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Friday, May 31, 2013

Daily Reminders #16

Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:8-9

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Our Treasure


But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Christians are just ordinary jars of clay, but what makes us so extraordinary is what’s on the inside. I like the first sentence. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” We are nothing, and that’s why it’s so amazing that God gives us his treasure. What God has done is obviously not the works of us. We’re just a pot. It’s obviously from God. And this treasure is much more valuable than silver or gold, it’s Jesus Christ himself.
God has given us his treasure and it’s the best treasure out there, but thieves will try to take away your treasure Satan wants you to crumble, but we are never crushed. A clay pot is weak, but through the treasure, Jesus, we are able to withstand the pressures of life.

Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:2b-3

As a Christian, you will face tough decisions and impossible issues, but our treasure will be our counselor. Jesus protects us from hopelessness.

... God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5b

Persecutions are included in the process. We will be accused, misunderstood, and have lies told about us, but we know that Jesus will never abandon us.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
Psalm 18:18

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Mathew 11:28

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:29-31

Bad stuff will happen too. We will be “struck down, but not destroyed.” Life may feel like it’s overwhelming you, but Jesus will still be there to bear the burdens with us.
The bible never said life as a Christian would be easy and I fill you with lies if I tried to say that being a Christian would be. Life will be hard, but the amazingness of Jesus Christ will help us survive. Life comes at us like an overpowering tank and there is hope for survival with anything man has to offer. There is no earthly way a clay pot can overpower a tank, but with Jesus there is nothing a tank can do to destroy you. There will be challenges, but with Jesus you can withstand the pressures of life.

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist  which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.
1 John 4:2-5

Sources:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Free Heart

I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, LORD; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding. Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.
Psalm 119:30-39

As a Christian, God sets our heart free from sin, distractions, and anything we put above God. The only reason we can obey God is because he frees us.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
This author is talking about anything we have above God. Since this author is talking about something bad. I get this idea because it's something that this person wants remove. Of course, it doesn't need to be bad, it could be something that gets in his way and the author feels he would be better off without this worthless thing. And by reading the earlier verses "Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart." This guy has already said he wants to follow God's rules. I think it makes sense to think that he's talking about something bad, or something that's not bad in itself, but it was getting in his way of worshiping God. 
I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding...Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
God sets our heart free. Our heart is imprisoned by sin and guilt, but God sets us free from that. Even before before God sent Jesus to die for us, he still gave people the option of having a free heart. God wants you to have a free heart too.
Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.
This author fears disgrace. He wants promises fulfilled and God to be feared. He says that God's laws are good. Every last one of them. I think the author of the song wants to make sure there is nothing between him and God. No fear, no sin. The author wants to make sure he's doing what's right.
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
The song writer wants understanding, as we all should. If you ask for understanding or wisdom, God will give it to you (James 1:5). So if you lack wisdom, then ask God for it. That is one thing God will give you.

Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—they do no wrong but follow his ways...Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 199:2-3;5-11

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Daily Reminder #15


Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

Photo Credit:
https://plus.google.com/109703302106880838134/posts

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Is Grace Cheap or Costly?

One thing that Christians disagree on is whether grace is cheap or costly. First, what does this mean.
What is cheap grace?

  • Commonly viewed as the grace of the gospel
  • No strings attached
  • No repentance is necessary 

What is costly grace?

  • The grace of the gospel
  • The bible say that we bought at a price. (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Cor. 7:22-23)
  • We have to repent to become a Christian.

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:25-27

This is what Jesus says we must do to become a Christian. This is the cost of becoming Jesus' disciple. Hat is strong wording for "you must love your family a lot less than you love God." Here is how Mathew wrote down Jesus' statement:

"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Mathew 10:37-39

The two very condition for become a disciple are this:
1. Hate
2. Die
Hate is a strong way to say you must love yourself much less than you love Jesus and Take up your cross is a strong way to say that you must die to yourself.

