Posts Tagged With: New Testament

Combat Ready Devotional # 8

It is not because you were more numerous than all the other peoples that the Lord favored and chose you – for in fact you were the least numerous of all peoples. Rather it is because of his love for you and his faithfulness to the promise he solemnly vowed to your ancestors that the Lord brought you out with great power, redeeming you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So realize that the Lord your God is the true God, the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, but who pays back those who hate him as they deserve and destroys them. He will not ignore those who hate him but will repay them as they deserve. So keep the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that I today am commanding you to do.

Deuteronomy 7:7-11

The One True God

The ancestors referred to here are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As Christians, we are also descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), so this promise is for us too. Of course God didn’t bring us out of Egypt and, no, we aren’t heirs to the land of Israel. But we are heirs to God’s faithfulness.

God loved us first (John 3:16) and has been faithful with His plan of salvation. He loved us while we were sinners (Romans 5:8). Only the One True God can do this. He is faithful to us. All He asks us in return is to keep His commandments. Ask yourself right now, ‘Am I living according to God’s purpose?’ ‘Am I keeping God’s commandments?’


This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

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Categories: Being a Christian, Deuteronomy, Devotional, Galatians, John, Romans | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bible Quotes on Leadership

What are your favorite leadership quotes (whether from the Bible or not)? This is a short list I compiled from the Bible. Enjoy:

Wait! Also check out the 3 leadership qualities Part 1, 2, & 3.

Elders who provide effective leadership must be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching. For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and“The worker deserves hispay.” 

1 Timothy 5:17, 18

And God has placed in the church first apostlessecond prophetsthird teachersthen miraclesgifts of healinghelps,gifts of leadershipdifferent kinds of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:28

This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a goodwork.” The overseer then must be above reproachthe husband of one wife, temperateself-controlledrespectablehospitablean able teacher, not a drunkardnot violentbutgentlenot contentiousfree from the love of money. He must manage his own householdwell and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. But if someone does notknow how to manage his own householdhow will he care for the church of God? He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devilwill exact. And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may notfall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap.

1 Timothy 3:1-7

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not two-faced, not given to excessive drinking, not greedy for gain, holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 3:10 Andthese also must be tested first and then let them serve as deacons if they are found blamelessLikewise also their wives must be dignifiednot slanderoustemperatefaithful in every respect. Deacons must be husbands of one wife and good managers of their children andtheir own households. For those who have served well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 3:8-13

Obey your leaders and submit to themfor they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaintsfor this would be no advantage for you.

Hebrews 13:17

When there is no guidance a nation fallsbut there is success in the abundance of counselors.

Proverbs 11:14

Doing wickedness is an abomination to kingsbecause a throne is established in righteousness.

Proverbs 16:12

A dispute also started among them over which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. So Jesus said to them“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over themand those in authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  Not so with you; instead the one who is greatest among you must become like the youngestand the leader like the one who serves. For who is greaterthe one who is seated at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Luke 22:24-27

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they dofor they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavyloads, hard to carryand put them on men’s shouldersbut they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by peoplefor they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long. They love the place of honor atbanquets and the best seats in the synagogues and elaborate greetings in the marketplacesand to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’  for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And call no one your ‘father’ on earthfor you have one Fatherwho is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. And whoeverexalts himself will be humbledand whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:1-12

In the same wayyou who are younger, be subject to the eldersAnd all of you, clotheyourselves with humility toward one anotherbecause God opposes the proud but givesgrace to the humble. And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:5-7

At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a childhad him stand among themand said“I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven! Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-4

For I consider myself not at all inferior to those “super-apostles.” And even if I am unskilled in speakingyet I am certainly not so in knowledgeIndeedwe have made this plain to you in everything in every wayOr did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that youcould be exaltedbecause I proclaimed the gospel of God to you free of chargeI robbedother churches by receiving support from them so that I could serve you! When I was with you and was in needI was not a burden to anyonefor the brothers who came from Macedonia fully supplied my needs. I kept myself from being a burden to you in any way,and will continue to do soAs the truth of Christ is in methis boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia. Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! And what I am doing I will continue to doso that I may eliminate any opportunity for those who want a chance to be regarded as our equals in the things they boast about. For such people are false apostlesdeceitful workersdisguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonderfor even Satan disguises himself as an angel of lightTherefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousnesswhose end will correspond to their actions.

