. They complained that it would have been better to die wandering in the desert than die by the sword taking possession of the Promised Land.

So God let that be a self-fulfilled prophecy. A generation died in the desert. Forty years later, the next generation of Israelites rose up and possessed the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership.

That generation was too accustomed to a mouth that constantly b-tch-d — mmm, complained bitterly.

If you dig in your heels and insist on sinning, the consequences could be grave.

Complaining

complaining

The Israelites were five-star complainers. God freed them from 400 years of slavery. He brought them through the Red Sea. He gave them the gold of the Egyptians.

For nothing were they grateful. They b–ched about too hot, too cold, hungry, don’t like this, thirsty, etc., etc., etc. And they kept saying the unthinkable: It would have been better for us to stay in Egypt.

REALLY??? Remaining under heavy oppression is better than freedom?

Complaining is poison to your marriage, poison to your family, poison to your church, poison to your life. It steals your joy. It derives from a sick sense of entitlement (“I deserve better.”) Why do we think we deserve better?

Can we just enjoy what we have?

Deceit

deceitJacob couldn’t wait. To get ahead, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He took advantage of his brother’s weakness to get his birthright (he bargained it for a measly plate of food). Then he lied to his blind (and probably near deaf) father to get his blessing.

What did all his scheming and lying get him? Twenty years of being lied to, of being deceived, of losing. Well-said the Bible: You reap what you sow. Or as the world says: karma.

Availing yourself of deception only hinders your progress. Because real progress comes from trust. When you lose people’s trust, they won’t want your services any more. You burn bridges, lose friendships. You may think yourself the crab scrambling up to the top of the pile… but you’re just a crab.

Practice integrity. Build trust. Have character.

Despising (scorn, contempt, ingratitude)

despising

Jacob was despicable, but Esau despised God.

So — despite Jacob’s lies, deception, betrayal, disloyalty and other reprehensible behavior, he was chosen because Esau was worse.

Esau despised his birthright. He despised his call in God. He despised the need to separate himself from the world. As difficult as it is to believe, what he did was worse, so God opted for Jacob to carry the line of the raising of the nation of God’s people.

Do you see how bad despising (scorn, contempt, ingratitude) is?

Do you despise God? Do you despise what He has given you:

  • your family (parents, spouse, children)
  • your possessions
  • your upbringing
  • your looks
  • your talents

America wishes for more, always more. There’s a good side in the drive to better our circumstances. There’s also a bad side when we criticize the good gifts God has given us thinking we deserve better. How many youth abandon the church because they “deserve” something better.

The irony is that Esau, seeking more, got less.

He wanted to eat, so he sold his birthright. He wanted a pagan wife. When that caused problems, he got a second one (which never was the plan of God).

God passed over Esau and selected Jacob to inherit the promises.

(Of course, he had to work Jacob over a bit, make him reap what he sowed for about 20 years to teach him NOT to sin. But at the end of the day, Jacob got the blessing of God.)

Jealousy

I don't own the rights to this picture, and I'm not making any money on it.

I don’t own the rights to this picture, and I’m not making any money on it.

It’s the second sin to appear in the Bible. Second after pride, it’s deadly, even if it’s not counted among the “7 deadly sins.” Carried away by jealousy, Cain killed his brother, Abel.

It kills friendships.

Jealousy is being upset over what others have that I don’t. If I can’t have, then neither should you, is the thought that carries the jealous to extremes. In Guatemala, I have see neighbors burn the cars of their neighbors for jealousy. In the U.S., we defame a person over internet.

Jealousy

  • prevents me from enjoying what I have.
  • makes me obsess with what others have.
  • constantly makes comparisons.
  • leads to insults.
  • breaks up relationship.
  • makes me feel lousy.
  • creates war.

Making a masterpiece takes…

masterpieceI’m still trying to produce my life’s masterpiece, that stroke of genius, that huge and beautiful work by which I may be remembered.

In the meantime, there are lots of starts and stops. I’ve thrown out the canvas a bunch of times. I’ve produced a long line of inferior works. Some of them have been good. But none of them is critically acclaimed.

Of course, I’m referring to whatever your calling may be, not just art. I myself am no artist. But I’ve compared my work serving the Lord to artistry. Am I satisfied success

with the works I’ve done to glorify Jesus? Not yet. I’ll keep working.

Don’t fret. Keep on in the right direction. Your last work will be your best and will make everybody forget the rest.

Making a masterpiece takes time.

God favors the unfavored

God favors the unfavored

Mary is rejoicing. She’s about to have a baby, impregnated by the Holy Spirit. He will be the Messiah. God has chosen lowly, poor Mary, a nobody who simply loved God and was passed over for every important assignment — passed over by others, not by God.

This IS a Biblical pattern. God chooses the foolish things to shame the wise. Over and over again, He chose the second born (or last born)  against the father’s preference for the first born.

Often those who enjoy power or riches think themselves too important to seek God. They sort of unchoose themselves.

If you find yourself lacking money, talent, beauty, intelligence, _________________ (fill in the blank), congratulations! You are a prime candidate to be chosen by God for a special mission.

In case you don’t know…

nothing can separate us from the love of GodAbsolutely nothing can/will/shall separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,fn neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Rom. 8:28-29 NIV.

Dive into the depths

divingWhether its natural treasure or Spanish gold coins, you’ll find it in the depths. You can’t remain on the surface.

So too, a superficial understanding of grace and God misses the treasures. The man who is content to skim the surface, totally ignores the incredible richness he would discover if only he would dive into the depths.

Pure joy

pure joyIt smacked me across the face. I was bumming because of trials, but the Bible says I should rejoice.

How do your actually feel happiness for trials?

Keys:

  1. Realize God is using them to bring you much-needed growth.
  2. Realize God is bringing you through them to a blessed end.
  3. Realize God wants you to rejoice in trials.

When you pass the test, you pass the class!

Trials come in all sizes. Generally, beginner Christians get beginner trials. And older Christians are in advanced classes, so to speak. Don’t despair by the size of your trials.

My definition of “pure joy” was something else. Like if Argentina would have won the World Cup. But I have to change my definition of “pure joy.”

Starting over

starting overSometimes, a few revisions, minor changes, slight alterations of modus operandi, sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes, you have to throw out the whole thing and start over.

No, I’m not talking about divorce. I’m talking about salvation, or starting a new career, or starting your discipleship over completely.

It can be hard to humble yourself (myself) and take the role of inexperienced. Well, there’s nothing wrong with starting over.

I had been watering a bush in our school for a year. For reasons I ignore, it basically died. They pruned it down to the stem. Now it is sprouting. We had to start over.

As I looked at the plant, I wondered if there was a lesson for me.

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Live Love Laugh Lord

live love laugh lord

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God lives/loves

God lives/loves