Archive for the ‘ Lifestyle ’ Category

… For They Know Not What They Do

Give yourself something: get wisdom over at Proverbial Thought.

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Luke 23:26-34

You may know where I am going with this, but I am going to continue, anyway.

Jesus had to endure some pretty bad stuff. He went through some of the most torturous agony a person can.

And he forgave His murderers and haters.

Keep in mind, it is our own sin that put Jesus on the cross. Jesus was forgiving you and me with that sentence, as well!

Jesus said other words to us about this subject, as well:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Mark 11:25

And I’ve Never Been to Boston in the Fall

For over a week now, as of this posting, people have been dealing with the bombing at the Boston Marathon. On Thursday, those responsible were found, and they caused more damage and took the life of a police officer. It left one of them, the older brother, dead, and the younger is now in custody.

I have heard many people, understandably angry, calling for the death of this young man. Some have said torture is justified. Still others have prayed for these brothers to be joined back together in Hell.

What have you said about these men? What thoughts and words have you allowed through your mind and out your mouth concerning these men?

Regardless of the various parts of belief systems within major (and minor) world religions, specifically Islam, their family and friends say these two brothers were twisted in the beliefs by a radical form of Islam.

The point?

These young men were convinced that God’s love for them would grow if they killed infidels. They were led to believe they were doing God’s will.

Do you know what this means?

They did not fully understand what they were doing!

Regardless of what arguments you want to make about their understanding of what they were doing:

Have you ever been so angry with someone (say, these to men, your parents, siblings, friends, that jerk on the road) that you wished ill-will upon them?

Have you ever lusted after another person?

Have you ever desired something so much that you would do anything to get it?

Have you ever loved someone or something more than God?

The short answer is “Yes!”

As I stated above, it was our sin which put Jesus on that cross.

A “yes” to any of those questions above shows your sin (and, yes, we have all sinned: Romans 3).

This means we are all guilty of murdering God.

If He can forgive us for killing Him, our Creator and greatest Lover …

Pray for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, that he may come to know the love of Jesus Christ.

Pray for the family of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, that they may be drawn to Christ and learn to cope with their loss and this atrocity committed by their family members.

Pray for each of the families and friends who were killed or injured during the bombing and chase a few days later.

Forgive and repent of hatred.

Love.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/07/2013

Storms may come, but the wisdom can help you get through! Get some wisdom today from Proverbial Thought.

This may be a poem more geared toward the Lenten season, but I think it is especially fitting for the Easter season (leading up to Pentecost). Lent is a time to deny ourselves to prepare for our coming Lord. Leading up to Pentecost, we must prepare for service for our Lord.

You could say we must live in a period of Lent … for the rest of our lives.

That is the theme of the poem for today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my spirit cries out to You

my heart aches for You

i feel the pride and arrogance

that tries to well up inside me

that could turn me from You

O gracious and loving Father

let us remove these feelings

make me truly Your saint

humble me more

as i humble myself before You

make me aware of

whatever is not of You in me

make a willing servant to this world

that all may know You are God

All praise the Almighty

the Creator of All

praises resound from the mouths

of those who seek Your righteousness

without You we are wicked

praise the Lord

the Lord of our salvation

The Hard Knocks Life: Choosing Trouble

Choose to find some wisdom through the commentary over at Proverbial Thought.

We have been looking at why we may experience difficulty in this life. Last week I discussed how God puts us through things in life and even allows our horrors to persist for a time so that we may show His mercy, compassion, and love to others going through similar circumstances. Two weeks ago I started off with describing how a life following God can bring troubles, through persecution or, like last week’s post said, circumstances to grow our faith and understanding.

This little post is about when we bring about our own troubles. It really is quite simple.

Each moment of each day we have a choice. It is basically the same choice offered to the Israelites after taking the promised land.

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:15, NIV

More Simple Than We Think

Here is how simple it is:

Every morning we are faced with a decision. Every time we have to make a choice, we have two options (though those two options may have multiple choices, as well).