2 Corinthians 11:5-15

Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person.

1 Corinthians 10:24

Leave them! They are blind guides. If someone who is blind leads another who is blind, both will fall into a pit.”

Matthew 15:14

The Lord is my shepherdI lack nothingHe takes me to lush pastureshe leads me to refreshing waterHe restores my strengthHe leads me down the right paths for the sake of his reputationEven when I must walk through the darkest valleyI fear no dangerfor you are with meyour rod and your staff reassure meYou prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemiesYou refresh my head with oilmy cup is completely fullSurely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life.

Psalm 23

All Bible quotes are taken from the NET Bible which can be found online at net.bible.org. Please share your favorite leadership quote that you have from the Bible. Let’s see how many we can find…

Wait! Also check out the 3 leadership qualities Part 12, & 3.

Categories: Being a Christian, New Testament, Old Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Three Leadership Qualities – Part 3

Before reading this be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2

This is the last section and probably the most important quality in Christian leadership. You can be the most competent leader in your field. You can act with integrity more than anyone else. But, if you don’t display concern for the well-being of others then your leadership status with others crumbles. This may not be true for all types of leadership but it is true for Christian leaders. Let me break it down for you…

Display Concern for the Well-Being of Others

Display – make a prominent exhibition of something where it can be easily seen by others (dictionary definition). We are on display for the world to see. If you haven’t noticed, people love to talk bad about Christians. They love to point out our flaws, as if we are to be perfect. Leaders are in the light even more. Your attitude and your actions are on display whether you want them there or not. Everyone is looking to you since you are the leader.

Concern – A matter of interest or importance to someone; to involve oneself in the life of another. You can’t fake this. To be concerned about someone means you have to go out-of-the-way for that person. You have to care for them. I think of Robin Williams’ suicide the other day and how many thousands more we never hear about. They probably didn’t feel like anyone showed any concern for them. Being concerned about someone is genuine. It is taking out of your own life and time and priorities to see about someone else.

Well-being – A state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy. We always want to make sure we are in this state. But, how often do we care if someone else is in this state? Being comfortable means we aren’t anxious. Being healthy means we aren’t sick. Being happy means we aren’t sad or depressed. This is a lot of work just for ourselves. How much more time and effort do you think it takes to care for someone else’s well-being?

Others – Used to refer to a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about. That is, someone other than yourself. We already love ourselves. Why not love others too.

You put all this together and it seems like a monumental task. And, it is. Being unselfish is the hardest thing you can ever do in this world. Caring about others is draining and time-consuming. “My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends.” John 15:12

Look at Yourself

Leaders must be willing to sacrifice their lives for their friends. Their friends would be anyone who they are leading. Do really display concern for the well-being of others? Do you go out of your way to make sure those you lead are okay? Do you take time out of your day for people other than yourself? Would you drop everything for someone in pain that needs help? Robin Williams death should remind all of us to look at those around us and care for them. Show them the love of God in us. You may be the most charismatic and qualified leader in the world. But, without love, everything you do is fruitless (1 Cor. 13:2).

I realize I didn’t share many Bible quotes on leadership. So, next week I will have a blog post with nothing but Bible verses that relate to leadership.

Categories: 1 Corinthians, Being a Christian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Combat Ready Devotional #5

And now, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.”

Exodus  19:5, 6

A Holy Nation

God wanted the nation of Israel to be Holy and follow God’s plan for them. All they had to do is keep the words of His covenant. Which, obviously, was very hard for them to do since they really didn’t keep it. But, I thank God for His grace that He showed to them and to us.

Today, we aren’t living under the Old Covenant anymore. We live under the New. We don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore for forgiveness of sins. Jesus has already shed His blood for us. He has written His law on our hearts. But, God still wants us to keep His words. He wants us to live them out. He wants us to love others as He has loved us. He still wants us to keep His covenant. And, by doing so we too will become a holy people and a kingdom of Priests.


