Jun 30, 2011

Be stayed upon the Lord

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3: 5,6


Countless times I have dismissed this passage from my mind, especially in stressful situations. When a problem arises, my first instinct is to worry, looking with anxiety into the unforeseeable future to try to see the outcome. Suddenly, my whole world revolves around this one complication, and I desperately strive to fix it or set it right with all the speed that my frustrated self can muster. Afterwards, I find myself reflecting back on my reactions and I ask myself, "Was that a biblical response to trouble?"

In Proverbs 3, Solomon gives an answer; a very famous answer known and repeated by so many believers; so much so that at times we have lost the real comfort that lies in these words. "We are to trust in the Lord," he says, and not to rely on what we can see. To put our confidence in our Lord is to rest in the assurance that He has reasons for everything He does and that sooner or later, somehow, He will set it right. This means we have nothing to worry about. We are being led down the road of life by the hands of a glorious creator who has planned our life down to the tiniest detail, and we need to remember this wonderful truth in times of worry or trial. What a relief it should be to us to know that our all-knowing God will direct our paths.

Judges 7 is a good example of this. Gideon, with three hundred men armed with only pitchers and trumpets defeated the huge army of the Midianites and Amalekites. Gideon had faith in God's promise, the promise that He would deliver Gideon's enemies into his hands.

I understand that some problems are bigger than others, and I am not suggesting that you can't pray for the outcome to be favorable. On the contrary, the Bible encourages such supplication. But whether it's an upcoming CLEP test, or the misplacement of a certain item, or the decisions of the government, or the salvation of your relatives or friends, in every circumstance, no matter how trying or painful, our faith and trust should always be in the Lord who knows the results of our problems before the foundations of the world. "We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26: 3,4

Your Brother in Christ,

Jun 15, 2011

The Triumph of Christ

I've come to understand more and more how much of a treasure the Scriptures are. New readings of the same passages seem fresh and I am given the perception to see things I hadn't seen before. There are sadly days where I am rushed in the morning (which is my fault) and I quickly read through and as a result, I am not nourished by the Word at all that morning. Or there are the dreaded days where I am distracted and robbed of focus, or even days where I neglect to do it at all. But the Word is so sweet to me. I don't have a greater treasure in my room. I used to feel discouraged when I couldn't understand a passage, but now I feel excited! It excites me to encounter those passages where I am forced to stop and ask, “where did that come from?”; those passages where it feels like it came up out of nowhere and seemingly has nothing to do with the previous passage, or seems insignificant – which means there is something significant about it. Now I love those moments. I pray that God would help me understand His word, and the meanings of it. In my recent reading, this verse especially made me stop and think:

And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

Mark 1:13

Now, this verse isn't out-of-the-blue where it was, but there was a phrase in it that grabbed my attention. It was the phrase, “and was with the wild beasts”. Really that piece of information seems unsurprising, being apart of the wilderness setting Jesus was in. However, I had to stop at this verse and ask why Mark even puts it in here. It is appropriate to the setting, but seemingly insignificant. One might think it could easily be taken out and nothing would change, so why is it there? Obviously there is a reason that that little phrase is inserted in here. Nothing else comes of it really; there is no incident where it goes on to account Christ being threatened by a wild animal. So this verse struck me.

After praying, I took notice of the temptation aspect in this account. This was the passage where Christ was being tempted by Satan. Then I saw something in this passage that I thought was really cool! And it all came from that moment where I took notice of the strange, seemingly insignificant phrase.

Other than Christ's temptation, what is the most significant temptation you can think of in the Scriptures? I am going to guess you'd say the temptation in the Garden. This is what I saw in this verse. I this verse, we get a picture of the contrast between the first Adam and the Second Adam: where the first was in the Garden of Eden, the Second was in a wilderness; where the first had a secure, plentiful supply of food, the Second fasted; where the first had a helpmeet, the Second was alone; where the first was around tame animals of no threat, the Second was with wild beasts; and where the first was tempted once and failed miserably to the death of mankind, the Second, in the very trying setting, was tempted more than once and was victorious for the life of those who are given to Him!

What an amazing contrast! I know I have not said anything new; just read Paul's writings. Jesus has done what we could not do. He suffered greatly and remained absolutely faithful. He is not a mere man, but God in the flesh. And He did not die, but conquered death, by raising Himself from the grave. It is the greatest miracle and work of God. He is living now, and coming soon. Let's be ever watchful as we eagerly wait for Him. Brothers and sisters we have a great hope we wait for! When this is all gone we will all be with Him, for eternity, in perfection. He suffered for that.


