My Nickels Worth

Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure,acceptable, or commendable."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Living Lives Set Apart

Most of us know that God has called Christians to live lives set apart. He tells us to live in the world but not be of the world. I think many of us have forgotten that or maybe don't realize fully what that means. Statistics tend to back this up. Christians get divorced at the same rate as the rest of the world, they drink the same alcohol, they use the same language, they watch the same tv shows and movies, and share in the same gossip. We are living the same lives as the rest of the world. We are afraid to be different. We are afraid to stand out and possibly be labeled as weird or "holier than thou". We have bought into Satan's lie that it is a bad thing to be different than everyone else. The reason Satan wants us to believe that lie is because he knows that when Christians live lives set apart they become great witnesses for the cause of Christ. You are the only Bible that some people will ever read and if your words are written the same as theirs then they see no reason to turn to Jesus.

We often think that it is hard to live a life set apart for Christ, the Bible does say the path is narrow. I discovered these verses though as I was reading through proverbs and discovered that it's not as hard as we make it to be.
Proverbs 4:18 "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day."

The path may be narrow but it is shining brighter than the full light of day and easy to see. Just like the headlights of your car keep you on the street at night. God's path is full of light to keep you on it.

How do we stay on God's path? Proverbs 4:20-24 tells us.
" My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. 27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil "

We stay on the right path with lives set apart by:
1. reading God's word and heeding God's word ("My Son pay attention to what I say")
2. Keeping God's word on our mind constantly and memorizing it ("Do not let them -God's
words- out of your sight, keep them in your heart")
3. Guard your heart - keep out the garbage (ie. rated R movies, trashy television shows,
trashy music, bad interenet sites etc)
4. Keep your tongue in check - I think this is probably the most difficult and takes the most
diligence and prayer on our part to do. (No gossip- even if it is true- no foul language, no
yelling at spouse or children etc)
5. Keep your eyes on the path and the goal (The goal is to live Godly lives just like Christ - to
be Christlike) and do not swerve left or right (Consciously make decisions that will keep you
on the path- when you feel God's conviction that you are about to step over the line step
Just like you make choice to keep your car on the road and you steer it on the path, you must do the same with your life. If you keep going in the ditch on the curve, that means you need to slow down and make deliberate actions to stay on the road. If you struggle constantly to stay on the path, pray for God to help you, because He will. One more thing worth mentioning is that the Christain life is not just getting rid of unwanted actions it is putting on Christlike actions. The next time we will take these same set of verses and discuss what we should put on while we take off the worldly actions.

Have a blessed day and drive safely!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why We Shouldn't Worry

I discovered a verse in the bible that really stood out to me recently. It is Matthew 6:25 in the amplified version "Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life." Wow, perpetually uneasy describes most of us more often than we'd like to admit.

The Old English word for worry meant "to gnaw". Like a dog chewing on a bone we gnaw on our situation all day. Do you know that in the New Testament alone the Bible tells us 25 times to avoid worry and anxiety? God isn't suggesting that we don't worry - He is commanding us not to worry. So that means every time we worry we are sinning. Worry is also a form of unbelief which is a sin too. When we take our situation and worry about it, we are telling God that we don't believe He can handle it for us. This causes a rift in our relationship with Him because our eyes are fixed on our situation and not on our Savior.

What do we worry about?
40% are about things that never happen
30% are about the past- which we can not change
20% are about criticism by others which most likely isn't true
10% are about our health which stress makes worse
and only 8% of what we worry about are problems that can actually be solved

Think about what you've worried about most recently, what category above does it fit into?

What does worry do to our health?
According to Dr. Charles H Mayo of the Mayo clinic, worry affects circulation, the glands, the whole nervous system and profoundly affects the heart. Researchers have established a connection between chronic worry and weakened immune systems, cardiovascular disease neurological imbalances, clinical depression, panic attacks, and obsessive compulsive disorders.

The Bible tells us over 350 times to fear not, so why do we insist on living our lives in fear, letting Satan steal our joy, and ruining our health? Worry is a sin, confess it to Him and instead of gnawing on your fear all day - gnaw on the word of God. Try this verse for starters:

"10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Whom or what shall we fear with the Lord on our side? No one and nothing!

Have a blessed and worry free day!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hold on to Instruction

Prov 4:10-13
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. NIV

I'm sure we all know someone we would call "hard headed" (southern word for someone who doesn't listen to any instruction or advice given by others). I know I do, in fact I used to be called that myself sometimes. Today reading these verses I realized the change in myself. The change began when I started studying the Bible and listening to the Lord's instruction and advice that He gives in His word. Now I also greatly value and heed any instruction and or advice I can receive from other Godly people (the key here being "Godly" meaning people that I know study God's word and have an active prayer life).

God tells us to hold on to instruction for it is our life. It is the key to a long, peaceful, fulfilled life in Christ. Many people have a very hard time listening to the wise counsel or instruction of others and I know from personal experience that the reason for that is pride. Well God opposes the proud and lifts up the humble. Taking on an attitude of humility and listening to God and others (when you are given sound Godly advice) can be your key to a long full life.

So the question for the day is are you walking the straight path that Christ is leading you down? Are listening to His wisdom and instruction? Remember God will give you His instruction through the Bible (if you read and study it), through pastors and bible teachers, through Christian music, prayer, and through Godly people that He places in your life. If you want His wisdom and instruction, you need to immerse yourself in all the ways He will provide you with that instruction and then listen. Then after you listen and hear God's instruction you have to hold onto it ("sieze it" is what the greek/hebrew meaning is for hold onto) and follow it. Just letting it in one ear and out the other will do you no good.

I know from experience that God's paths are the only ones that I want to be on. There's nothing better than living in the will of God.

Have blessed day!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Calvinism to Believe or Not to Believe

What is Calvinism. Well it is a theology that some poeple are chosing to believe in. In a nutshell calvinism says that God has chosen who is going to heaven. That He has elected who will go to heaven just because He wants to. (See for more info on calvinism). The opposite theolgy is called arminianism which says that God predestined His children because He knew who would accept Him and who would not.

Now, if you have accepted Christ as your savior, you are going to heaven no matter which theology you believe. So the theology is really irrelevant to those who are already saved. In my opinion calvinism borders close to legalism.

1 Timothy 1:3-4 says, ".....command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer. nor to devote themselves to myths and endless geneologies. These promote controversies rather than God's work - which is by faith."

Why do I believe Calvinism is a false doctrine? Simple it contradicts the word of God. If you just read Ephesians you might believe that calvinism could be true. However the word of God will never contradict itself and if you read the whole Bible you will find other passages that contradict this theory. I am going to use John 3:16 for my example there are others though. John 3:16 says "for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life."

That one word "whosoever" ruins the whole calvinistic theory. If you look up "whosoever" in the Greek/Hebrew bible dictionary it translate that word as "all". Simply put all who believe in Jesus will be saved. Now I am sure that there are some who can argue with me all day long and try their hardest to say that it is not that simple, but I believe that it is. Faith in God is simple, in fact simple enough for small children to understand it. So I chose to believe the whole word of God. God is the almighty, all powerful creator of heaven and earth and I believe He sent Christ to die for all of us not just some.

Have a blessed weekend.