This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

Categories: Being a Christian, Devotional, Exodus | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Leadership Qualities – Part 2

To read Part 1 click here.

As I continue this leadership series I want to remind you about the first quality, performing competently. All good leaders, especially Christian leaders, must know their job. Christian leaders must also know their Bible well. This week’s leadership quality builds from last week’s.

Act With Integrity

A part of performing competently (as I briefly mentioned last week) was to live out what you are teaching. An excellent biblical leader will not be a hypocrite. That is, they won’t tell someone to live a certain way while they secretly partake of those same sins. I could end this blog post with that, but, acting with integrity is more than just doing what is right when nobody is watching. There are three more important aspects of integrity.

First, acting with integrity means you keep your word. Some of you may have heard the saying, ‘my word is my bond’ (‘word is bond’ for short). This is crucial for Christian leaders. That means we won’t say we will do something without fully knowing we can and are able to do it. If you say you are going to be at work at 8 o’clock then you don’t show up at that time, you are not acting with integrity. You must do what you are say you are going to do. It’s that simple. It may not be easy but it is simple. See James 5:12

Second, acting with integrity means communicating clearly. At first, this may not seem like it has anything to do with integrity. Let me explain. Say you are a Christian leader and you have a few subordinates. You have a good idea in your head for the future for all of them. You have a plan in place to make your organization, or church, or whatever it is great. You carry out your plan but you fail to tell all of those who work for you or who you minister to. You may tell them aspects here or there but never your full intentions. This is poor integrity. It seems as though you were trying to deceive others to get what you wanted. It may have been innocent. You may have had the best intentions for the others but they didn’t see it that way. I have learned over the years that leaders must over-communicate. Communication has always been a poor quality of mine and that is one thing I strive to do better.

Third, acting with integrity means have good morals. Again, this is real similar to performing competently and to what I mentioned above about doing what is right when nobody is watching. Nevertheless, I needed to mention it here for clarity (communication). Great Christian leaders have good morals. They are nice to other people even when they don’t deserve it. They never talk badly about a person when they aren’t there to defend themselves (gossip). They strive to live an upright life.

Look at yourself

Are you acting with integrity as a Christian leader? Are you keeping your word that you promised to others? Are you communicating your intentions clearly? Do you have good morals? Strive to be excellent in your leadership. Don’t be a lazy leader.

Continue reading with Part 3…

 

Categories: Being a Christian, James | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Difference Between Salt and Light

The Bible tells us to let our lights shine. Jesus first talks about this on His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16). The Bible also tells us to be salt. Jesus said for us to do this on a few different occasions. But what does it mean? How can I be salt? How can I be light?

Light

Light is seen, especially in the darkness. We are to be a light on a hilltop. We do this by our actions. This is what people see. When darkness, or sin surrounds us, we stand out because we act differently. We handle ourselves differently. We look differently. Our actions line up with what the Bible teaches. We are unselfish. We are good to others when they aren’t good to us. We are confident and bold because we have assurance of salvation. We are optimistic and filled with hope. We aren’t afraid of the enemy because we know we are on the winning team. When things go wrong we aren’t crushed because we have hope in the future.

To be light, we have to act like we are children of God. We have to be children of God. When we humbly follow Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit then we will have the fruits of the Spirit. These are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These attributes will naturally show up in a person who is connected to God. Spiritual fruit is what shines in the darkness. You don’t need to think about doing them, they just come naturally when you are fully connected to God.

Salt

Salt is tasted. Salt enhances the flavor of what it’s put on only when it is used in moderation. Too much salt destroys food. Salt is what we say. We need to preach the gospel in moderation. Sometimes food doesn’t need any salt. Sometimes we don’t need to say anything we just need to be present and live out the gospel (light). Saying too much can destroy someone and make them run away from God. Be careful of how much salt you put in people’s lives.

However, sometimes we need to put on a lot of salt. We need to talk a lot about the Bible, God, and the gospel. Every situation is different. Be mindful of the people you are around and how much salt they can take in. We are here to flavor the world with the gospel.

