Thursday, August 26, 2010

What are you practicing?

1 John 3:7-8a

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

I read this verse the other day and have been meditating on it, and sharing it with others. Here are my thoughts and what I believe the Lord is saying to me, and to you.

Practices. This instantly makes me think of football. When you play a sport you practice it, a lot, in the hopes of getting better as you repeat it. You put your time, energy, focus, on this one thing. You repeat it, over and over again, you find ways to improve.

According to this verse, you can practice either righteousness, or sin. What are you practicing? What are you investing your time, thoughts, energy, into? Are you surrounding yourself with Godly people, things that will spur you on to righteousness and a set apart life? Or are you allowing things into your life that distract you from God? What music are you listening to? What movies are you watching? What are you thinking about? What are you saying?

Living set apart is a process, we are all sinners, scripture makes that very clear. However, I wonder what message we are sending to those around us by our actions? What team are you playing for? You can say that you are playing for the New England Patriots, you can even wear their jersey, but if you are running plays, and scoring touch downs for the Minnesota Vikings, it's clear what team you are on.

In the same way, you can say that you are a follower of Jesus until you are blue in the face, but if you fill your life with things of this world, alcohol, parties, relationships, music, movies, sexual immortality, negative talk, perverted speech, lustful thoughts, pride, etc and it is clear who you play for, and it's not Jesus.

~Standing on His Promises~

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"If your ipod causes you to sin..."

Mark 9:43-47 (New American Standard Bible)

 43"If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,
 45"If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell,
 47"If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell

Many of us have read this passage of scripture, and thought surely God does not want me to cut off my hand, or my foot. But when I stumbled across this today, God spoke a different word to me. What if this was a little more relevant to today's culture? What if the text read,
"If your ipod causes you to sin, throw it out"

The music you listen to, the movies you watch, the places you go, the things you say, the list could go on. If it causes you to sin, why do you keep it around? 

The last part of the scripture says, "It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell."

It is better for us to go through this life with less, and to enter the kingdom of heaven, then to have everything we want and be cast into hell.

What is your standard of holiness, purity, excellence? Is it one that leads you towards sin, or farther away from it? What things are in your life that need to be 'cut off' and throw out, so that you may pursue holiness?

~Standing on His Promises~

Friday, August 20, 2010

Season of Isolation, Refinement, and Revelation

I really enjoy people, I am a very relational person, however it seems as though the Lord has given me a lot of opportunity to be alone, with Him, and no one else. It's in these moments that my character, and priorities are shown, and I often realize I have lost my focus, my devotion, to pursuing the King of my heart, and I quickly see the idols I put up in my life, those escapes, and distractions. In those moments, I am refined, the Lord shines His light on all the dark corners of my heart, and brings it all into the light.

I read Mark 8:1-9, Jesus feeds thousands with 7 loaves, and some fish. We've heard the story any times, but something struck me tonight. 

Jesus tells the disciples that He feels compassion on the people that have followed Him for three days. He doesn't want to turn them away hungry because they have traveled a long way and may faint on the way home. They say, "Where will anyone find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?" Pause. Desolate place. Remember that...

Jesus asked his disciples how many loaves of bread they had. Notice that Jesus didn't ask the disciples to run through the crowd on a scavenger hunt for bread.
The disciples had 7 loaves and a few fish. Jesus gave thanks, broke the bread, and started giving it to the disciples to feed the people. The people were satisfied and there were 7 large baskets of bread left.

How many times in life, are we in a desolate place. When situations or circumstances wear on us, when things seem impossible, hopeless, too much for us to handle. We look to Jesus and say, "I don't know how this will ever turn out for the better. This is impossible. It's too big, too much, too painful, etc." 
Jesus doesn't send the disciples on a grand adventure to find something He can work with. He asks them what they have. And He asks us the same thing, what do we have, a glimmer of hope, a baby step of faith, a dream, a prayer, some loose change, a few pieces of bread, etc? 

Jesus gave thanks, and multiplied what the disciples gave. Are we thankful for what we have? Even if it doesn't seem like much, are we thankful? Jesus can take our small offering, and turn it into something miraculous, if we let Him.

What can you thank God for, what can you offer Him in this desolate place? Will you allow Him to use it for His glory, to overcome, to work miracles?

~Standing on His Promises~

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It has been quite the transition

Sorry friends, it has been a crazy month! I am now in Boise,  moved into my apartment, and getting ready for school. I had a job that I hated for 2 weeks, I just recently quit, and am now praying that God directs me to a job I enjoy and works around my school schedule.

I have experienced many things emotionally, great excitement, and at times very sad and lonely days. I have been grieving over my now very distant friends, it's hard when you leave people that love you and know you so well, and start over. There have been a lot of firsts here, I don't know many people, and I don't yet have a church to call home. But I do have the Lord. He is so faithful, He continues to win my heart, especially in my lowest moments.

I have achieved some victories being here, I rejoice that our new apartment community has a pool and 24 hour gym, I have been working out and eating healthier. It is a great victory in my life to be self disciplined and live an active, healthy lifestyle. I have also been seeking the Lord and spending one on one time with the Lord, it has been so sweet, and sometimes very painful, but brokenness is beautiful.

*Sigh* Life is going to get crazy, but I know the Lord will help me keep my head above water! Next post: Relationships, and Waiting for my Story to Unfold.

~Standing on His Promises~