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Crossing Lines

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In our daily walk with Christ, we will encounter people, situations, ideals, and laws which will leave us wondering, sometimes with our head spinning, what it all means and what can or should we do about the situation. Some respond with zeal, some with apathy, some embrace while others reject almost all the time though it’s about our will and what we want versus what God’s will is and what He wants. You could say that there should be a balance between our will and God’s, but that’s unbiblical. All through Scripture we are shown we are to lay aside our own will, desires, and wants and give ourselves wholly over to Him, trusting that He will take care of our needs without any input from us. When we speak or act, it should always be in response to the Holy Spirit and never on our own (regardless if it involves overt ministry or your ‘day job’). There are ways of doing things both tactfully and effectively, and there are certain lines we should never cross, though if we are truly given over to His will that won’t be an issue. Until then, here are some lessons I’ve learned.

  1. Being a married man does not give you justification for being a tyrant. Ephesians 5:22-33 is not a license to be a tyrant but is a guide on how to treat your wives and more than that, it is a final teaching on the structure of His Church. God is at the head, the male spouse is the head-of-household, an ordained minister to his family, with his wife by his side. Not underfoot. Not at the head. At his side. As we are co-heirs with Christ, and the Church is His Bride, so too our wives need to be treated with dignity, respect, and understanding. The submission of wives talked about here isn’t forceful. Just as we are to willingly submit to the LORD in all matters, so to wives to their husbands. Just like we can discuss things with God all day long, in the end the decision is His and His alone. Anything that crosses the line into disrespect of your spouse, I believe, is not only hurtful to the spouse but I believe it to be a sin against God Himself.
  2. In my search on how to run a business in a way that honors God, I cam across many verses that spoke of not standing in the way of sin. The message was clear, I believe, but I’m still lost (and waiting to for guidance) on the application. Obviously we are tasked with carrying forth the Gospel (good news) of Jesus’ death and resurrection, by which salvation is made possible, and in the U.S. – a country not only founded on Christian principles but I believe ordained by the Lord Himself (though having definitely fallen out of favor in the last 20+ years) – we are in a unique position to influence our laws and leaders like no nation before (though some seem to try and emulate to some degree). There are definitely things happening in this nation that are a complete abomination before the LORD (homosexuality, murders (abortion in particular), rapes, theft, idolatry, etc.). Where do we draw the line, though? We definitely need to remain outspoken about these activities as they are sins, but how do we do so not only in love but while also leaving free choice up to each individual? After all, we cannot stand their place as Christ stood in ours. Those who are unbelievers already stand in judgment for rebellion against the Almighty. We also know that, just because something is against the law it won’t stop those who have set it in their hearts to do such things, either. What does one do aside from proclaiming the Truth, prayer over those living lives of sin (ourselves included, unless you can say before God honestly and truthfully you’ve made it to a mostly sinless life (and according to Scripture, it is possible), and fasting for God’s mercy? I’m personally very conflicted on this right now.
  3. Avoid being prideful. Proverbs 16:18 really says it better than I could: “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” If you look through all Scripture, it’s easy to see pride at the root of every other sin imaginable. Think about that for a moment.

I thought I had more, but the above list pretty neatly covers just about anything. There is no reason to lose our testimony or witness because we stepped outside of God’s will. There is also nothing wrong in admitting when we ourselves are in the wrong and have crossed any lines into not being like Christ. There are definitely times when we need to get mad and, like Christ, chase the sin out of our homes. There are times when we’ll have to tell it like it is and call a spade a spade because there is just nothing else to call it. The rest of the time we really do need to express more fully Christ’s love for everyone and His desire for all to be saved should also be ours. That won’t happen, though, if His Word is not written on our hearts as much as some of us have imprinted His Word in our minds. Don’t cross any lines you don’t need to, remembering to show love to all, and wipe the dust off of your feet for anyone who won’t listen. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

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Family Ties

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In many families, growing up is part of the process. We are born into a family chosen for us by God. We grow up, mature, and eventually move out and move on and start our own families. At least, as I understand it, that is what the process should be like. Part of that process, too, is being nurtured by those whom we grow up around us and encouraged to seek out Truth wherever we may find it.

There will be times, even, when we have vehement disagreements with our family and when they (or we) will do things that make you regret that they are part of your family. It happens, we are human after all. What doesn’t change, though, is that we are still family. Being such we are still called upon to love on each other and retain that love for one another even when all reason says that we would have every right to stop loving that person.

