Tag Archives: Jesus

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?

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.)

Unbelief

unbelief

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

But the worse sin of all, of course, is unbelief.

It´s the third sin to appear in the Bible, in the times of Noah (skipping over a few minor narrations). The people in Noah´s days were too busy with their lives. Noah spent 100 years building an ark and warning that a world-wide flood was coming.

But it had never rained on Earth before (crops were watered by a constant mist/fog), so talk of “rain” seemed ridiculous to them. Why didn’t they enter the Ark to escape God’s wrath? There was plenty of room. Because of unbelief.

Jesus describes in the unpardonable sin. I believe this is nothing more than not believing Jesus. The Pharisees rejected Jesus, despised the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and that is what Jesus called unpardonable.

If pride is the sneakiest sin and jealousy the scariest, the unbelief is the most dangerous. The reason? If you believe, you can be forgiven of all sins. If you don’t believe, you don’t even ask God for forgiveness.

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.

Revolutionize your life (one small decision at a time)

revolutionize your lifeThis world is mean. If you obtain bad results, it criticizes you virulently. It casts you off.

But if you start to get a victory — a small victory — nobody says anything. So you may need to congratulate yourself for every small good thing you do:

  • you passed up the donut
  • you didn’t yell at your wife
  • you turned off the television and did something productive
  • you didn’t take a swig of alcohol.

Since no one is taking the time to pat you on the back, let this blog be your congratulations! Woo-hoo! I’m impressed for you! Keep it up, and soon, no one will recognize you. Your critics will fade away. You’re on the road to success.

My son, at 16, is working for NASA

LCA student works for NASA

In the background, Rob Ashcraft participates in some hands-on work with NASA.

No kidding! No, he’s not a child prodigy. It’s simply a story how if you stay where God has planted you and remain faithful, He’ll bring big opportunities to you. Read the full story.

Rob made a wise but hard decision to give up summer fun for a pre-calculus class. He wanted to be an engineer, so he wanted a jump on math. It turns out the teacher, a member in our church, was working on NASA’s antenna for the 2020 Mars rover (yes, they’re still looking for life up there). Eventually, he invited Rob to see the practical applications of the math he was working on.

What an opportunity! To work on a NASA project! Being exposed to greatness doesn’t make you great, but it sure gives you the chance to aim for greatness. See also.

In memory of Robin Williams (voices in your head)

voices in my headFor many people, the negative rant you hear in your head actually goes audible. And science can’t adequately explain it, so they pretty much dismiss it. It’s wonderfully consoling to know that you are not going crazy. Those voice are actually real. Robin Williams confessed to hearing voices in an under-reported interview: “You have an idea there’s a dark force when you’re in that space, and it’s totally the opposite of doing the right thing… You’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, ‘Jump!’” Unfortunately, he ultimately listened to those voices and hung himself.

Those voices are demons. They hate all humans. They come to us because of sin. They literally want to take you and me to Hell. In the name of Jesus, you can rebuke them, and they have to flee. Read the Bible. Confess your sins to God. Get some mature Christian to help you with prayer. Begin to director your life more and more towards God and away from sin.

My mom was a counselor in the Sylmar juvenile hall facility in the L.A. area, at the time, the largest in the nation. Kids would come to her to share the frightening secret: they were hearing voices. Frequently, those voices were telling them to kill, either another person or themselves. Guards and psychologists had told these kids they were crazy. My mom no. She prayed for them. They got free from the voices. They had opened themselves to hear those voices from their gang activities (violence, drugs, murder, other things).

As we saw from Robin Williams, you don’t have to be a gang-banger to wrangle with demons. The further you stray from God’s plan, the greater the danger you can actually to start to hear these mean voices.

I feel for the girl who’s cutting, the guy who’s taking anti-depressants, the alcoholic who’s gone over the edge. You can be a supposed mirth-filled person (like Williams) and be struggling privately with deep melancholy. Whatever the case, Jesus IS the answer. Doping people up doesn’t help. Counseling can help. But the real solution is God.

The most beautiful woman on earth

most beautiful womanis your wife. Don’t look elsewhere. Swoon your wife like you once won her when she was your girlfriend.

To forgive others is to become a Christian

forgiveness
Even unbelievers admire Jesus. From the excruciating agony of the cross, he uttered these words about his crucifiers: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

It is another testament to the veracity of the crucifixion story. That unschooled fishermen could concoct such a counter-intuitive and unnatural denoument is the more unbelievable story that atheists buy into. Remember Peter’s natural reaction was to cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear to defend his Lord. All of the disciples expected Jesus to throw off the hated Roman domination and set up an earthly kingdom to the style of David. That things worked out completely so unexpected attests to the truth of the story.

So Jesus is our example of forgiving. I believe we become Christians when we forgive. And when we become Christians, as the years pass, we — I — need to continue to forgive. It is never easy, whether the offense be small or big. Especially as the offense gets bigger. I’m not trying to be glib. It may be an internal struggle requiring all of our effort, this difficult task of forgiving.

No, I’m not throwing stones at people struggling with forgiveness. Really, I’m trying to encourage you to continue trying to forgive.