Do I serve God or my own selfish desires?

Do I act in love or for personal comfort and gain?

It is our own selfish choices that lead to fights and arguments.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to loss and confusion.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to pain and difficulty.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to sin and death.

Yet even these God can use for His glory and redeem for good, when we choose Him daily.

Ask any (ex-)con, any thief, any adulterer, any violent or gossiping or lying person who has been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and they will tell you the same.

This is not that all our troubles simply go away. Many times, we must still live with the consequences of our decisions.

We may not get our money returned to us.

We may not get our health returned to us.

We may not see justice served (at least, not they way we expect).

Though we can find peace.

We can learn to love.

We can become wise and compassionate.

We may even see our lives restored to greater than they were.

It will certainly be greater in the next life, which is what we earn through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After all, it was all of the selfish choices of each and every person who ever lived who put Jesus on the cross.

It was also shows that God chose to go to the cross for us.

Then Holy Spirit empowers us with strength, faith, wisdom, and grace to change, to choose God.

Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve: God or your own selfish desires.

The Hard Knocks Life: Cursed to Bless

When life is hard, wisdom can be found to help at Proverbial Thought!

Last week I began a discussion on why our lives may be hard. I started with God leading to our difficulties for the purpose of strengthening our faith and preparing us for holiness.

As I said, it had to come first, no matter how much I wanted to build up to it, because God is always involved in some way with whatever is happening in our lives.

Now, before I hear any complaints or accusations about God causing our problems, hear me out.

Living with pain

3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

. . .

13 When they [the Sanhedrin] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
Acts 3:1-10, 4:13-22

Here is a man who was born without the use of his legs. I am sure many people told his parents it was because of some sin in their lives. I am sure many people told this man that he remained crippled due to some unconfessed sin. I am sure many people questioned God’s goodness.

Yet, what do we see here?

This man was used to bring glory to God.

By his healing, many believed in Jesus as Savior and God.

Useful?

So many people grow up in and live through horrible circumstances.

Some grow up in poverty, barely living a life as they wonder if they will eat today.

Some grow up being abused by a parent or both parents, other relatives, friends, or some authority figure(s).

Some get into an abusive relationship with another person.

Some are hit unexpectedly with an illness or injury that turns their lives upside down (See Matthew 9, Mark 5, Luke 8).

Some are hit with financial calamity.

Most who go through these ask a question something like this: “Am I good for anything?”

God says “Yes!”

God is in the redemption business. He can even redeem your pain, confusion, and loss.

God may not have been the primary cause of your circumstances, as was discussed last week, but in any event He is in control.

While that may sound like God is an evil tyrant, the truth is that He works with sinful man’s actions and orchestrates them out to His glory.

Are you useful?

For starters, you can appreciate God’s love, mercy, and grace in ways many other people miss or can not.

Secondly, you may be able to help others going through similar circumstances.

No two circumstances are identical. There will always be differences, whether great or small. However, the great connection found through the similarities offers a closeness and ability to help that few others may ever find.

Lastly, you bring glory to God!

When you believe Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord and live a life dedicated to serving Him, you bring glory to God.

When you ease the suffering of another human being, you bring glory to God.

When you help lead another person to belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you bring glory to God.

God redeems your life to use you for His glory.

Your life may be hard, but it helps you appreciate God and love Him more.

Your life may be filled with pain, but it gives you the gift of being able to help others.

Your life may not be what you would have wished, but God will be glorified through your life.

That is the highest calling one can receive. It is the greatest gift one can be given.

As Paul instructed in Ephesians 5:20, we should be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” While it may hurt, cause discomfort, or create a living hell out of your life, God can use it for good.

Does God want you to suffer?

No. He does permit it, though, because He can see the bigger picture.

He wants you to spend eternity with Him. Sometimes, we have to go through pain to get there. (Like facing the needles to get antibiotics that can save your life.)