Jun 12, 2011

Take your job seriously

“The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” ~Col 1:26-29


A common error many Christians fall into, no matter how old or young, is that when reading Scripture, the mind is continually wandering to other things. This is especially true when the text is something that is hard to understand. The last time I read through Romans, I had to reread each chapter about three times each because I couldn’t concentrate. The reason we aren’t able to concentrate is that we let the cares of the day and the week take such a high priority that we no longer care about reading the Bible. Now, that may seem a little strong; after all - you may think - I’ve never disliked reading the Word. I would agree: I’m not saying that we dislike reading the Bible, but rather that we don’t like it as much as we should or need to. If we truly loved delving into the richness and wisdom of the Scriptures, we would hardly be able to tear ourselves away from our Bibles to take care of earthly needs. Which is why it is so important that we memorize, so that we never have to be without the Word. However, to get back to the point, when you read the Word, whether it is in the morning when you get up, during the day, or when you go to bed at night, hide God’s Word in your heart. Take joy in the fact that the Lord has seen fit to reveal the “mystery” to you. Take your job seriously. Not your job of earning a living to support your family or your duty of taking care of what the Lord has given you in terms of a house and property. You have a different job which is spiritual, not physical. You are to warn unbelievers of the impending disaster that is ahead of them. It seems that it takes things like natural disasters, such as the recent tsunami in Japan, in which thousands were killed, to awaken our sorrow to concern over lost souls. Shouldn’t we be concerned about that every day? We pass people on the streets so often and all we ever really say to them is “hi” or “hello.” Reading the Word of God should embolden your spirit and inflame you with a righteous zeal for the saving of souls. Yet also remember the second part: “teaching every man in all wisdom.” Study the Scriptures so that you are able to help lead your family and other believers through the deep, meaty passages. Again, take your job seriously and may the Lord help you in your task.

Your brother in Christ,


Jun 4, 2011

Meditate on these things

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” ~Phil 4:8-9


Recently, a slew of new movies came out: Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Thor, Kung Fu Panda 2, and some I don’t even know. If you’re like me, you like watching movies. The acting, the plot, the creativity behind it is all interesting and engrossing. However, before we watch any movie whatsoever, from Bob the Builder to Pirates 4, we have to ask whether it portrays things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Does Bob the Builder portray things that are honorable? Sure, it’s about a construction worker and his team serving others and though a children’s show, it encourages behavior that many adults in today’s world could stand to learn. Does Pirates 4 portray purity, truth, and virtue? From what I’ve heard, it doesn’t sound like it. Now ultimately, you are the one watching the movie and you have to put it through the Scriptural test yourself. Also, I know that you may have already seen Pirates 4 and I didn’t bring it up merely to call you on a movie that I might judge as worldly and sinful, but more as a reminder to constantly compare the things you watch, say, think, do, and write against the standards of the Word. A while back, my dad checked out Gladiator from Blockbuster for us to watch on ClearPlay, but even though it filtered out almost all of the bad stuff, after getting halfway through, I finally decided to not watch anymore. Now I like action as much as anyone, I enjoy seeing the physical maneuverability of the human body evidenced in eye blurring martial arts and sword fighting as much as anyone. But the theme of the whole movie was revenge, bloodshed, and un-Scriptural motives. True, there was heroism and nobility, but the bad was so much more than the good, that my conscience convicted me and I went and read a book instead. Again, I am not trying to put myself on a pedestal as a “goody-goody,” but am instead trying to exhort you to greater diligence. In fact, far from being an example, most of the time I grumble and talk to myself about bad parts of shows or books or speech, but I rarely take action. Stand up for what you believe in. Be respectful; do not cause a brother or sister to stumble, but stand firm. If you believe something to be unprofitable or un-Biblical, don’t watch or read it. If a believer uses the name of the Lord in vain, humbly correct them and bring to light their error. If they will not listen, then the fault is their own, but better to try and encourage them than to live in a constant compromise of faithfulness to the Lord and diplomacy. If it helps, make a list that you can run through to examine things or even better, memorize Scripture for each requirement. Take a stand, brothers, for if we don’t, who will?

Your brother in Christ,