Pride

Proverbs 8:13

To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behavior and perverse speech.

A while back I started doing blog posts inspired from the book of proverbs. Verse by verse I was going. Eventually all the verses just started to become the same thing over and over again. I lost a lot of inspiration. In fact, it’s been since March 14th of last year since I last posted about Proverbs (view here). I have kept checking back on this next verse, reading it across almost every translation just to find some inspiration. I just honestly haven’t wanted to write about this verse, or any of the rest in the chapter. It’s all just become the same thing over and over again.

But alas, today I am pushing myself through it because sometimes with your relationship with God, and with others, you just have to keep pushing through despite how you feel.

To fear the Lord is to hate evil. Looks like we can categorize pride, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech under evil. How many of you hate evil? How many of you hate talking to someone and they start to get prideful, nothing they say is wrong, they have all the best stories, their way is always right, etc? Or how about arrogant people? Like trying to talk with Tony Stark, or Steve Jobs for example? Talking to people who are full of themselves is the worst. I think it’s clear to say we all hate this kind of evil.

But what about when it is in yourself? It’s easy to recognize it is within others, but what about yourself? Are you/can you be prideful or arrogant? Do you find yourself to be more right than wrong? Looking honestly at past situations, why do you think that is? Where you truly right, or was pride getting in the way from you admitting your wrong?

Maybe pride is stopping you from opening up to others. You like to control how others see you, you show others an edited version of you, but not the raw footage.

But to fear the Lord is to hate evil and pride and arrogance and evil behavior and perverse speech.

What is it in your own life that you are failing to recognize, but you can so easily recognize in others?

You

Timothy 2:1-2

my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Why does this mean to you, what does this mean to me?

I sit here and wonder what would give me, you, or anybody, the right and position to share our insights of the bible, God’s Word, with anybody? Fact is, I’m a sinner. I don’t follow God’s Word perfectly in my own life, actually, I don’t even come close to it. I don’t think anybody does. I feel like I should place myself in the position that I am always learning God’s Word and will never be ready to actually teach God’s Word. There’s just so much to learn and in this life time I’ll never fully understand God’s Word.

What will ever make me qualified to teach His Word?

The answer, God’s grace. I’ve found and seen that where we are weakest gives way for God’s grace to be strongest. Where God’s grace is, becomes where we are strongest. That’s more than just a pick me up cliche. It’s a true statement that is even backed by evidence in Scripture.

  • Abraham and Sarah couldn’t bear children. Abraham became the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5)
  • David was a small shepard boy, youngest of the family, not a soldier. He took the giant Goliath (1st Samuel 17)
  • Moses left Egypt abandoned by himself. He stuttered and was afraid to speak. He lead the Israelites (Exodus)
  • Paul hated Christians and killed them for a living. Now responsible for writing most of the New Testament (New Testament)

Those are just a few examples. Sometimes when I look at biblical examples, I can’t help but think ‘well that’s nice, but those are biblical examples. What about now in today’s age? Where is His grace making us strong?’ This answer is just as obvious. I look to my leaders.

Who is the one leading that alcoholic ministry? A former alcoholic. Who is the one that is leading that financial class? The one who was formerly broke and bankrupted. Who is the one that is leading that sexual purity ministry? One who use to be addicted to sexual immorality. The list goes on. You might even find that your pastor, or the person who has the best relationship with God, was once the furthest from God, but because of God’s grace they’ve felt His love and that inspires them to Him.

The area in which they struggled, God’s grace now resigns. Because of their struggle, they have a heart for those struggling in the same area and because they struggled, they understand the hurt and pain more than anyone else. God gave them grace and freed them from their struggle, and now they are able to help others.

It’s hard to feel qualified to share God’s message with others. It’s easy to feel like a hypocrite. To feel like you’re not worthy to add anything to the discussion of God. But you’ve been covered by God’s grace. Let His grace guide you. God has a purpose for each and everyone of us but we need to start by accepting His grace into our life. His death paid for your sins.

Pass on the grace that God has shown you to others. Pass it on, so that others may also pass it on. Let guide reside in your weaknesses.

2 Timothy 2:13

if we are faithless, He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself.

Matthew 16:24

Then said Jesus unto His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up the cross and follow me.”

What Is Lacking in Christ’s Afflictions?

Colossians 1:24 ESV

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church

I was reading this the other night and I got real offended by Paul’s words “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” because from my understanding, Christ’s death was more than enough for me. There is nothing lacking. But yet, those words are still there in the bible. Why? Doesn’t the bible state over and over again that Christ’s death paid for all of our sins in full?