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 03/10/2013

Do not forget to get your daily dose of wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

Last week, we looked at the freedom that comes from Christ. I can not remember, having written both poems five and a half years ago, whether I was thinking through these same thoughts, but this poem explains more of how that freedom comes through in our lives.

It takes forgiveness. It is God’s forgiveness of our sin. It is forgiving ourselves for our sin. It is showing that same forgiveness to others. It is treating others better than any of us deserve.

thatisallworship

first comes forgiveness
that from God
second comes forgiveness
that in my heart
third comes forgiveness
that to others
fourth comes service
that from us
that is all worship
which should be
life

The Hard Knocks Life: When God Blesses Too Much

For a hard life, get some wisdom from Proverbial Thought.

There are three major reasons we learn things the hard way in this life.

The first comes obvious to too many of us: growing up in an abusive environment, whether it be physical, sexual, mental, or emotional from a parent, other family member, friend, or family circumstances.

The second reason rarely unknown to anyone: our own stupid decisions/mistakes with which we must live with the consequences. This can be seen through drug/alcohol abuse, gambling problems, trying to jump your parents’ car over the swimming pool, or a myriad other things.

Really, the third reason is most important, because it is involved with the other two reasons in some way.

The focus of this entry is the third reason: God.

A popular theme in Christendom as of late has been God blessing His people. There is nothing wrong with this, except that we either focus too much on His blessing and not enough on His discipline or take the idea too far into thinking He owes us blessings or we can create the blessings.

God does indeed bless us on a regular basis. Takes some of these passages for example:

Rich and poor have this in common:  The Lord is the Maker of them all.
Proverbs 22:2

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:45

We are each blessed with sunshine and rain (and yes, rain is good!) This can also be understood as “He gives us one more day.”

I mentioned that one first, because some people – usually those who fall under the first two reasons of a hard life – are not so thankful for a new day, let alone the day they were born. Some people find it hard to love or even believe in a God who could have allowed so much of their suffering.

Yet, there may be a reason for that suffering.

Consider Job

Job was one who cursed the day he was born (Job 3), rather extensively, actually. Why?

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Job 1

Therefore, Job lost all of his possessions and his children. But that was not the end:

On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
Job 2

Job also lost his health! You can see why he would curse his birthday! (This was his sin, by the way. He told God He had made a mistake.)

Yet, because Job stayed faithful to God, he received twice as much as he lost and had the most beautiful daughters in all of Israel.

God put Job through the fire to purify him and prepare him for greater things.

Consider Jacob

On his way back to his home, where his brother lived, Jacob asked God to show His favor on Jacob. He sent his family and possessions across the river ahead of him, then the story got more interesting.

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
Genesis 32

Some argue that Jesus is the one who wrestled with Jacob, but that is not the point.

The point is this: Jacob asked God to bless him, and he walked differently for the rest of his life.

When we ask God to bless us, it will always cost us something. Many times it will hurt. Most times we have to give up something. Every time we will have to reconsider what we know and believe about God, our world, and ourselves. His blessing may even be one of the reasons we go through the other two reasons for a hard life (see my entry at GrowUp318.com , “Stupid Prayers“).

Most times, we ask God for blessings, and we forget that it may very well bring pain and will certainly bring change.

However, it is the only way we will grow closer to our loving Heavenly Father.

You could say the old proverb is true: Be careful what you wish (pray) for, you just might get it!

With God, it is always worth it in the end.

Besides, do not forget was James said:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

God Is Good …

… ALL THE TIME!

Here is a friendly reminder to see some of God’s goodness over at Proverbial Thought!

To end the month of February, I am going to keep this short and sweet.

God is amazing and good, all the time.

We may go through struggles, hear upsetting news, deal with pain and loss, but God is still good.

We may be on top of the world and having everything going well, and God is still good.

We must remember Him always. We must praise Him in all things. We must thank Him in all things.

God is a God who deserves our love and admiration, our praise and worship.

All I have to say today is this:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  his love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1