Tag Archives: Bible

He who has the MOST HIGH never needs to get high

He who has the Most High never needs to get highHe who has the MOST HIGH never needs to get high.

Sinners helping sinners

sinners helping sinnersIt’s the great irony of ministry: I’m far from perfect, and yet I attempt — and sometimes succeed! — in helping other imperfect people.

As ministers of God’s grace, we should never lose sight of the fact that we, ourselves, are sinners. We are NOT the inerrant voice of God. Stay humble.

The world hurls “hypocrite!” I don’t snarl in return. Because basically it’s true. Who can say it’s not? Who is without sin to throw stones?

God’s grace is such that He reaches people with His grace THROUGH imperfect people.

Photo source.

Former Sandinista now part of God’s army

Alex Delgado | Guatemalan church La PuertaThe Contras slipped in during the wee hours of the morning and slit the throats of sleeping Sandinistas, sometimes 30, sometimes 50, sometimes the whole battalion of 350 before they disappeared undetected into the forbidding jungle.

Not so with Alex Delgado’s battalion. His lieutenant had received training from the strictest military specialists in communist bloc East Germany, and Tito Castillo never let a guard fall asleep.

Alex didn’t join the Sandinistas, the former Marxist government of Nicaragua that the Contras sought to topple, because of ideology. As a matter of fact, Alex really had no idea about the meaning of communism and capitalism.

He was just an 18-year-old, the seventh child in his family, ignored among the many mouths to feed. With no one pushing him to study, with no future in sight, Alex got swept up in the euphoria at the beginnings of the Sandinista government with hopes of eradicating the corruption of the former regime.

But the decision to join what seemed like a winning cause turned into two years of sheer misery. He trudged 10 hours a day, in danger of ambush, in danger of trip wires, gathering energy from inadequate food (they once made soup with roots and tree limbs).

His commander voiced vivid dreams of finding the enemy and decimating them in combat. Inside, Alex prayed to a God he didn’t yet know to never find the enemy – and God granted his wish. The only deaths in his battalion were from an ambush on a supply pickup and a friend while fording a river.

Body bags from other battalions flooded homes; sometimes they were left on the doorstep to be found by parents after soldiers rang the doorbell and fled at midnight.  For the rest of the article, click here.

Walls are NOT for good people

walls are for bad people, not goodWalls are for bad people. They either KEEP OUT wrongdoers (such as thieves from your house) or they KEEP IN wrongdoers (such as prison convicts). But the good person is free to go in or out as he pleases.

When we look at God’s law as walls, we need to keep this in mind. God’s walls are not restrictions on our fun, to keep us pinned in to His boring Kingdom, as some see it. They are protections against all the harm the devil wants to bring on us.

Ask the hopeless drug addict if he could have done it all over would he never touch drugs. Ask the alcoholic if it would have been preferable to never taste liquor. Ask a million and one people destroyed by sin if God’s walls were arbitrary morals imposed upon them by cruel religious people who had no right to tell others what to do. Go ahead, ask them.

Ask the people in Hell.

Don’t chaff at Christianity’s “limitations,” viewing them as a horrible prison to suppress your freedoms. No, you are free to go. You are a good person. Walls are NOT for the good person. They are for the bad person.

Driven to your knees

driven to your kneesPerfect. Then you are ready to pray.

As the world grows darker, rejoice

this gathering darknessSin is flaunted, parading, justified on every side, but we don’t circle the wagons. Because the darker it gets, the brighter the light shines. Be of good cheer, my brothers and sisters, and shine on for Jesus!

Keep calm and keep shining.

Bend Jesus any way you want

bendable Jesus

Perfect for our time! Now we can bend Jesus any way we want.

If you don’t like certain scriptures, put a nice spin on them.

Like fighting against God, it wasn’t even a fair match

Germany Soccer Champions League FinalJuventus put everything they had into the Champions League Final — which wasn’t enough. So the Impossible Dream was just that: impossible.

Barcelona surprised, breaking up its usual quick-passing game that dizzies defenders. It added counter-attacks and long-balls, perhaps to catch Juventus unprepared.

The first goal came when Lionel Messi whipped a cross-field ball surgically over to teammate Neymar, who combined with Iniesta and Rakitic before the Juve defense could reconfigure.


Juventus sought to force mistakes with high-field pressure, exploiting Barca’s penchant for launching attacks out of defense with slick passes (as opposed to most team’s approach of using clearances to get out of the danger zone). The strategy paid off with some clumsy turnovers, but Juve failed to capitalize with goals.

Messi was again the director of the orchestra with the second goal with lightning dribbling that confounded defenders. Though Buffon expertly batted away Messi’s shot, he could not scramble over to block Suarez’s rebound smash.

Thankfully, Luis Suarez didn’t bite anyone in this game (he has bitten someone in the Dutch League, the English League and the World Cup). But he was up to his usual controversial antics. He faked injury to kill time. With mock pain, he writhed on the ground as the seconds counted down of the last minute of extra time. Then, he limped off the field, waved at fans, took a selfie, got lost, consulted a map, asked for an autograph, answered his cell phone and cooked up whatever time-wasting shenanigan he could. The ref simply allowed another minute of play.

Juve attacked, looking for the tying goal that would force overtime — 30 minutes. But Barca parried their attack and launched a counter. Again Leo escorted the ball down the field, this time finding Neymar, who converted, 3-1.

Juve Goalie, Gianluigi Buffon said about him: “Messi is an extra-terrestrial who plays with us humans. So we hope that on June 6 he returns to earth and becomes a human too.”

It didn’t happen as Buffon wished.

