Friday, April 27, 2012

The Future

Do you worry about the future? If so, how much do you worry? What is an unhealthy amount to be focused on the trials which will inevitably come?

It is certainly not a bad thing to consider the future. After all, you must plan ahead to be an effective leader and contributor to your family and community of believers. You can't help but consider the future when you think about dealing with your own death, avoiding unnecessary conflict, or learning what triggers your sinful habits.

There is a sense in which we need to consider the future every day. If we sin every day, or at least face temptation every day, or need anything at all everyday, then we must pray for God's help every day. This is looking to the future wisely.

The wrong way to look at the future is when you lose heart at the things that you will battle. When you look ahead and see the sin to come (and it is likely you will regularly sin until the day you die - not habitually though), and if this looking ahead produces despair or robs you of your trust in Christ, then there is something wrong.

We serve a great God who is sovereign over all things, including the future. He has the power to get you through and to ensure that you do not face anything stronger than you are able to bear. Your visions of the future should be tempered with this knowledge, allowing you to walk in the joy of faith in Christ your deliverer.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What matters the most?

Good works can have ulterior motives and will always be tainted by our fallen flesh in this life. This makes them not-good.

Actions that are wrong, despite the best of intentions, are always wrong. Failure to act with appropriate guidance or wisdom.

So if our intentions are not enough, if our good deeds are flawed also, what really matters when we are trying to be saved or trying to be spiritual?

Trying is the problem. It is God's work, not ours. The most important thing is that God has done something in your life - that He has made you into a new being and that you are now born again by the work of the Spirit!

Such a thing is a major action by God. If you haven't seen evidence of a major change, in keeping with this major action by God, then there is trouble... Either you are not really a Christian, you lack assurance, or you are so unobservant of the glory of God in your life that you should be afraid of how you will face your Lord when it is your turn to stand before Him.

Make sure of it: that you understand the work of the Lord in you being born again. Speak of His glory!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Golden Rule

"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 7:12


One thing this passage does not say is that you should do to others what they do to you.  It might seem at a rough glance that this is exactly what is being said, but not if we look closely.


An example:  A friend hits you in the face, knocking you down, and steals your wallet.  Should you do the same to him before he can hit you?  Apart from the obvious problem of not knowing what others are going to do to you in advance, it is easy to see that this is how violence escalates and society crumbles.  What if everyone started harming others and taking what they wanted because they expected others to do the same to them?


The Golden rule says to do to others what you want others to do to you.  If you want gifts given to you then you should give to others first.  If you want others to speak nicely to you, you should be aware of your words toward them first, ensuring that you speak positively.


If you were ignorant of the truth, would you want others to share with you the good news of everlasting life through the Lord Jesus Christ?  Well then...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a blood circulation problem where the part of the body (compartment) affected has severely reduced circulation, potentially leading to the death of that part.  Depending how we look at it, this can provide a positive and a negative analogy for the Christian faith.


Negatively: If we compartmentalise our faith, reducing it to influencing only one part of our life, then it is likely to die.  A doomed faith.  This is because our faith must be applied in all of our life, and there is a certain feedback from the faith-life interaction which stimulates our faith to grow further.  Real life provides challenges to our faith which will make that faith stronger when we face them head on: questions of doctrine and evolution, difficult circumstances, happy times when we rely less on God for help...


Positively: If we cut off the circulation to the parts of our life which don't fit in with our faith, the parts which are sinful, sinful, sinful - then we can kill them off.  Remove the sinful bits by starving them of fuel.  Plucking out our eyes which cause us to sin (metaphorically) by not setting any evil thing before us to view.


On an ever-so-slightly related note, you should check out the audio resources of one of the greatest preachers of the only great God: Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones 

See if you can guess the link between the good Doctor and the rest of this post!  Answers in the comments.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Should you be surprised at the depravity of the world?

As a spiritual Christian, no, you shouldn't.  But why not?  Here are two good reasons:


Firstly, because the bible is clear that mankind is fallen and corrupt.  Our evil natures are illustrated over and over again in scripture.  If you are familiar with even a few of the vile deeds recorded from history via God's word, it should come as no surprise when you see it today.


Second, because you should know yourself.  Your dark self.  You have come from depravity and into the light.  If you don't think you are (or have been) capable of such depths of depravity as you witness in the world, then you haven't reflected on your sin nature, your old self, as much as you should have.  


Now, that is not to say that you will not be offended and shocked in a sense.  Your walk with God sees you moving further and further away from your old life and closer and closer to the beauty of Christ.  When cold, dark reality appears and sucks away the warmth of your contemplation of Christ, it will be like cold water on your face.


And, lest you believe yourself better than others who seem more sinful, it always does good to remember that: "but for the grace of God, that would be you."  


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Knowing versus Applying

Anyone can "know" the facts.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience...

Anyone can speak the gospel.  Jesus died on the cross for the sin of the world; trust in him to take the punishment for you and turn from sin...

Anyone can quote the bible.  "God is love"


But not everyone can believe this knowledge in their heart and live it.  It's just not "real" to everyone and it just doesn't matter enough to everyone.  These people might even try to apply this knowledge but they just can't because they lack the power of the Holy Spirit.


Thank God if you are saved and pray earnestly for those who are not.