Archive for the ‘ Carry your cross ’ Category

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/26/2015

Allow wisdom into your life, and open the door by starting at Proverbial Thought!

I spent some time both as a teenager and a young twenty-something, both before and as a Christian, despising this world and even this life.

As a teen, I fully hated this world. It offered almost nothing good to me, and even the good seemed tainted by bad.

It was being introduced to Jesus Christ at a small church that my life and my outlook on it began to change.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Ephesians 4:17-25, ESV

 

a regular life

i now give

 

a regular life

filled with the usual

hating the world

but finding it mutual

until God came along

and turned all that around

a brand new life begun

without much resound

but as God was working

through His Son Jesus Christ

this regular boy

was given extraordinary life

now the mission is clear

and the way seems obvious

who am i now

a disciple of Jesus

i will take the news

of the life that He lives

into the rest of the world

my life i now give

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 03/15/2015

Change your mind, and find the wisdom of God through some of the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

There is no need for a great debate on Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism, or any other -isms of soteriology (study of salvation) based on the poem today.

We should all agree that we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession”. In fact, this poem is based on that very passage of Scripture:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:9-12, ESV

Regardless of how free a choice we had in the process of salvation, it is still true that God chose us as His own, and He has given us the command and the privilege of sharing the Gospel with our fallen world.

chosen

 

chosen before i knew You

selected for Your purpose

still needing Your Truth revealed

to have any usefulness

when i finally came around

and You got through my thick head

my heart became softened

my life redeemed from the dead

now i seek out Your chosen

finding them still evil

telling them how You changed my life

and resisted the lies of the devil

no longer deceived by lies

now aware of all Your Truth

they can truly live their lives

knowing they are chosen by You

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 01/25/2015

Choose wisdom, and find some at Proverbial Thought!

The poem today is based on two passages of Scripture:

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days
Deuteronomy 30:19-20a, ESV

… and …

And [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9:23

Like last week’s poem discussed, we must choose every day to love God and love others, and it requires personal sacrifice.

  the Choice    

the Choice to be made
every single day
is to love people
or decide to hate
a decision to lie
or offer your life
or give everything
over to Jesus Christ
the Choice is in Him
to turn away from sin
and see that in Jesus
true life will begin
your Choice is the same
give up a life of pain
for a life that Jesus
can restore from blame

Let the Waters Rise …

In all things, seek the wisdom of God, and get started at Proverbial Thought!

I am a fan of Mikeschair, and I have posted about their music before over here.

When many preachers and teachers talk about God assisting people, they like using the stories of Jesus walking on water (John 6) and calming the sea (Matthew 8, Mark 4, Luke 8). These are stories that show God’s power and sovereignty over creation, therefore showing His power and sovereignty in your life.

One verse I have always enjoyed since reading it many years ago is Isaiah 43:1-3a (ESV):

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Knowing we have a Savior, One who can control our circumstances, who sees our brokenness, hurts, and fears, who saw our hopeless state of sin and rebellion against Him and sacrificed Himself for our forgiveness, we can follow Him in confidence and hope!

Let the Waters Rise – Mikeschair

Don’t know where to begin
It’s like my world’s caving in
And I try but I can’t control my fear
Where do I go from here?

Sometimes it’s so hard to pray
When You feel so far away
But I am willing to go
Where you want me to
God, I trust You

There’s a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

I will swim in the deep
‘Cuz You’ll be next to me
You’re in the eye of the storm
And the calm of the sea
You’re never out of reach

God, You know where I’ve been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You’ll be faithful again
I’m holding Your hand

There’s a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

God Your love is enough
You will pull me through
I’m holding onto You
God Your love is enough
I will follow You
I will follow You

Ohhh

There’s a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

Ohhh

What Kind of Follower Are You?

Follow the call of wisdom and head to Proverbial Thought!

Jesus said to many people, “Follow me.”

When He said it to Matthew (Matthew 9:9), we read that Matthew pulled out his smart phone, opened his Facebook app, found “Jesus of Nazareth”, and clicked “Add Friend”. Then he switched to the Twitter app, found @JesusofNazarethMessiah, and clicked “Follow”.

And the world was changed forever! @MatthewLevi and his 11 closest friends re-tweeted and shared everything @JesusofNazarethMessiah tweeted and posted, and lives were changed as all of their followers re-tweeted and shared everything again and again.