But if you thought Barcelona, in sealing three championships this season (League, King’s Cup and European Champions), was impressive, just remember that God never loses.

Man-pleasing

pizzaGod deliver me from a people-pleasing spirit.

Not everything is a blessing

discernmentMany things are said to be blessings, but not all comes from God. If you swallow the wrong stuff, it will be bitter. I guess that’s why Rom. 12:2 says we should pray for discernment. The fact that the majority says something is good does not mean that it is in fact good. As human beings, we want to receive true good from God, not a something that looks like it.

Comic source: pinterest

And then there’s prayer

and then there's prayer

Need a breakthrough in your life? Maybe you think you need money. But not too many of us have that in abundance. This is how you get a breakthrough without a monetary investment. It’s called prayer.

Prayer only costs us time. Other than that, it’s completely free.

When I was a missionary in Guatemala, I didn’t have a lot of resources. So I spent time praying. And God did amazing things.

I realized that more work wasn’t the answer. Logically, God can get more done that I could. So if I prayed more, God would do what I couldn’t do.

Some people are so busy that they don’t pray. They don’t know what they’re missing.

Bible (and) belts in boxing: Chris Van Heerden’s rise in the welterweight

Chris Van Heerden Santa MonicaHe wasn’t supposed to get anywhere near a boxing ring. Because doctors operated his kidney at 3 months of age, Chris Van Heerden was strictly forbidden from contact sports.

But his dad was a boxer and believed God would heal his son. It seemed natural for his father to train him in the sport of gloves. So today, Van Heerden, 27, is the current holder of the IBF International welterweight Title. He beat on points the previously undefeated Cecil McCalla at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 9, 2015.

“I’m blessed by Jesus Christ,” the native South African says. “Win or lose, I’m blessed.”

He may call himself blessed when he loses, but he sure has won a lot. Starting on his native continent, he now holds a record 22-1 (and one draw) including three fights since he’s come to the U.S. His only loss was in Serbia. Eleven of his wins were by knockout. Read the rest of the article: Christian boxer.

With me!

With me!

God is a fireman, not a policeman

God firemanHis rules are for self-protection. He’s not prowling looking for somebody to bust.

God’s principle job is rescue.

We are a sinners, incapable of saving ourselves. God did that for us. Don’t conjure an image of a finger-pointing deity who is hankering to haul the sinner off to jail. That’s contrary to the message: God is love.

If you violate the fire codes, don’t be surprised if you get burned. You may not agree with the fire codes. You may use academic language like “morality is subjective.” But the fire codes — His Bible — is there to help you, not to hurt you.

Regardless, if you violate the fire code, God will rescue you when you call 911 — when you pray to Him.

Being there for Dad

Honor your father

I took him to his favorite restaurant Saturday.

I’m getting close to my dad. A week ago, he was rushed to the hospital from the supermarket with what turned out to be nothing. Sick with the flu, he felt like he was going to fall.

He’s 87, so I felt like this is the red flag I’ve been waiting for to take more care of him. My dad and I are so different. I was a missionary. He lived the American Dream. I love people; he’s a recluse. My life revolved around extending God’s kingdom; his life revolved around HDTV. I was closer to my mom. She’s in Heaven now.

I’ve been sleeping out in the San Fernando Valley to keep him company. I’ve been driving him on his errands. I’m happy that finally I’m able to honor him with this service.

While I was a pastor in Guatemala for 16 years, Matt. 15:5-6 befuddled me. You say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is “devoted to God,” they are not to “honor their father or mother” with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition NIV. That is what I was doing: I couldn’t help Dad and Mom with either money or service because I was serving God in Guatemala.

God brought me back to the States four years ago. I’m only an assistant pastor, so I’m freer now. God orchestrated everything so that I could honor my dad.

We get in the way (of God’s blessings)

when you block God's blessing

We let our sinful desires run rampant, and then we wonder why God hasn’t blessed us.

It’s like the person who blames water for shocking him when he uses electronics in the tub. Why refuse to accept the physical laws spiritual laws that govern the world?

We accept that rules govern a happy relationship. We accept laws for civil society. We understand that geometry has its logic. But we want to tell God that He’s wrong when tells what will and will not work.

It’s not that you need to be perfect. God forgives. But when we flout the law of God, then why do we blame Him when things don’t work?

Lazarus: If Jesus hadn’t specified…

lazarusThe reason why Jesus specified “Lazarus” before giving the command to resurrect is otherwise the whole cemetery would have risen from the dead.

That would have been impressive! But no all the resurrected would have had relatives to cut off their grave clothes and feed them. It was best to keep things simple.

If you’re facing criticism

facing criticismdon’t despair. You’re probably doing something right.

Consider Joseph. For having a call of God on his life, he was reviled by his brothers and rebuked by his parents. Eventually the brothers sold him into slavery, after very nearly killing him.

And in the end, God raised up Joseph to great leadership in Egypt. He was the catalyst for enlarging Israel in the incubator of Egypt. He was the man for the plan, but the plan was unrecognizably from God. How did Joseph not spiral in depression from such rejection from his loved ones?

Love is kind

love is kindMarried couples fall into the trap of expecting their spouse to be kind and reserving any show of kindness until then. This is path to divorce.

Remember when you were in love? No mountain was too high, no sea too stormy. You spent time thinking up new and fantastic ways to be kind to your beloved.

People tend to “let their hair down” around family, which means they’re mean. Oddly, with strangers they’re nice. Reverse this and be nice to family. Be tender to your spouse.

If you will simply be kind (even if your spouse “doesn’t deserve it”), you could set your marriage onto a path towards renewed happiness.

1 Cor. 13:4 says: Love is kind.

Here’s every element of the series:

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.