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish.' "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won't he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
Luke 14:28-33

The cross ought to be a living reminder of Jesus' suffering.
True disciple count the costs and consider Jesus worthy of their complete surrender
Count the cost before you call yourself Christs disciple.
1. Put Jesus above all other relationships
2. Bear your cross daily
3. Renounce your possessions  and repent of selfishness
To lose your life to Christ is to gain

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:7-11

Grace is not cheap. It's costly. Jesus paid for grace to be obtainable and if we understand what Grace really is, we will serve God. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Understand Grace means understanding that you can't repay God and because you can't repay God, you willing become his servant.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

3rd B-Day

May 16 2010-May 16 2013
Today's my blogs 3rd birthday! I just want to thank all of my viewer for reading my posts and encouraging me to keep on going.

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:10

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Men in the Bible: Ananias

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God." When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." Peter said to her, "How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Acts 5:1-11

What can we learn from this story?

  • The holiness that Christ looks for in his church
Christ was punishing Ananias, yes, but he also giving the rest of the church a warning. He was giving us a warning. And that warning is that we should not try to deceive our all-knowing God. 
  • The reality of Satan's power
As Christian, life is constantly a battle.

Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit

Satan wants us to believe his lies. That how he starts. Once we believe his lies, the next step is fill up our heart. Then, there's no room for God. And when there's no room for God, God can't use you. This is what happened Ananias. First, keeping a little bit of money was just a thought, but it grew. Sin always grows, like a weed, it's always there. But as the gardener, it's our job to keep the weeds from taking over our heart.
  • A divided service is impossible
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Mathew 6:24

Previous: Jabez

Sources:
Men of the Bible: Some Lesser-Known Characters

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Daily Reminders #14

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100

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Me!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mark 9:36-50

"Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."
"Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."
Mark 9:38-50

"Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."
"Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.

Likewise, whoever is not for God is against him. There's no neutral zone on these battle lines. You're either fighting for God, or your fighting for Satan and there's no nice way to put this. We all have a choice and when choosing sides, there are two. I'll back track a little bit. Before this, the disciples had tried to cast some demons out of a boy, but another man was able to. And there was possibly some jealousy here.
I personally would be jealous, I don't know about you, but I think I'd be cool to do a miracle, but miracles that are done in Gods name. Everything we do should be to bring the glory to God.
John was interrupting Jesus while he was talking about children, here's what Jesus was saying before, in verse 36 and 37


He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."


And then John threw in his comment. I think either because he was jealous that a man was able to drive out demons and he couldn't, or he didn't want to hear what Jesus had to say. 


I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. 


Jesus is jumping back to his previous point now, it would seem random to mention children, had you not read verse 36 and 37 which is why it is important to read the whole passage or else scripture might be taken out of context. Keep in mind that "He took a little child and had him stand among them" So I'll assume the child hasn't moved in these few verse. So when Jesus was saying "if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin" he was most likely gesturing to the child standing among them. Even so, when "little one" is mentioned in the bible, it is generally talking about a child or infant. "it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck." This point is probably talking about if you cause a child to sin on purpose.


If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.


I always read this part in horror. It's hard to know if Jesus was trying to say that sin is a big deal, or if he wants us to really do this. It most certainly is better to be in heaven with one hand or foot than in hell with two. But you should get rid of anything that causes you to sin. I think that you should get rid of anything that bring sin, totally destroy it, but I'm not sure that I would need to cut off a hand of foot.
It seems gross to me to imagine someone having there eyes pluck out...just because they sinned. As I was writing that I realized I said just. Is it just sin to me? Sin is a big deal. Sin is such a big deal that God killed his son. Sin is not just sin. Sin is a major problem. Sin is what causes people to burn in and and writhe in pain for a eternity. Sin is a big deal, no matter what the world says. The world ranks sin, but God doesn't no matter if murdered and stole, or if you told lies, God will send all sinners to hell...or at least he if that's what he sees. When Jesus died for us, he gave us the choice of letting him cover up our sin. If you welcome Jesus into your life, then he will cover up your sin and then God will look at you and he will a holy person, though you are not holy, but God will see the who is holy and he'll let you into heaven.


Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."
Mark 9:38-50


In Mathew, Jesus says that we should be salt to the earth. I have never had any salt that wasn't salty, but salt is used for flavor and Christians are called by God to flavor the word with their saltiness and bring people to Christ. If a christian lost hi saltiness, how would he bring flavor to the world? And like Jesus says, "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?" In Mathew, this is what Jesus says about salt:


You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
Mathew 5:13


It is so important to be salt and flavorful because Jesus went as far as to say that if you aren't salty, then you are good for nothing.
Jesus didn't just compare a christian to salt in Mathew, he also said:


You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Mathew 5:14-16


So do not stop. Don't stop lighting up or flavoring the World. Don't stop people who are spreading the gospel don't stop someone casting out demons in Jesus' name. Don't stop spreading the gospel. (If you haven't started, the you should) And don't stop doing what Jesus would. Don't stop anything that's good, but stop everything that's bad.

No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. 


Just remember that God know's what is best, he has the map and he's not just telling where your going, he's also telling you how to get there. God might be taking you on a back road, but DON'T STOP because he's holding the map. In your map, it may appear that taking the main road is better, or going a different way, but it's not the right way. DON'T STOP going the way God tells you.

If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Luke 6:29-35

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Men in the Bible: Jabez

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Jabez's story is right in the middle of 4 chapters worth of genealogies. Jabez's story doesn't seem to fit where it was placed. Here are a few things we can get out of these two verses.

1. He came into the world without a welcome.
Hopefully non of reader have a name that means pain or sadness or death. Most parents give their child a name with a pleasant meaning. For whatever reason, Jabez's mother received him with fear or sadness.
There are many reason this might be the case. It could have been the death of his father, financial difficulties, the child might have been shameful for whatever reason...we can only guess.
But while his mother was predicting a dark future, God was planning something better. And despite the his name Jabez became the most honorable of all his brothers.
2. Faith wins
Mothers are designed to nurture their children and to encourage them, but Jabez experienced quite the opposite. His mother gave him an awful name, one that would stick with him his whole life.
Jabez probably didn't have a lot of friend and he didn't have the support of his family. His family was expecting failure at everything he did.
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers because he has faith. He had faith that God would get him through.
Here is what Jabez prayed:

"Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain."

Jabez prayed to be free from pain. Jabez was probably talking about the pain of bearing his name I can say this because if he had an awful disease, he would not be ruler of a territory because in his times, anyone with a bad disease was sent away from the town and lived with others who had that disease. So this pain he speaks of is probably not from a disease, but more likely from how others look at him.
He wanted to be free from the doubt, from the those who were waiting for him to fail. He wanted success. And when Jabez prayed faithful, God answer. Jabez was better than his brothers because he had faith, even when the odds were against him.

Next: Ananias

Sources:
Men of the Bible: Some Lesser-Known Characters

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Prayer

I've been doing a study on prayer (and how God wants us to pray) for a few days, and I am going to share what I found out about prayer.

Preparation:

  • Pray alone. (Mathew 6:6; Mathew 14:23)
I am not saying group prayer are wrong, the bible actually does encourage it (Mathew 18:20). What I mean by this point is that the group prayer should not be the only praying you do. While group prayers are good, you also need some time to talk with just God.
  • Awareness (Romans 8:26-27)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God.
Romans 8:26-27
Be aware that you prayers are never going to be the way God wants them to be (We don't even know what should pray about). Just be aware of the fact that you can't pray in the right way.

What does God look for in Prayer?


  • Heartfelt reverence (Hebrews 5:7)

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Hebrews 5:7-9

  • Emotion (Hebrews 5:7)
  • Praise (Mathew 6:9; Luke 11:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:12)
  • A humble spirit (Proverbs 28:9; Mathew 6:7-8)
  • Boldness and Persistence (Luke 11:8; Hebrews 5:7)
  • Thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; James 5:13)
  • Admitting your needs and the needs of others (Luke 11:3-4; Mathew 6:11-12; James 5:13; Philippians 4:6; Ephesians 6:18) 
  • Asking for strength when your tempted. (Luke 11:4; Mathew 6:13)
  • Prayer for your enemies (Mathew 5:44)


Conclusion:

God wants us to pray all the time! (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)