Psalm 119:9

Psalm 119:9 - How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Regarding "The Hunger Games"

No doubt you've seen something of this new movie that has come out, I only heard about it in the last week
or so. There have been multiple articles in the Asheville Citizen-Times about it, and there is a great deal of
excitement about it, in part due to the fact that it was filmed in WNC, and just because it is exactly what today's
typical teenager (and adult, apparently) loves. I'm not going to attempt any kind of review or anything, but I do
want to to point you to an excellent review by Kevin Swanson and his daughter, Emily, on Generations Radio.
They went and saw the movie in the theater, and made a very compelling case as to why Christians should
avoid the movie. Mr. Swanson wrote a post about it on the Generations With Vision blog, along with a link to
the recording itself. Go and check it out here.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
 - Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Simply Honest Prayer

This concept has been impressed in my mind for a good while now, the idea of praying both honestly and simply, as a child might. In my own life, I've experienced the fruits of praying both honestly and superficially. For an unspecific example, the Lord would tell me something I didn't want to hear, or show me an issue I
didn't want to deal with. I would then, in my prayer, attempt to skirt around it. And the result of that was a wall, it seemed, put between us. I think I cannot stress it enough: we must pray honestly, confessing our faults, no
matter how much it hurts. If there is something which the Holy Spirit has convicted you of, believe me, it must,
and will be, dealt with sooner or later. We can hide nothing from God, and it is folly to entertain or believe
otherwise (Heb 4:12-13)! We must also pray simply, at least for no other reason than this:

"And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do,
for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
- Matthew 6:7-8

This is not to say that beautiful words have no place in prayer, but a command to pray in a way that realizes
the omniscience of a living God, and that our prayers are not heard because we can make people cry with 'em,
or some nonsense like that. No, they are heard because that veil was torn, because the blood of Jesus cleanses
all who believe from sin, making them the children of God! May we all constantly realize that we are laid bare
before Him, all "the thoughts and intentions of the heart".

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scripture Sunday - Proverbs 23:15-16

"My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what
is right."

The Lord isn't just sitting up there on His throne, barking out orders like some army officer. While He is the
supreme commander-in-chief, He knows us (Heb. 4:15). He knows us better than we know ourselves, yet He
loves us. He delights in our obedience, and He rejoices when we seek wisdom. It gives Him joy to see His
children walking in the truth, but His love is not based on our performance. If it was, none of us would get
very much of it, would we? On this, our Lord's day, and indeed on every day, let us praise Him for His free
love and grace, and seek to please Him by walking according to His ways.

Well, that's all I have for now, but fear not, for I have some ideas formulating inside my head, and plan to post during the week. By the way, please note the use of the word "plan" in that last sentence. B)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scripture Sunday - Proverbs 21:21

"Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor."

Notice that it does not say, "Whoever attains righteousness". We cannot attain perfect righteousness in this life,
but that certainly does not mean that we do not pursue it. (1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22)
Also, according to this text, when we pursue, or strive for, righteousness, we will get more than we bargained

Righteousness begets life - God has designed the whole of creation to operate in such a way that actions that
are according to His character are rewarded, and vice versa. (Prov. 11:4-5, 19; 12:28)

Righteousness begets righteousness - When we pursue righteousness, we are being "trained" to say no to
ungodly desires, and strengthen godly habits, thereby making it more and more our second nature, if you
will, to walk in holiness. (Gal. 5:16)

Righteousness begets honor - When we make wise and righteous choices, people will see that we are trustworthy and know that they can depend on us, and God will reward all men for everything they've done
in this life, whether good or evil. (Jhn. 12:26; Rom. 2:6-10, 14:11-12)

Yet, we must be careful here, and test ourselves, lest we should pursue righteousness only for self-gain.
Our desire for righteousness must stem from God's desire, and commands, for us to be holy.
Indeed, this should be the driving force in our Christian walk, namely,

         "And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!' 
And Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant hears.' - 1 Sam. 3:10

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Scripture Sunday - 1 John 1:9

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all

This is, I believe, one of the first bible verses I memorized, and I'm sure all you sinners out there can relate. B)
I think sometimes we can have a tendency to complicate confession and repentance, to make forgiveness
dependant on how "sorry" we are for our sin. How dare we!! To think this way is the same as saying that Jesus'
sacrifice on the cross was not enough, and that God does not love unconditionally, as it is clearly shown in
His word! Here are some thoughts on this verse that I wrote a while ago:

 "We must cling to this promise. When we have strayed, and the accuser comes to take away all hope in
being forgiven, we must cling to this with all our strength. We must hold God to His promise, for He has
never made a promise that He did not, or will not, keep. So when your soul is tempted to be overcome by
despair, hold fast to Jesus and the sacrifice He made for you on that cross, for that is the only way this promise can ever be made to us."

Keep holdin' fast, people!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scripture Sunday - 1 Peter 4:19

"Let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good."

Earlier in this chapter, it is said that we ought to rejoice when we suffer because we are Christians, for we
are "blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God" rests on us (1 Peter 4:14). This is in contrast to the way
our flesh likes to deal with suffering. Perhaps there's a brother in the ministry, and he fights dragons all
day, he stands up for the truth, and as a result, he might get kicked out of places, or at the least, people hate
him and spread rumors about him. If he's like the rest of us, he'll probably want to complain, give up, or
become angry and bitter. Yet we can see plainly in this chapter that the only right way to respond to this is to
rejoice and entrust your soul to your faithful Creator, while still doing good. In other words, do the next thing.
Realize that God is in control, and that He is using this for your good, and concentrate on doing your part. I remember a verse from Keith Green's song, "He'll Take Care of the Rest" that I think illustrates this pretty well...

"You just think about Noah, totin' his umbrella, when there wasn't a cloud in the sky,
All his neighbors would laugh at his pet giraffe, and they would oh-ho, snicker as he passed by,
But the Lord said, 'Hey Noah, be cool - you just keep building that boat,
It's just a matter of time till they see who's gonna float,
You just keep doing your best, and pray that it's blessed,
Hey Noah, I'll take care of the rest, I'm the weatherman!'"