I did some searching online and find this article by John Piper. Read the four sections  (If you want) titled: What Does Paul Mean?, A Hint in Philippians 2:30, One Thing Lacking, and God’s Strategy for Completing His Commission.

I was looking at it wrong. Of course Christ’s suffering is and will always be enough. But not everyone knows that, not everyone knows and has experienced the freedom and peace we get from His suffering. What is lacking is simply that not everyone knows about what Christ has done for us and as Christians,  we still suffer, but our suffering is not in vain. There is hope in our suffering, there is (can be) still peace in our suffering. Our suffering is only the beginning of something beautiful.

I believe what this verse says, or maybe rather tells us, is that as Christians we shouldn’t hide our sufferings from the world. We shouldn’t cover our suffering. Instead, be very open about it, let the world see it like they saw Jobs suffering, like they saw Paul’s suffering, like they saw Jesus’ suffering. And more importantly, with the open honestly and truth of our sufferings, the world will be able to see how even though we suffer, we as Christians can still find joy, hope, and peace in the midst of our storms. Let the world know we suffer, but let them know we as Christians don’t suffer in vain and show them our character, our integrity throughout our sufferings. Because I believe our character through suffering speaks louder than our character through perfect times.

So the only thing lacking in Christ’s suffering, is our own suffering.

Intentionally Seeking Christ or Unintentionally Following The Devil

Being raised within the Christian school system and Church, I have heard the parable of the talents/three servants over and over and over and over again. But to be honest, it has always been the one parable of Jesus that I never cared for. If you don’t know this parable it is found in Matthew 25:14-30 and you can view it here. To be honest, every time I have heard it, I couldn’t help but sympathize with the servant who only received one talent and hid it until his masters return.

I can’t speak for everyone, but if my boss gave me some money to hold onto until he returns, I would definitely put the money away. The money is his, not mine, and he trusted me to hold onto it. There is no way I would go out and use it. I would put it away somewhere safe until he returns. If I knew he would be gone for a long while, I would probably consider using some of it on occasion if I wanted something, didn’t have the money currently, but knew I could replace the money before my boss got back. But never would I go out and invest all of it. Not my money, not my risk to take. So I’ve always had trouble with this parable.

Different translations refer to the money differently, some call it ‘coins,’ some ‘silver’ and others ‘talents,’ my favorite is talents. I like the talents translation simply because in the english language we view talents as skills instead of money and it creates a parallel context to these verses. I’m sure if you have heard anyone teach on these verses you have heard someone teaching it using the talents illustration instead of just limiting it to money.

I want to look at the servant who received one talent from his master a little more in depth and how I believe it can really relate to you and I and challenge us at servants to Christ.

We all have received gifts of talents from God, not everyones are the same, but we all have them. Some of them may be with children, some teaching, understanding, love, patience, money, leadership, servanthood, straight A student, so on so forth. I’m sure you can recognize some of the gifts God has given you. Now let us look at these gifts and apply them to this parable. In this parable there are three servants, but really only two types of servants. You have the servant who invests his talents, and the one that doesn’t. Which are you? Hold on, don’t be so quick to answer.

You have your talent, whatever it maybe, but what are you doing to invest in your talent? How are you making your talent grow? This question is not, how have you used your talent, but how have you invested in it to help it grow? God wants us to invest in our talents that way we can grow and He can give to us more responsibilities. Look at what the master said to the first servant in verse 21:

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

This was also the same response to the servant that received two talents. God wants to use the talents He has given us through us. He wants us to grow through our talents that way He can use us even more.

The third servant though, only receiving one talent, hid it away until his master returned. I see this as for example, as being gifted with the talent of working with children, but only using the talent when the children come to you, only using the talent when it is convenient. But that is not investing in the talent to make it grow. How are you making your talent grow? What are you intentionally doing to not only use your talent(s) but to invest in them?

We see all of the big leaders and wish to be like them, but think there is no way you can do it. That is just to big of a step. But if you ask anyone who excels at anything how they got there, the answer is going to be through the little things.  Over time the little things added up to make big changes. This goes in two directions. You can intentionally seek God through the investment in your talents, or you can unintentionally follow the devil by not investing in them. God gave you your talents because He has something special planned for you through them, something great, but if you aren’t investing in them, you won’t be able to reach the special thing God had planned for you, resulting in a victory for the devil. Think about how that can apply in your own life. There are endless directions this can go, so how does this apply to you personally?

In the end, this world is nothing but an illusion. It’s not the physical things that matter, but the spiritual things. After we live our life here on earth there is only two destinations, heaven or hell. You are either chasing God, or chasing the devil. If you are only lukewarm, you’re following the devil.