Then they all went out for a cup of over-priced coffee to talk about it.

. . .

Or maybe it happened differently? Maybe Jesus expects more from those who follow Him?

Is it enough to follow @JesusofNazareth on Twitter? Is it enough to “Like” or “Friend” Jesus Christ on Facebook? (For the record, I do these!)

Perhaps Jesus expects more of us. Perhaps being a Christian calls for a greater commitment than clicking “Like” or “Follow”.

Perhaps Jesus expects us to change our entire lifestyle and literally follow Him: become like Him, think like Him, walk in His footsteps.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Matthew 16:24-28, ESV

Taking It to the Streets

Take yourself to Proverbial Thought for some thoughts on wisdom!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses …” (Hebrew 12:1, ESV)

The context of Hebrews chapter 12 is that the Preacher has just finished going through the “Hall of Faith” of all (from our Old Testament) who were considered righteous for their faith in God. This is the immediate meaning of “so great a cloud of witnesses” that surrounds us. This verse can also be taken as a call to a holy life to share the gospel.

At the Purphill Altar

Photo courtesy of Jackie Moore

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely …”

I have seen many street preachers in my life. Some were okay, some were downright mean, and a few have been great. This past weekend I helped bring two friends together in marriage in New Orleans, LA.

 

After the ceremony and reception there was an after party on Bourbon Street. Immediately outside our venue were some street preachers from a local church.

WP_20140607_028I liked them because of their difference. They did not merely condemn those partaking in Bourbon Street’s offerings. Instead, they called others to follow their example of following Christ by laying aside every weight and sin which can cause someone to stumble.

Were they perfect?

No, but at least they were trying to fulfill our calling to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:18-20).

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV

We are surrounded by many witnesses: those who have gone before and call us to continue, the angels who minister to us as we minister to others, and watchful world. We may stumble, and they may use it against us, but this is why we strive to lay aside every weight and sin which so easily causes us to stumble. Then we can run for the glory of God, bringing the lost to Him!

Really?!

Get a taste of wisdom over at Proverbial Thought!

Big and Newborn Bros

Big and Newborn Bros

My Wedding with Nick

At my wedding 2.6 years ago

Yesterday was my little brother’s 28th birthday. I still think of him as a junior higher, perhaps 13 or 14 years old. That is now half his age! I can barely believe it!

This past Thursday, January 9, was my 14th Re-birthday. It was 14 years ago I first knelt down and declared I believed Jesus is my Savior and the Son of God. I was only a couple years older than how I still view my brother when that happened.

This all got me to thinking about something.

Some friends and I had a conversation about conversations a while back. It was all about the exclamation “Really?!”

The full context of this conversation was focused around what one of us had heard about friendly conversation and this one word. Asking this word after a friend or loved one makes a statement is the same as casting doubt on the validity of the statement.

It is one thing if the conversation goes like this:

“I just won a million dollars!”
“Wow! Really?!”

Winning a million dollars is not a typical occurrence in daily life. Shock and amazement with a little bit of doubt makes sense.

But when the conversation is more like this:

“I lost my phone today.”
“Really?”

In this context, it can said as any of the following:

  • Anger: “How could you do that again?”
  • Sarcasm: “This is such a surprise coming from you!”
  • Astonishment: “This just happened?”

And many others.

The underlying theme is that saying “Really?!” denotes disbelief or mistrust, or at worst it denotes aggression or animosity. And to be fair, most of us use the term in such a way as to say “Tell me more!”

In Jesus’ Name. Really?!

You are probably thinking about how often you say “Really?!” to people, and, if you are like we were, you are attempting to justify your use of the term and explain that you usually mean “Tell me more!”

Let me then ask you this, Christian believer: How do you live your life?

Do go around claiming your connection to your church and as a good Christian, yet those outside the Church look at your example of love and light and think “Is this person really ‘blameless and innocent, [a child] of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16, ESV)

Put another way, do they look at your life and say “Really?! That’s a Christ follower?” And they want to stay away from God because of your example?

Or do you go around sharing the good news of Christ as you live out His commands of love and sacrifice? Do those outside the Church look at your example of love and light and think, “Really?! This kind of thing is true? Tell me more!”

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6, ESV