Often it seems that we are unable to live up to that very big responsibility of being brother or sister, mother or father, son or daughter and don’t bother trying to “interpret” anything. It is a responsibility. Our family can never be fully deceased when we (rightly) include all of our adopted brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. Adopted through who? Through God when we give ourselves over to His will and call His Son our Lord and Savior.

Family ties are not and should not be broken just because you’ve moved on to a new home. When you reject God’s command for us to love one another (and even to bless your enemy, if you count a fallen away brother, sister, mother, father, son, or daughter as such though I believe doing so is unbiblical in the highest) you are acting out of order. I have an unquenchable love – not of my own desire or even my own will – for my entire Family, even if I don’t agree with them all the time.

Christ’s Way Should Be My Way

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James 1:19-20

So then, my beloved brethern, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

No kidding. These past two weeks have been very hard on me and some close friends. There has been hurt. There have been things said. There have been partings of ways, even. All for what, though? Things of flesh? Things of the spirit? What exactly has been accomplished in all that has gone on and all that has been said?

Where has the love been? Where has the light of Christ been? I’m afraid I cannot see it right now. Maybe my own eyes are darkened because of hurt I feel.

Romans 8:28-29

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

If we go back two verses, though, to vv 26-27:

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Emphasis mine.

If we search our hearts, we find that it can be a dark place when we have been hurt. How much darker than does the Spirit perceive it, being entirely holy and righteous and us being imperfect and sinful? “Swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” It’s very, very hard to resist our initial urges in painful situations. I firmly believe it’s a complete and utter work of the Spirit that will break us. How much better we are, though, when we approach the throne of God in our brokenness. Broken of sin, putting the flesh to death, and responding in a manner according to the likeness to which we are called!

We are called to blessing, though.

1 Peter 3:8-17

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing knowing that you were called to this that you may inherit a blessing. For

“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their
prayers;
But the face of the LORD is against
those who do evil.”

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the LORD God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the ope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

I follow God. I go where He leads. I live as He tells me I should. I have a perfect book that agrees in perfect harmony that was wrote over a period of I don’t even know how many years. I’ve heard that it was thousands. It could have been millions and it would not make a difference. It is the Holy and Perfect Word of God. Many of its precepts I cannot accomplish in my own strength. This is one of them. May I be completely broken before God and respond to my brethren in a manner pleasing Him. Praise God!

New Year, New Beginnings

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We Hate To Lose

New Year

It is now 4 days into the New Year and there have been a lot of changes already; some I’m not happy with, but most of those are things I cannot change. What is done is done and only God Himself could change it and until that happens, it’s time to move on and experience the joys of a new relationship though if someone asked me if I’d do anything different last year, I think the only thing I would do different is not try to fix things in my flesh. I do not have the power to change one hair on my head, to make myself taller or shorter, and I certainly don’t have the power to change the hearts of others (which is a good thing, I’d possibly be in trouble).

No one likes to lose anything, be it some item we treasure for sentimental reasons or a relationship that just kind of went to pieces. I’m like everyone else in that regard. I hate to lose, and while I feel as if I’ve lost something precious, I have also gained something of much more value. I get the feeling this really could be the one chance I get to do things right by God in this area.

New Beginnings

God has brought me into a wonderful, loving relationship with a woman I never thought of even asking out before. Just goes to show how God is always, always thinking in such radically different ways than we are. I’m blessed and thankful for the relationship I’m in and I certainly wouldn’t trade her for any one else. After all, she has God’s endorsement.

As I look forward into this new year, I see a great many things happening. My first new computer (a laptop) ever and a digital multimeter for school/work. Getting my finances straight with God’s guidance and blessing. Maybe even getting engaged but who knows with that except for God; I certainly don’t want to jump out in front of Him. I figure when His time for that arrives, I will have everything I need.

God has blessed me with being a member of not just His universal church (all the saints), but with a wonderful church family in my local church. As such I am a Child of God, a King’s Kid and because of such I am constantly blessed beyond any human rationale. I look forward to drawing closer to Him in the coming year and serving Him in more ways than I already do.