Balance

Jesus talks more about being the light of the world than being salt. Behaving as Christians is more important than talking about being a Christian. The New Testament mentions the word salt only seven times. However, it mentions light about 91 times. Clearly the Bible is teaching us that what we do is more important than what we say.

Be moderate in how much gospel you preach into someone’s life. If they don’t want to hear it, then don’t say anything, just show them. I hear of too many stories of people being turned away from Christianity because Christians just don’t know how to shut up. We need to close our mouths sometimes and show God’s love with our actions. Stop being a hypocrite. Stop doing the opposite of what you say other people should do. Have a proper balance in your life of salt and light.

Personalities

Yes, I understand that we all have different personalities. Some people like to talk a lot while others prefer to listen more. I’m the latter. I have no problem being light. But, sometimes I should be more salt and I miss out on opportunities to spread the gospel message. On the other hand, people who enjoy talking sometimes put too much salt in people’s lives and may not even realize it. The key is balance. Know who you are and who the other person is and give the right amount of salt. You can never be too much light but you can be too much salt. Don’t hide your light (Luke 11:33), let your light shine!

Categories: Being a Christian, Galatians, Matthew, New Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moving on…

Chaos

My life has been utter chaos over the last 18 months or so. If you have followed my blog you know that I was involved in an exciting church plant in California last year. I went from disappointment to excitement to being crushed. The amount of stress put on my wife and I has been tremendous. We moved from Michigan to California (with our own money) then from California to Texas (again with our own money). We couldn’t afford to get all of our stuff to Texas so we had to put it in storage. Which meant making a trip back to California in a plane and another driving trip to Texas.

People often ask me ‘Why would you ever leave California and come to East Texas?’ That’s a very good question indeed that has a complicated answer. First off, why did I even go to California in the first place?

Just four short years ago I was living in Virginia, running my own successful home improvement business, working part-time as a youth pastor with some awesome teens, and going to school part-time. Things were going great but they couldn’t last long.  I had to eventually move to Michigan to complete my Master’s degree in Divinity. So we moved to Michigan in December of 2010. It’s important to note that I know God called me to go to the seminary.

I had one year of school left when I got an amazing offer to work at a church plant (January 2013). I had been frustrated with school (I’m not a fan of homework) and with the fact that everyone in that little town in SW Michigan were “Christians” but not many people wanted anything to do with reaching out to non-Christians. I saw a huge disconnect between what the gospel teaches and what the thousands of Christians there practiced. I was frustrated and was ready to leave.

Back to the offer to work in a church plant. Not only was it a great opportunity to reach people for the kingdom of God, we were going to work with our two best friends and their families. This seemed like a dream come true. Well, we worked together for six months last year. It wasn’t what I was expecting. We had good times, but it was mostly frustrating. The head pastor who invited us there had no experience with working in teams and couldn’t handle us. His leadership was very poor and things quickly got out of hand.

Loud Mouth

I have never been the one to keep my mouth shut. I have always had problems with authority. So when things are wrong I say something. So, I did. I confronted him on all the things going wrong. I’m sure I said things wrong or said things I shouldn’t have. Eventually, I guess he got tired of it. He told me that I was never really a part of the plans in that church. He felt sorry for me (I still don’t know why), so he decided to invite us out but withheld vital information from me, which, if I would have known, I would have never left Michigan.

They said I didn’t know how to get along with non-Christians. I find this odd since all of my best friends have always been non-Christians. I didn’t grow up as a Christian. I’ve always been around non-Christians. In fact, I find it harder to get along with Christians. So, the church planting organization didn’t think I was worthy to be a church planter but they didn’t tell me that until after I left school with one year left. After I spent $3,500 of my money to move halfway across the country. After I sold many of my possession to work full-time in a church with only part-time money. After I got my hopes up with the people of that city.

I was crushed. I was angry. No, I was furious. I was angry at the people who lied to me, who deceived me. I got even more angry when they refused to acknowledge it and take responsibility for their actions. I got even more angry when they lied to our friends. And, I was angry at myself. I was angry because I realized I disobeyed God. I was never supposed to move to California. God called me to go to Michigan to finish my degree. I didn’t. I would be done by now. Now all my friends have graduated and I’m stuck in a rut.

