Friday, October 24, 2008

Still Trusting Him

It's been a bit of a rough week, but God is good! I really am very overloaded with school. I have never felt this overloaded in my life... so I guess it means that I have to keep trusting Him to get me through. I hate taking shortcuts when it comes to school, but I may have to at some point. Another thing that is a little bit on the rough end is that I need the clutch on my car replaced. They quoted it as $717. I don't have anything close to this in the bank account... so I am learning to trust Him some more! He can definitely provide the money. It is still drive-able at this point, but it needs to be done soon. I know He will provide in some way or another. It won't necessarily be easy, but I know that it will be good for me to trust Him. Bible study was great as usual tonight. I was kind of in a rush trying to get music together. My printer decided to not want to work at exactly the wrong time. :) Anyway, we studied Revelation 4 and the rapture. One of the passages we looked at was 1 Timothy 6:14 which talks about remaining pure until He returns. I decided to take a look at that chapter when I got home. It really is an awesome chapter. Here are just a few things that caught my attention in verses 6-16.

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

I find it interesting that godliness is coupled with contentment. When we understand who He is and what He is about, we start wanting what He wants for us... this yields contentment. :) I find the phrase "take hold of eternal life" to be interesting. I think this relates to the love of money idea. As soon as he finished telling us to flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, etc., he points us to what we are to cling to--eternal life! I love the call to be obedient without "stain or reproach" until He returns. That is a very tough calling, but a powerful one. We need to live lives of full commitment to Him!

On a random note... you may be wondering why I usually remove the verse numbers from the verses. The fact is that the verse numbers are not inspired... and I find that they can make it harder to read it how it was written. I'm not saying that references are bad... they are extremely helpful! I just think it's easier to read without them at times. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pursuing Nothing Less Than Excellence

This is more of an encouragement to the young ladies out there, but I think it applies to both guys and girls... just in different ways. I was asked to write up a little something for a camp of young ladies... just so you know that this isn't what I spend all day doing. :)

Women are often pictured as caring and loving. This is a great thing to be pictured as... but it carries a down-side with it too. If love is not mixed with discernment, it can lead to emotional attachment and heart-break. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen in many cases. Both the young man and the young woman are responsible for their roles in this... if either one were doing what He wanted them to do, it most likely would not lead to such heart-break. Take a look at Philippians 1:9-11.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Several things pop out to me instantly. Love isn't something that needs to be hidden in order to remain pure physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. God wants love to grow, but it must be the proper kind of love. How do we know if it's the proper kind of love? It is when love is growing in knowledge and discernment. When love is within the boundaries of knowledge and discernment (a God-given discernment), the natural result is that we approve the things that are excellent. I have seen on the university campuses many times where a young man will play with a young lady's emotions. He gives her compliments and frankly... most young ladies like compliments and attention. The thing that is missing is a God-centered focus and discernment. These young ladies are approving of things that are not excellent. Paul goes on to say that approving the things that are excellent is for the purpose of remaining sincere and blameless until He comes again. Paul also points out that a person must have been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes only through Jesus Christ, and it is for His glory. It is not a matter of trying harder. It is a matter of depending on Him for discernment, and living a life full of the fruit of His righteousness so that we only approve of the things that are excellent. When that young man gives you the words you want to hear... depend on Him... use the discernment that He has given... ask yourself if God would say that this is excellent. I am not talking about all compliments, but rather the ones that cause you to feel more loved and wish for things that you ought not have at this point in life. I see that young ladies often are tempted to think things like.. "oh, he noticed me". I urge you to think about these things with His discernment. Be respectful, but do not settle for less than what God calls excellent.

Side note for guys: Knowing how young ladies have some of these temptations... we have a huge responsibility before God to do what we can to keep them pure physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Complaining?!?

We had Bible study again tonight. It continues to be a blessing and encouragement... especially after a long week of school and stress. It's so refreshing to set there with like-minded believers and sing together, pray together, listen to the Word together. It really is a highlight of my week. We are still studying Revelation. Looking at the letters to the churches... it is so important that we are living for Him. There is such amazing blessing for those that stay true until the end! The world with all it's pleasures is nothing in comparison to the infinite riches that come with a life lived completely for Him!

Philippians 2 has been a blessing these last few days. A couple things that really stood at to me are in verses 1-3 and 14-16.

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
From verses 1-3, I am reminded of the importance of having the same mind. As Pastor Tim would say... pulling in the same direction. I am also reminded of how important it is to be humble and put others first. What a difference it would make in conflicts and stuff if we would just humble ourselves and put the other person above ourselves. From verses 14-16, I am reminded that I am to do everything without grumbling (complaining). I've been thinking about that. How often do I complain about having so much homework and all of that? The whole point of not complaining is to show others that I am a child of God. Practically speaking, I think just being obedient to that one command would make a huge impact on the people around us. When they see us going through hard times and yet we don't complain about it... what an awesome testimony to God's unlimited faithfulness!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fireproofing Before Marriage

Jonathan had a soccer game this morning and he scored his first goal of the season! :) It was a lot of fun to watch (and yell). He played a very good game. We went down to Cal Baptist to play some ultimate frisbee and it ended up not working out. A bunch of the guys that usually play were practicing flag football. Mom, Christina, Jonathan, and I still threw the frisbee around a bit, but we didn't really play a game.

We went and watched Fireproof for the first time this evening. Honestly, it was an amazing movie. It showed me how hard marriage can be, and showed me that there is infinite hope in Christ. I won't ruin it for those of you that haven't had the opportunity to see it, but it is a must see. It got me thinking a lot about what I am doing now to make my future marriage "fireproof". The reality is that I can never know 100% that my marriage is going to last until "death do us part." That is a really sobering fact. Even more sobering than that is that I could be the reason for it if I am not committed to Christ. While those are things that come into play after marriage, there is so much preparation before marriage. It's not like you "fall in love" and then you go get married. It involves years of training (mostly through parents). It also involves hard work... to maintain a high level of commitment to that future spouse even if you don't know who it will be. If we can't be committed as a single, there is no way we should expect to be committed as a spouse. Things don't just happen all of a sudden. It comes with much time spent with the Lord in prayer and in the Word... and being obedient to those things. There is no official "fireproof" for a marriage other than Christ. He is the ultimate source of everything that we need to make a marriage not only work, but blossom. I found the movie a great encouragement to be continually committed to His ways before I head towards a marriage relationship with that special young lady.