Tuesday, February 12, 2008

3:16 Devotional Thoughts

Hey everyone I hope you're up on reading the 3:16 devotional book. We'll talk about the day's entry whenever we get together on Sunday and Wednesday, but I thought I'd write some thoughts from today's (Day 9).
The Scripture passage comes from Philippians 4:8, which says Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (NIV)

How much junk goes through our minds during any given day? Part of the beauty of this passage is that when we focus on the things of God, our thought lives will be much different than those of the world. What do you daydream of? Truly seeking after God and truly wanting to be a Disciple, more than a Follower, will mean that our daydreams will be of the things of God. That doesn't mean that you always have to be praying through the Prayer List or always journaling, but it means that your mind be filled with good things. What sorts of things that are excellent are you thinking of? Is your thought life pure, or is it focused on what someone is wearing, or not wearing? Are you thinking of lovely or admirable things, or are you thinking about filth and cheap imitations?
Your minds are constantly under fire from the Devil, who wants to fill your heads with the junk out there. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Keep your minds focused on the prize guys, there's so much better out there than what MTV and today's Culture has for you. There is more to life than what meets the eye.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What's the deal?

If any of you have ever seen one of the greatest shows ever made, Seinfeld, you'd know that one of his favorite things to say was "Whats the deal..." and would talk about something going on that never made any sense to him. Well, the thing that doesn't make any sense to me is what's going to keep a lot of people out late tonight and in church early tomorrow. Today is Mardi Gras, otherwise known as "Fat Tuesday" and tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the forty day observance of Lent. Part of the Lenten tradition is to give something up as a sacrifice for the forty days. This is intended to be similar to the fasting that Christ endured for forty days while being tempted in the desert. This is something I can understand, and in fact I think it is neat to give up something for forty days and make it a spiritual fast, using the time you would spend say... playing video games, to read your Bible and spend time with the Father. I totally think that's a good idea, fasting is something we may do, would love to do a Bible study on it and the awesome benefit that comes from it.
But what I don't get and it makes me say "What's the deal?" is with the idea that the day before Ash Wednesday, you gorge yourself and get one last party out of your system. Is this really what God intends for us to do when we fast? Have you ever tried to fast for a day? The temptation is there to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet the night before so you won't be hungry. What I don't get is the attitude that it's a day where you can indulge all you want and tomorrow begin the fast. I think this idea of the buffet and Mardi Gras destroys the significance and benefit of fasting. Fasting is supposed to draw you closer to God, but the idea of giving it up after over-indulging just makes it cheap and tawdry. Jesus tells us to not make it a big deal when we fast, but rather that we simply go about our business and not brag. I think this attitude of meekness extends to not over-indulging before or after a time of concentrated focus.
So if you get to school tomorrow and your friends have a little piece of ash on their foreheads, ask them what they gave up for Lent. Invite them to come to Bible study sometime, if they don't attend church regularly invite them to Broadmoor.
Finally, if you're going to give up sweets for Lent, tonight is not the night to eat a whole mega-sized bag of M&Ms; or if you're giving up video games don't stay up all night with the XBox360 on.
Seeking Him,

Storm's Coming

As I'm sure many of you are aware and possibly celebrating, schools have been let out because of the imminent threat of severe weather in the Memphis area. One of the awesome things in being a Christian is that in many ordinary events, you can find a spiritual truth that is from Scripture that can encourage each other. So with the storms coming, let me encourage you from Matthew 7, where Jesus tells the story of two men who build a house on foundations, one on a solid foundation of rock, and the other on a flimsy foundation of sand. One thing happened to them both, the storms came and beat against the house. Aren't you glad that you are living in a home that was built with a good foundation, that won't blow away when a thunderstorm comes through? Our lives should be built upon such a similar strong foundation. That foundation is the Rock that Peter confesses to Jesus in Matthew 16, that Jesus is the Christ. That confession is the rock that allows us to stand up to the storms of life that will come our way. Jesus being our Savior gives us the strength to stand when the world seems to be coming apart all around us. And because He is such a strong foundation, all the rest of our lives are held firm because of Him. We trust the foundations of our homes, let us have that same trust in the foundation of our faith. He will give us the strength we need, and I hope that you continue everyday to put your trust in Him. He will never let us down. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
In Him,

Monday, February 4, 2008

What to think about the Super Bowl

So last night was the Super Bowl, and it has been talked about as being the biggest upset in the history of the NFL. The Patriots came in looking to prove history as the greatest team ever, and they were knocked off by a team who had been disrespected and always in the shadow of New England. On paper, this should have been a massacre. It should have been over by halftime. But "should have" is a phrase that will always be used in this game.
There's a similar story to this in the Bible, and it's the story of David and Goliath. Goliath single-handedly scared the entire army of Israel with his strength and reputation. Goliath could not be defeated, his sword weighed probably as much as I do. But David knew that no matter how big this giant was, there was a God in Heaven who was stronger than any strongman warrior. There's a phrase in boxing that no matter how big someone is, everyone has soft tissue in the nose. It's a phrase to say that anyone can be beaten. David was a young man, probably in his teens, who was always outcast and always in the shadow of his brothers. He was not even seen when Samuel came to anoint the next king. But God sees the heart, and He saw that David's was pure and sought after God. God prepared David throughout his life for the role he would one day have as king. And when he squared off against Goliath, there was one aspect of his preparation that paid off, his time fighting lions off with a sling while caring for sheep. We know how the story ends, David kills Goliath with one stone and Israel wins the battle.
You never know how the circumstances you're in now will one day have an amazing impact. No matter where you find yourself in life, know that God has a plan and a purpose for you. Read Romans 8:28 sometime, God works all things out for good for those who love Him. Know that if you are a Christian born again and bought with the Blood, you have a purpose and God works every detail of your life to lead to that purpose.
Just a little encouragement to send your way, hope you all are doing well. May the Peace of God continue to reign in your life evermore.