My Point

This post isn’t to get you to pity me. It isn’t about lashing out at people. It is a warning to everyone following God. In fact, I guess I can say I am grateful for what I have been through. God disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:5-13). I’m grateful because I know I’m a child of God.

Please learn the following five lessons before you make any important decisions. I am hard-headed. I learn through experiences and mistakes. I want you to learn from my mistakes too.

  1. Listen to other people who are connected to God. Never ignore godly counsel. I was counseled to stay in Michigan and finish my degree. I ignored it.
  2. Always fulfill what God originally asked of you before moving on. I forgot that God called me to go to Michigan. I was selfish and ignored God. I thought I knew what was best for me and my family.
  3. Allow God to lead you no matter what. Even if you don’t like what is happening or know what is going on. Just because things get difficult doesn’t mean you need to move on. I was hating school when I decided to leave. I should have pushed through it like everyone else.
  4. Take a lot of time seeking God’s will before making any major decisions in your life. We decided pretty quickly that we were going to abandon the seminary and move to California. There was a seminary there I transferred to. There was evangelizing to do there. We were going to work with our friends. It seemed like the right thing to do. It seemed like God was approving of the move.
  5. Don’t forget who you are and know your value. I know God called me for a certain task. I let that escape me. God has a plan for me and for you. No matter how much or little you have accomplished in this life, you hold a lot of value in the eyes of God. Never allow others to diminish that.

Now What?

Back to my first question, why Texas? We both have family within two hours of here. The economy is great here. I got a job after being here two days. But, the biggest thing that drove us here was the realization that I disobeyed God. The longer I was in California the more I felt disgusted. I had to get out as fast as possible.

Yes, we miss our friends. Yes, we are still hurt by everything that went down. But, now is our time to reconnect with God, stay away from church people, and heal.

Categories: Being a Christian, Church Plant, Hebrews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lean On Me!

More Information Please

Information is great. But, it can also be bad too. We live in a world where information flows like a river. It’s everywhere and easy to find. The problem arises with misinformation. People can take wrong information and create whole ideals, beliefs, and theories based off of it. When starting with a small piece of wrong information, the direction you go can be far off.

For example, when I was in the Marine Crops School of Infantry we learned how to use maps and navigate from them. We were given a map, compass, and instructions to where we were to go. Well, one of the times I started in the wrong place. By the time I realized I started wrong I was a mile from where I needed to be. The information I was given was right but I misread where I was to start. Not only do we need to know the correct information we need to know how to use it.

With so much information out there, how can we be sure of any of it? We need to have a solid base of information. Without that, we tend to wonder from thing to thing, idea to idea, concept to concept; which can lead to a sense of worthlessness and despair.

Lean On Who?

You have heard that old song by Bill WithersLean on Me. It’s a song about helping each other out when you are down or in trouble or have a problem. It’s a classic song, no doubt. But, as good as an idea it is, we can’t always rely on another human. Sometimes they aren’t there, sometimes they can’t handle our problems, sometimes they need help themselves.

BibleFor every problem there is always a solution. My solution is the Word of God. I have come to learn that the Bible is very reliable, especially compared to the rest of the information in the world. The Bible has become my firm foundation. Not just the Bible as a book, but what the Bible reveals about God through Jesus Christ.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking: the Bible is a book of fables or myths, there are too many errors or contradictions in the Bible, or you may be thinking that it means nothing to you. Some of you may never believe in the Bible no matter how much logical information there is.

As for me, I fully believe in what they Bible teaches. There are many things in the Bible that have proven to be true through history, archeology, and even math. I recently read a great blog that laid out many relevant facts about why you should believe in the New Testament. You can read that article here: The God Myth

Strong Biblical Foundation

It helps having something you can rely on. We can’t always rely on each other but we can always rely on the Word of God. Better yet, we can always rely on God. No, I’m not saying we will get whatever we want when we become Christians. I’m not saying you will have nothing but happy times and all your problems will go away. I’m saying that through everything you go through in life, Jesus can be your rock. He can be your starting point. He can be the source of the correct information you need to navigate your way through things.