Revelation 3:16

But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

If you’re not intentionally seeking God, you are unintentionally seeking the devil. Which are you? Could being lukewarm be considered as being unintentional? Think about it.

Matthew 25: 29-30

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

Make Halloween Everyday!

It’s Halloween! The day of the year dedicated to dressing up and acting out your favorite character, whether from a movie, video game, tv show, book, etc. Today we have a judge free zone of imitating our favorite characters. How fun, how neat. To bad it is only once a year.

Sometimes we go all out with our halloween costumes. Take me for example, I shaved my head so I can be Bane from Batman. Some of us spend weeks planning out our perfect costume for this day. This one day. The day we can be anyone we want.

This Halloween a particular verse comes to mind, Ephesians 5:1,

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children

Be imitators of God. This isn’t just a one day a year thing, this isn’t just a one day a week thing *cough*Sunday. It’s always.

As verse 2 says,

and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

So how do we imitate God? With love.

As cool as it sounds to be Bane or Batman for Halloween, I think it is even cooler to be imitators of God. We don’t deserve this kind of imitation, but yet God has given us this. We can also never live up to it, but He still let’s us try.

Why? Because what is more powerful than love? Actual love. The love worth dying for. The love that can bring light to the darkest of places. That’s the kind of love God wants us to be. That is the kind of love we should imitate.

As you go out and prepare your costume, think about the ways you can also imitate God. Not just today, but everyday.

I am leaving you with a quote about love from my favorite book, which also has it’s movie premiering tonight, Ender’s Game

In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves

Living In A Place We Don’t Belong

Yesterday as I took a quick glimpse outside of the window, I realized a deep truth that the bible clearly states over and over again, I do not belong to this world. I belong to Christ.

John 15:9

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

I totally get that now!

Matthew 10:22

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

John 17:14

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

James 4:4

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

Now with all that being said, I want to start this post over again. When we are not fitting in with this world it makes it easy to believe that there is something wrong with us, that we just aren’t right, something is wired wrong. Ultimately, the devil uses this truth to make us feel inadequate about ourselves. But no no no! We can’t allow ourselves to believe that!

The case of us not fitting in with this world is because we weren’t made for this world! “Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” isn’t what we are made for. But it goes beyond that. We were made to live for Christ and living for Christ means being hated by the world. It simply means not fitting in.

Why is it then that as humans our most basic emotional drive is to fit in, to be accepted but Christ calls us to be “hated” from the world? It’s confusing, it’s tough, and it definitely isn’t easy to deal with at times.

Matthew 12:20

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

I think that is the answer right there. God wants our love, but not just a part of it, He wants ALL of it!

Matthew 5:37

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Either love God or don’t, He doesn’t want us to love Him only when we are comfortable, He wants our love ALWAYS. He deserves our love always. Following God is a full time job plus more!

Revelation 3:15-16

‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

The conclusion that I see is that, following God comes with a price. That price is to be hated by the world! And if your heart can’t handle being hated by the world if you can’t give God your full heart, then He would rather have you just serve the world. You are either for the Lord, or against Him. No matter where you are, you can’t fool Him.

Genesis 18:15 (This verse makes me laugh)

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

God will call your bluff straight out, He knows. We were made for so much more than what this world has to offer. We don’t fit in, because we don’t belong to sin, we belong to Christ. With belonging to Christ comes not fitting in with the world. This forces us to have to trust in God always. We can’t trust the world because we know how sinful it is, we have to keep our eyes focused on Christ.

The world and all its lies will do it’s best to lead us always from Christ. It wants us feeling like we are inadequate. When we feel inadequate we have a harder time accepting Christ and His love and have a much easier time accepting the world. But the world only serves to tear us apart. It does it very successfully. And in the end, it leads to hell.

But Christ loves us, He wants us. He heals us. He takes away your pain. He gives you eternal life with Him, AWAY from sin! He has a joy that can only be achieved by following Him and trusting Him with ALL of your heart. The ache in the bottom of our heart that we cannot find from this world, can only be found in Christ. And that is because His love is never ending for us. His blood set you free.

Amen.

Confession #7

Age: 16

I feel like I’ve fallen too far from grace and God’s love. Every day, I want to kill myself, and I’ve attempted before, but I really want to be saved and accepted in Christ again… 😦 Please, pray for me.


My Comment:

You are always accepted in Christ. We can never fall too far from God’s grace. Call upon His name and you will be forgiven. He is always there waiting for you, in fact He is running to you! (Luke 15:11-32). Of course I will pray for you because you deserve it!


Confess your own confession at communionwithjesus.wordpress.com/confessions/