The Byrds made a song in the 60s called “Turn Turn Turn (To Everything There Is A Season)”, I wonder though just how many people know the scripture reference it makes. It actually covers one of my favorite Old Testament verses, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which starts out:

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.

Now they get some of the scripture in a different order than what’s in the NKJV but they otherwise do an excellent job of covering that scripture and really hitting the key verses to reinforce that to everything that happens, there is a purpose and there is a season. Thank God for that, too.

Here’s to a blessed new year in 2011 and to the world crying out with one voice and of one accord, “Praise to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth!”

General Update (they are a Major Pain q: )

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What’s New

Relationships

I’m dating someone, after nearly 4 years single, I’m seeing a beautiful young woman who I would have never expected to be in a relationship with. Like I told an acquaintance the other day, it’s like I’ve found a long-lost friend and we’re just picking up where we left off. It’s a nice, comfortable, slow relationship. It may not be the one I thought I wanted, but I believe it might be the one God wants us both to have. Everything just is slipping right into place without either of us really thinking about it, and once again God seems to be showing me scripture and giving me bible studies over Godly relationships. There are no coincidences, right?

It’s amazing that, if we listen to God and follow His will, we can avoid so much pain and hurt. I wish I would have done exactly that as early as August. I might not have been with my girlfriend any earlier (God’s timing is perfect, there’s a reason for it) but I probably could have avoided a lot of pain. Love, live, learn, forgive, move on.

New Devotionals

The December-January-February issue of Our Daily Bread is really good. Jam packed with great scripture (well, it’s all great really) and relevant teachings (that’s definitely of God there). I’m also doing a bible study from Back to the Bible. This month’s study is over Godly families and relationships (see what I mean! God’s timing is awesome). I thought I was getting dead tree devotionals from In Touch Ministries, but I guess I was wrong. I’ll live with the daily emails, they’re just as good.

I’m seriously considering restarting (again, I’ve yet to finish it) Heart Cry Missionary Society’s The Truth About Man bible study. It really takes a hard look about just who and what we are. Starting in the Garden of Eden it takes you through the bible, scripture by scripture, explaining in biblical terms why we need God and in the process, really reveals the expanse of God’s irrational love for us. They have another one that looks promising called One True God. I’m looking forward to starting it after I finish The Truth About Man.

Well, that’s about all I have to update you folks on this time around. Thanks for reading and God bless. (:

Hallelujah

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I Am Free

Huh?

Watch the video and then read on.

Shackles Freed

Right now I am so humbled and I don’t say that as a means of boasting but I say it in shame. Right now I feel both 2 ft tall and made of fail and a million miles tall and made of epic win (sorry for the slang, if you can phrase it better, leave a comment).

Are you going to tell us what’s up

Not in details. Those who know, know; those who don’t, just praise God (not that He doesn’t deserve it any other time). I will say that I’ve been bound in hurt and, if I’m truthful, just a bit of jealousy (but I’ll only admit to a bit) and today I feel as if God has just set me free. Prayers answered, to God be the glory.

While I have many, many things to be thankful for and while I know where I could begin the list, I will never be able to find the end of it. For every new day, for every healing (spiritual, emotional, and physical), for every removal of the scars of past sin and for the beauty of another friend kept.

Life is about adjustments, while God is unchanging we change, sometimes daily.

I’m just rambling so I’ll shut up and leave you with some good verses.

Joshua 1:9
Psalm 37:5-6

Does It Never End?

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What? Not Again?!

Yes, Again

I think it behooves me to explain what I feel the grounding principle for me is with regards to relationships. I just shared it tonight in this Audio Verse of the Day post (I know I generally refrain from using them for anything but ministry, but this is important).

I believe that without a 100% biblical, God-centered grounding, any relationship that does succeed, does so out of sheer stubbornness. I will not be in a relationship where God isn’t the 100% priority. A good friend of mine recently mentioned to me something that is completely 100% true (and it’s not the first time someone has mentioned it to me, amusingly enough). A woman should be so lost in God that a man has to seek God to find her.

I enjoy spending time with Carla, and would like to see if we can have a relationship, but not without God at the center. It is an absolute minimum requirement that I will not and cannot compromise on. I’m sure Carla will read this, but I hope we can talk about this before anything gets decided or said. I really have enjoyed our time together these past two dates and would like to continue them if possible, God willing.

How Do You Know God Wants You To Marry?

Genesis 2:18-25

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