My question to you then is: Who or what is your rock?

 

Categories: Being a Christian, New Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Some Things Never Change

Tasty Food Abundance in Healthy Europe

Tasty Food Abundance in Healthy Europe (Photo credit: epSos.de)

The more I read the Old Testament the more I realize how deeply entwined it is with the New Testament. Everything discussed in the Old is brought forth with a deeper revelation in the new. With this in mind, I was recently reading through Haggai.

If you haven’t read this short book in a while, let me fill you in. It’s about God speaking through Haggai to tell the people to build His temple. They had already built up their houses and were living well. But, they had only built the bronze altar from the temple and nothing else.

A New Home

This was a group of 50,000 people who were the first ones to return to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity. These people coming back spent most, if not all, of their lives in Babylon. That would be like me or you going to another country we have never been to because our ancestors are from there.

They wanted to feel comfortable. They wanted to rebuild a destroyed city. They wanted to live good. But, God told them to build His temple first.

This makes me think of something Jesus said. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus told His hearers to seek the Kingdom of God first. Before everything. Everything includes worrying about what you will wear, eat, or drink. These are basic needs to survive. Jesus said that when we seek God’s Kingdom first then He will give you everything you need.

Priority of Needs

This was true in Haggai’s day and in Jesus’ day. It is still true today. We often find ourselves looking for the perfect shoes to match our outfit. Or, the best restaurant to eat at. We seek out the soda (pop) we crave. We are concerned with our own basic needs (desires) because that is what we are told to do. Pop psychology tells us to fulfill our basic needs—worrying about God will come later. Jesus says fulfill our relationship with God first and our basic needs will be taken care of.

I don’t know about you, but I need to hear this message more often. Working as an associate pastor getting only a monthly stipend, I find myself worrying about bills, food, and water. But, I need to remind myself that God has everything under control. The only thing I need to worry about is pursuing His will for my life and living out His word in my daily life. I urge you to do the same.

Categories: Being a Christian, Haggai, Minor Prophets, Old Testament, Scripture of the day | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Who you with?

Have you heard someone say something to this effect: Whoever you associate yourself with is the same type of person you are. So, if you hang out with drug addicts then you are one too. If you hang out with gamers then you are one too. And so on… I think you get the point.

Trouble Ahead

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez (Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall)

If you haven’t been keeping up with the news about Aaron Hernandez, let me fill you in. He is (or was) a football player for the New England Patriots. He plays tight end and is very good. One of his friends was found murdered on June 17th. That same day, Hernandez seemed to cover up what happened by destroying his cell phone and the surveillance recordings at his mansion. That wasn’t enough. On June 26th, after a long investigation, several searches, and interviews, Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with first degree murder and several other gun related felonies. We don’t know if he is guilty or not, but the fact remains that he was arrested and charged.

As I have been reading and watching this story develop I couldn’t help but think about lost opportunities. Think about this scenario for a second. You grow up in a rough neighborhood. You are surrounded by crime and gangs. You have an opportunity to get out and stay out but you don’t. What do you expect is going to happen?

I’ll leave that answer up to you. I want to tell you another story.

Trouble Behind

Throughout the four gospels in the New Testament, Jesus was accused of being a drunkard and partier. He hung out with prostitutes and criminals. People saw what He was with and assumed He did the same things as everyone else. But Jesus was different. He came into the world to make a difference. He came to change the world not let the world change Him.

Jesus changed people. People turned away from their sinful habits and evil desires because they had an encounter with Jesus Christ. Jesus told them to go and sin no more after He healed them. Jesus turned the world upside down.

The Higher Ground

We need to learn from Jesus. When you have an opportunity to turn your life around, you need to take it. Turn away from the mistakes in your past. Turn away from evil desires. Be wary of the people you hang out with. Are they influencing your actions or are you influencing theirs?

What is the main point you should get from this? Change the world, don’t let the world change you!

Categories: Being a Christian, New Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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